Cycle of Pain
(Indecent Media) Enslain Magazine Volume 2, Issue 1 From the opening riffs of the first track (which happens to be the title track), someone not familiar with this band would expect the vocals to sound similar to those of Chris Barnes. When the vocals of Tim Bouchee began, I was a bit suprised. The music has a post-thrash vibe to it, with very slight leanings to death metal, but Tim's vocal sound, which is reminicent of Rob Halford (and somtimes even Rob Zombie), gives the music a unique character. The timbre of the album, and nature of some of the riffing, could seem to imply more death-like vocals at times, so it is refreshing to hear vocals that are not as intense, with choruses that are actually "sung".
There are so many "types" of metal, but HavocHate seem to fall into the straight-forward "metal" category. Melodic vocals, guitar leads, and occasional acoustic guitar may seem dated to some, but here it is very contemporary. The tone of this record reminds me of a bit less thrashy, yet more rhythmically and dynamically diverse Pantera, especially the punchiness of the drum sound and balanced mids of the guitars. The performances here are tight and effective. Each member contibutes positively to the total sound.
The individual songs range in their mood and feel, my favorite being the last track "Rotting Hour", which reaches a level of heaviness and intensity not present anywhere else on the whole record. This would certianly be a good band to see live. Even though "Cycle of Pain" is well produced, the particular nature and attitude of the music does not fully translate when recorded.