Release DetailsLABEL Indecent Media
RELEASED ON 3/15/2005
Cycle of Pain
posted on 3/2005 By:
Knowing nothing about HavocHate except for the fact that their name is a play on the word “advocate,” a fact which I gleaned from an interview with them that I read years ago, I put on their latest disc. I was not even sure what style of metal they played, but now I know: Cycle of Pain is a fierce blend of churning riffs, a crushingly precise percussive assault, and some pretty stellar vocals. It’s strongly reminiscent of both classic thrash and of chugging Pantera-esque groove metal. The thick, rich production is a pleasant surprise, and it brings an extra degree of intensity to HavocHate’s throwback sound. Every instrument can be heard clearly, and nothing gets lost in the mix. The drums, for example, have a live sound to them, but are still easily discernable.
HavocHate seem to be doing pretty well in terms of technical skill. As noted, the drumming is precise, and the patterns are interesting and varied. The guitar work sounds adept, and it’s obvious that axemen Freddy Ordine and Mario Rodriguez are influenced by the late Dimebag Darrell, because they too combine simple, catchy riffs with quite complex lead work. What really impressed me, however, was singer Tim Bouchee’s performance. Harsh vocals are fast becoming the norm in metal, and I must admit that I enjoy them, but a frontman who can really sing brings something extra to a band. HavocHate were smart to enlist Bouchee, who is able to effortlessly switch between gruff shouting and soaring clean vocals. I hear traces of Bruce Dickinson and Phil Anselmo, whom Tim Bouchee lists as influences, as well as some obvious similarities between the HavocHate vocalist and Chuck Billy of Testament. All in all, the group are strong musically.
Cycle of Pain begins with a stylish opener, “Cold Embrace,” which is a perfect example of the muscular groove-thrash style which HavocHate play. On the next number, the title track, the tempo is pushed up just a bit, and I’m reminded of classic Exodus, which is perhaps the band that HavocHate are most comparable to. Tracks like “Fiction” and “Speak No More” have something of a heavy ballad feel to them, with melodic intros and even a touch of keyboards on the latter. As far as songwriting goes, HavocHate are able, but I feel they rely too heavily on the verse-chorus-verse pattern, and many of the songs are a bit predictable. In addition, some of the energy is lost towards the end of the record, and it begins to seem that the band is throwing in melodic choruses where none are necessary. On the whole, all the cuts are structurally solid, but I think there are some improvements that could be made. Maybe if the less interesting tracks were punched up a bit, I would have enjoyed them more, but there is nothing which struck me as being flat out boring, and no tracks that I found myself wanting to skip over. The songs that seem a bit lacking are “Crack in the Sky,” which contains a chorus that doesn’t really work, and “Tentacle,” probably the weakest on the album, which gets a bit tiresome and repetitive. Again, nothing here is bad by any means, but I see songwriting as an area in which HavocHate could improve.
Cycle of Pain is a very good retro thrash release, and I’d like to hear more material from HavocHate. However, I encourage the band to beef up their compositional skills just a bit for their next outing. This is a fun, enjoyable album, and I think that HavocHate have the potential to transcend into greatness.
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