Overall, I can't say I've been a fan of this retro-thrash thing that's been going for a few years now - to me, it all seemed a bit of smoke and mirrors manufactured by a few record labels desperately looking for the next big thing, failing to find it, and going back to the last-big-thing-but-ten. Still, like all musical crazes, some cream has risen to the top whilst the nonsense has thankfully gone back to it's day job, leaving Havok as one of the last men standing from this motley scene.
I'm pleased this state of affairs has eventuated because Havok are absolutely brilliant. On Time is Up they are aided massively by the incredibly sympathetic production skills of one time death metal guitar for hire James Murphy, a man who clearly has the ears for this kind of thing. His work throughout is completely immense, causing the guitars of Reese Scruggs and David Sanchez to scald your eardrums each time they put plectrum to string in a seemingly never ending procession of top class riffing that, while it often brings to mind the 'old masters' of the genre, never quite resorts to mere faithful reproduction (though they come close once or twice). Murphy also gives full space in the mix to the extraordinary drumming of Pete Webber. I haven't seen a photograph of this man, but when I do I won't be surprised to find out he's got a few more appendages than us normal human beings - he's that good.
There really isn't a bad track on Time is Up, though when the band get a bit 'metalcore' (as they do in a couple of places) I find the attention wanders a little, but that's me. When they stick to the task in hand - as they do on the excellent DOA and the title track, then there really is a lot to enjoy here, whether you're a thrasher from back in the day or a wet behind the ears young pup.