UK thrashers Cry Havoc mean business on their debut release. This EP, recorded with Martyn ‘Ginge’ Ford and Matthew Bond (known for work with Slipknot, Trivium and Skindred) recalls many great elements from the late 80s/early 90s thrash metal scene, delivering those now old-school riffs as expertly as possible for a twenty-first century audience. If thrash metal hit the spot for you back then and fancy something nostalgic – or else have always loved metal with a strong thrash influence – then look no further!
The opening number ‘Losing Everything’ almost tells you all you need to know with regards to whether you’ll love this band or not. Within seconds, Cry Havoc launch headlong into a well-played approximation of 80s thrash/speed with a hint of slightly more modern metal. With great riffs throughout, Cry Havoc sound strongest when leaning more towards the old-school thrash, but they’re certainly none the worse for that. Vocally, Gav sounds a tad harsh in places, but often retains a relative clarity, making the lyrics very easy to digest. Their metallic force is balanced out by a surprisingly melodic chorus, and by the time this number comes crashing to a halt via an unsubtle cry of “shut the fuck up”, you know Cry Havoc mean to leave a lasting impression. ‘Ignition’ allows a slower mood to come to the fore in places, with a main riff evocative of ‘Master of Puppets’ era Metallica or post ‘Crusade’ Trivium – either influence a very welcome one indeed. Despite the chuggier moments allowing more accessible elements to cut through – and a chorus which leans even more towards the melodic (relatively speaking, of course) – drummer John still attacks his kit with the full force expected of classic sounding thrash/speed metal, with plenty of hefty pedal work.
Kicking off with some bottom end bass and a solid drum groove, ‘Alone’ at first hints at a slower, meatier workout and then – boom – it’s then straight back into a world of excellently played metal riffs. The full-on chug and growlier vocal line evokes the best elements of ‘Seasons In The Abyss’ era Slayer – particularly once the twin guitars get the opportunity to chime in before an all-too-brief guitar solo. The title cut begins gently with some clean toned riffing and a whispered vocal teasing at something epic waiting in the wings and then, as before, Tris and James settle into staccato riffing worthy of Metallica, Testament or any of the thrash greats, before finding time for a well-executed solo. It doesn’t really offer the listener any more of a broad musical spectrum than heard previously, but frankly, what these guys do, they do exceptionally well.
If you like your metal with a full-on sound with no obvious alternative influences creeping in, this is almost guaranteed to please. By the end of the fourth number, it starts to feel as if this should have been a full length release. It may be short, but in classic metal terms, Cry Havoc’s ‘New Life’ serves up four slices of near perfection.