Havoc Unit - h.IV+
Industrial Metal
13 songs (53:37)
Release year: 2008
Havoc Unit, Vendlus
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

It's a fair guess that, after Cypher especially, few underground fans had much time for ...And Oceans any more, as enjoyable as the album's electronic stomp is in hindsight. Yet the move to the Havoc Unit name seemingly changed the members' interests, going from catchy heaviness to all-out brutality and using the Industrial elements as a weapon to bludgeon the listener with. Most, if not all, of the Black and Post-Black elements from before are gone, replaced by a Death Metal sensibility that means Havoc Unit are closer to Meshuggah now than their former peers, yet there are reflections of the band's past here and there. All in all, however, Havoc Unit are a completely different animal than ...And Oceans and should be approached as such. What impresses is how well the band have reborn themselves, the nastily-titled h.IV+ (apparently standing for Hoarse Industrial Viremia) an enjoyable and forward-looking addition to the Industrial Metal genre.

Although the album follows the usual Industrial themes (revolution, rebellion, terrorism, the apocalypse and so on) the band take an intriguingly ambiguous political stance from the moment that first track مبيد الدّيدان (Vermicide) kicks in with sampled Arabic speaking and heavy beats, before launching into a groove-ridden yet cybernetic attack that's something like Meshuggah at their harshest and most Industrial. It's intense and full-on, no shades of light allowed in as the mechanical attack creates a wall of noise before fading to piano at the end , and pleasingly the album continues to vary its attack. I.Esus sounds like sped-up recent Fear Factory with growls, snippets of keyboard flourishes giving it a mildly epic feel, and When Snuff Is No Longer Enough brings the groove and is more like recent Dødheimsgard, ending with a distorted Nietzsche quote. Few fans of Red Harvest's more violent moments will be unimpressed by the near-perfect pounding of Gen.Eration Gen.Ocide, or the slow and grandiose Viremia - it's as if Havoc Unit have distilled all the more underground Industrial Metal bands into one rip-roaring assault.

The album's virtually free of filler; I especially enjoyed the headbanging riffmachine that was Man Vs Flesh and the guest spot from Solefald's Lazare on Ignatio Elenchi is perfect, the Norwegian providing clean vocals for an epic Industrial workout that's more post-Black than the other tracks but fits in perfectly. KMFDM fans, meanwhile, will enjoy the Punked-up Kill All Nations, featuring female vocals from someone who sounds quite like the Germans' Lucia Cifarelli, but without confirmation of which I can't be certain. Ideally, h.IV+ would have finished with piano interlude Kristallnacht, but it goes on for two more tracks, Klan Korps returning to violence and finale Rape Scene Act 1 a groovy pounder that is more Death Metal than anything else. The rapacious lyrics don't really fit the mood of the album, and it feels a bit out of place all in all. Even so, they're more than worth listening to, and it's a shame that Havoc Unit weren't hailed as a vital part of the Industrial Metal scene with this album - it's absolutely solid, and is more than worthy of reappraisal if you missed it the first time.

Killing Songs :
مبيد الدّيدان (Vermicide), When Snuff Is No Longer Enough, Gen.Eration Gen.Ocide, Kyrie Eleison, Man Vs Flesh, Ignatio Elenchi, Kill All Nations
Goat quoted 84 / 100
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