Point of No Return

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Denver, Colorado-based retro thrashers Havok have staked their career on doing things as they were done in the '80s, and that also goes for their decision to support an upcoming tour with this extended play, maxi-single, whatever-you-wanna-call-it stop-gap release. Somewhere in Newcastle, England, the members of Venom -- they of French Assault, Scandinavian Assault, and other such maxi-singles -- are knowingly nodding their heads. Anyway, Havok's release is auspiciously named Point of No Return and gets under way with two brand new songs -- neither of which messes with the band's standard Exodus/Death Angel/Testament hybrid formula, but then, that's to be expected. The title track out-moshes the ensuing "Cradle to the Grave," but only just, thanks to some dexterous bass work from Jesse de los Santos, but neither cut does anything to dismiss assumptions that they were outtakes left off Havok's sophomore studio album, Time Is Up. Next in line are two covers -- Sepultura's "Arise" and Slayer's "Postmortem/Raining Blood" -- so accurate in every note, beat, vocal inflection, and sound effect that one can't help but wonder whether some kind of tribute band future awaits Havok once this old-school thrash gimmick truly breathes its last. Point of No Return's final pair of offerings, "Covering Fire" and "D.O.A.," are both fished off of Havok's aforementioned second long-player, and, to their credit, might convince a few souls to go look for it in stores, as it was indeed a fine retro-thrash specimen, within the movement's obvious limitations. Now only time will tell whether Havok have indeed crossed the Point of No Return where their career prospects are concerned, but at least they're still working hard to give themselves a chance.

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