When The Black Flag needs some ‘proper heavy’ music reviewing they can only give it to one man for he lives and breathes all thing Metal, laughs in the face of a wall of Marshall amps and bites heads off passing ducks whilst waiting to tell Satan he’s a p*ssy for only having it turned up to ‘10’. That man, dear reader, is….not me. But I do own a number of ‘heavier’ metal albums – ranging from Entombed to Gorefest to Trivium so whilst I am not currently in any dialogue with the ‘horned one’, I reckon I can give this review a fair effort.
Cry Havoc are a five piece thrash metal band hailing from Devon, UK. To coincide with the release of this four track EP they will be supporting Firewind and Leaves’ Eye. They already have an impressive back catalogue of work – appearing at festivals such as Hammerfest III and Glastonbudget. They have appeared on the Ozzy Osbourne tribute CD ‘No More Tears’ with their cover of ‘Mr. Tinkertrain’ alongside names such as Vince Neil and Alice Cooper. They can count appearances on the same bill as Romeo Must Die, Revoker, The Defiled, Guns 2 Roses, Voodoo Six, Jettblack and Malefice in their gig history and all of this should go some way to demonstrating the size of the waves they are making in the music industry.
‘Losing Everything’ opens the EP with blistering drums and guitar before it breaks down to an almost machine gun style of guitar playing. This track no doubt displays some of the influence of the producers, Martyn Ford and Matthew Bond who have previously worked with Trivium amongst others. I mention Trivium specifically as Cry Havoc employ a similar style in this track, with the more aggressive (shouty) vocals over the verses before Gavin Bolt (vocals) lifts his tone to a more harmonious manner.
The introduction on the second track, ‘Ignition’, could easily have come from an early Metallica album – think Kill ‘em all. The guitars launch the song with a constant and relentless drum beat underpinning it before the track slows – only a fraction – to allow Bolts vocals to burst through. Bolt cleverly weaves his more aggressive vocals with his singing voice on this track, instead of their being a clear distinction like on the opening track. The ‘talking’ halfway through the track reminds me of a classic Megadeth song – ‘Sweating Bullets’ – and really helps to increase the somewhat manic feel to this song.
‘Alone’ is track three and opens with a much more subdued bass line before normal service is resumed and the back launch into, arguably, the heaviest track on the EP. Bolt’s growling vocals are at their best here but whats crucial – at least to me – is that you can still make out the lyrics. Ok, I couldn’t repeat them verbatim (ooooooooh, check you out – Ed) but you can still follow the song.
The title track, ‘New Life’, is last on the EP. The introduction displays some fine guitar playing by Tristan Gaskell, with Bolts whispering lyrics creating the calm before the inevitable storm. The song bursts forth and Cry Havoc finishes the EP on a real high. In my eyes the title track for an EP or album is almost the signature track and so it does always need to be high calibre track. Luckily, this is. Featuring some nice guitar and drum dovetailing in the songs ‘breakdown’ moments, when the central riff hits you it does so right between the eyes.
The excellent reviews the band have received thus far are, on the basis of this, all well deserved. If they can tour on the back of this EP and promote it heavily, they surely have a great chance to build on what is already an impressive platform.
Words: Brian McKay