In the shop for almost three years, Havok’s Conformicide is undoubtedly their Master of Puppets or Rust in Peace moment. True, the Denver-based rippers have bled out guts, brains, and cash on previous albums Unnatural Selection (2013), Time is Up (2011), and Burn (2009), but none of them compare to ear-destroying, mind-flaying Conformicide. “Conformicide is faster and way angrier than Unnatural Selection,” says vocalist/guitarist/founding member David Sanchez. “On this album, the music is very layered and dynamic and the lyrics say a lot about the current state of the world.”

Faster, angrier, and burlier, Conformicide benefited significantly from more collaborative writing sessions, where guitarist Reece Scruggs, drummer Pete Webber, and newcomer bassist Nick Schendzielos (Job for a Cowboy, Cephalic Carnage) were instrumental in pushing Sanchez’s violent yet quick-witted songs over the proverbial edge. The result is a set of tunes that fume, spit, and storm high-end, pit-slaying thrash. “To us, a song is a collection of music that will get stuck in your head,” Sanchez says. “Where every musician gets to shine, and dynamics are utilized to add peaks and valleys to the music—to take the listener on a musical roller coaster ride. After that musical foundation is there, we like to throw meaningful, thought-provoking lyrics on the top of the riff mountain and that’s where the songwriting process usually starts… With the almighty riff—the lifeblood of a good metal song. We slap a couple riffs together, then put drums and bass to it, then begin experimenting with guitar harmonies and different lines that the second guitar can play. Vocal rhythms and melodies are usually the last things to be solidified.”

With Conformicide, Havok prove they’re undoubtedly thrash metal scions, ready for their time in the spotlight. “This band was essentially started as a nod to the old-school greats,” Sanchez says. “When they all retire, Havok will be there to fill the thrash metal void. That’s why this band exists.”

Horns up, thrashers! Havok’s ready to destroy on Conformicide.