HavocHate, "Cycle of Pain"
This is the reason I never review a record off of the first listen. At first I couldn't get into this album at all, but with with each subsequent spin it got better and better. Havochate is what we used to call power groove back in the day. If you remember that phrase describing any band it would be Pantera. It is not by accident I use it to describe Havochate. The music is very groove oriented while being heavy as hell with a sledgehammer drum sound behind it. The production captures this very well, although the bass is a little muted. They even alternate between heavy and mellow quite nicely. The best example of this is the song Fiction which reminds me, stylistically anyway, of Cemetary Gates. Tim Bouchee's vocals also remind me a little of Phil Anselmo mixed with John Bush of Anthrax, although he isn't nearly as good as Phil was back in the day. In fact his clean vocals come off a little weak, which detracts from the punch of the music somewhat. When he just growls everything out he does quite nicely but the clean vocals hurt the record a little bit. The main similarity to Pantera however is whenever there is a guitar solo. Yeah, Mario Rodriguez and Freddy Ordine are channeling the late Dimebag quite a bit. This is not a complaint, quite the opposite in fact. These guys do their thing very well, although it has been done before which takes away from this just a little. There are a few bugs in here to be worked out, but I get the idea these guys are up for the challenge of working them out. All in all how you feel about this album is going to be determined how you feel about Cowboys From Hell and Vulgar Display of Power. If you dug those records like I did then I suggest giving them a try. If you didn't, then don't bother. Wuss.