• Black Stone Cherry - KENTUCKY

    Image: Black Stone Cherry, Kentucky Black Stone Cherry


    This collection of southern boys are not the most original band in the world. They’ll never be accused of being the most musically gifted fellas in the world. Certainly, no one will ever listen to them and think, “wow, that’s really cutting edge music”. To the contrary though, release in and release out, the same thought comes to mind

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    Image: Zakk Wylde, Book Of Shadows II Zakk Wylde


    Sequels to albums, at least in my listening experience, are generally poor. The two that immediately jump to mind for me are Rob Zombie’s HELLBELLY DELUXE 2 and Meat Loaf’s BAT OUT OF HELL 2. Both releases were pretty lame, and garnered attention solely because they were named after much more historic releases in their creator’s career.

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Image: Pitriff, CD Review, Havok, Unnatural SelectionHavok

Concert Tickets

I'm really not sure how Havok has done it, but they have once again topped themselves musically and creatively. While creating music with a pretty rigid framework by purposely claiming themselves to be playing "90s era Thrash", Havok finds ways to improve from release to release. On UNNATURAL SELECTION, they just may have peaked. There really can't be much further they can go to get better. A seething cauldron of frenetic rage, UNNATURAL SELECTION finds Havok creating a thrash metal opus that would stand proudly and deservedly next to any Exodus, Overkill or Anthrax release from the past that you want to line it up against. Without question, this Denver band has their shit REALLY together these days.

While they have always been solid in this arena, Havok have gotten their production chops honed on UNNATURAL SELECTION. Without question, this release has some of the best recorded production of anything I own in my catalog (a catalog that is built on a foundation of all the classic Bay Area sounding Thrash of the last 35 years). The lead guitar sound from Reece Scruggs on "Waste Of Life" is just ripping. he and fellow guitarist David "Dirty" Sanchez provide some nasty riffs to drive each song, and yet Scruggs rips off some killer solos throughout the release. The recording quality of their work is masterful, as it's huge sounding while still having that raw "fuck you" aspect that made guys like Gary Holt into legends.

Vocally, Sanchez returns and brings his guttural rage with him. He's regularly compared to Zetro Souza of Exodus. While that might be fair as a comparison, the truth is that Sanchez has developed away from that a bit and has a bit more depth and a bit less high end squeal than Zetro featured in Exodus or now in Hatriot. Instead, he just sounds like a pissed off guy thrashing around a room enraged as he attacks on songs like "Give Me Liberty...Or Give Me Death". He's grown vocally in the last 9 years as a vocalist, and it shows on UNNATURAL SELECTION.

Some credit has to be given to drummer Pete Webber and bassist Michael Leon as well. Specifically with Webber, these guys create a raw bottom end that hasn't been featured so prominently in a long time in the world of Thrash. While his kit sometimes sounds like something off the shelf from a music store, his playing more than makes up for it. This guy is a monster who controls tempo changes throughout most of the songs. More than a lot of thrash acts that let the guitars drive, Havok is completely driven by a rhythm section that's only too happy to light the way.

PITRIFF RATING - 97/100 - UNNATURAL SELECTION is a DAMN solid effort; by far the best by a band who's praises I've been singing since the moment I heard them. Hard working (as they are always on tour), it's clear that all that work has been the reason they have surpassed every other like band that came out at exactly the same time as them. Havok is here to stay, and UNNATURAL SELECTION is one of the best albums the thrash genre has seen in years.

Image: Cause/Effect Metallica, Chris Akin

A look at one of the most polarizing, iconic and best selling albums of all time from author, rock critic and shock jock radio host Chris Akin.


Buy Now:  Paperback    Digital

Image: Little Victories, Book, Chris Akin

The shockingly honest and emotional first book from radio personality and rock critic Chris Akin.

CLICK HERE to learn more about LITTLE VICTORIES.

Buy Now:  Paperback     Digital


Available January 13th in Paperback and Digital Formats on Amazon and iTunes.

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