Photo Credit, Dirt Junior
Colorado thrash metallers Havok were not on the bill as the headline act for the night, in fact there were three other bands set to play after them making their set time more akin to that of an opening act, but on Wednesday night at the Observatory, Santa Ana, there was no way anyone who didn’t already know otherwise would believe that to be true!
The venue was full up of fans waiting eagerly for the band to come on at their scheduled time of 9:25 or so but the chanting began early, with the crowd calling Havok’s name in unison until darkness descended upon the place and the cheers went up as the band took the stage and all of a sudden, it was on.
Opening up with ‘Covering Fire’ off their 2011 album Time is Up, an immediate circle pit was born as the young crowd of punkers and thrash kids tore it up in the pit below while Havok tore it up on stage. As their set continued with tracks like the crowd favorite ‘Scumbag in Disguise’, ‘Point of No Return’, ‘D.O.A.’ and even a brand new track or two in there, fans got bolder and began to climb up on stage with their idols and proceed to jump off and surf the crowd below. Havok were definitely one of the stars of the night with their high energy, insane crowd response and epic guitar solos in between full-on thrashing it out. After their seven or so songs of thrash metal intensity, the crowd thinned out to less than half as full, and didn’t return in time for Dr Know on next, making it more than clear that Havok were who they were here for.
By the time NOLA’s Goatwhore launched right into a blistering rendition of ‘Collapse in eternal worth’ things had picked up a bit with a small but eager army of fans pushed up as far against the stage as they could get, ready to enjoy the assault of Goatwhore’s darkly distinct blackened death metal sounds. Vocalist Ben Falgoust was in fine form barely taking a breath between songs as he delivered “When Steel and Bone meet’, ‘Parasitic Scriptures of the Sacred Word’, ‘Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult’ and more to us in flawless metal tradition. In fact,frontman Falgoust says little between songs, except mostly to thank the crowd and give credit to the other bands, instead letting the music speak for him, and the band continues on in their unrelenting performance with tracks like ‘Baptized in a Storm of Swords’, ‘Sky Inferno’ and ‘In Dethless Tradition’. Guitarist Sammy Duet was a shirtless shredding speed demon of metal covered in tattoos, who spent the whole set pulling out the sickest riffs this side of Hades while the remaining members of the band drummer Zack Simmons and bassist James Harvey brought it with a crushing rhythm section that is equally fast as f**k. The band wrapped things up with the shredathon, ‘Apocalyptic Havoc’ off 2009’s Carving out the Eyes of God and it started to be clear who the second stand out of the night had to be.
By the time the Casualties took the stage it was late and the crowd had thinned again due to curfews or whatever else but they still put on a solid set for the die-hards that still remained ready and waiting for a taste of punk.
Check out our VIDEO INTERVIEW backstage with Goatwhore’s Ben Falgoust!