Denver’s scions of retro-thrash, Havok, are preparing to unleash their fourth full-length studio album, Conformicide on Feb. 10. The album will be the band’s first for Century Media Records, and marks the debut for the quartet’s new bassist, Nick Schendzielos(Job for a Cowboy, Cephalic Carnage). Frontman David Sanchez founded Havok in 2004, and slowly built one of the most potent line-ups in metal, which includes fleet-footed drummer Pete Webber, and lead guitarist Reece Scruggs Conformicide is arguably Havok’s most consistent record to date and certainly the band’s most angry and aggressive. Sanchez had a lot to say about the state of America on this record, and he shared his thoughts this week with Metalholic.
Lyrically Conformicide seems to be about people pulling their heads out of their collective asses and thinking for themselves before it’s too late. Is that about right?
“I think you just nailed it exactly on the head. That’s exactly it.”
Many people feel that it may already be much too late for that.
“I think it could be easily argued that it is too late. It’s a great debate. You could spend all day talking about that. Is it too late or can we change it? If I had to I could argue either side of that.”
The album’s first single “Hang ‘Em High” takes aim at the politicians and big business, but it seems to me, in many ways we as a nation are responsible for allowing this to happen because we stick our heads in the sand, swallow whatever the media sells us, and we have gotten too lazy to think for ourselves.
“That it is the truth. We’re living in a more and more Orwellian society. As time ticks away, things keep getting closer and closer to the type of society they have in the book ‘1984.’”
You also take aim at the media and how we allow ourselves to be spoon-fed and brainwashed.
“I think Jim Morrison was correct when he said ‘Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.’ It’s the absolute truth. If you are in control of all the information people hear, then you’re in charge of what people think.”
When you wrote this album, we had no idea Trump would become President. I think most of us figured it would be a continuation of the same progressive societal cancer in the form of Clinton, or someone of her ilk. Do you think his divisiveness and brusque approach to things might actually wake Americans up and get them thinking instead of conforming?
“It certainly already is doing that in some aspects. I don’t know if it’s necessarily the right direction, but obviously people are becoming more aware and seem to be paying a little more attention. If there is any one good thing about Trump, that would be it. He’s making people kind of pay attention, and say like, ‘what the f**k? No! This is ridiculous. How can this be happening?’ Now you are starting to pay attention when it’s this one guy you don’t like, but the whole system has been bending us over and sticking it to us for a long time. Now this one guy is instigating people to kind of think, and wake up, and get the gears in their brain moving a little bit, which is good. But if you go down that mode of thinking just a little bit longer and you figure out that it’s not Donald Trump that’s the problem, it’s the whole system that’s the problem. We’re brainwashed from the time we’re toddlers to believe that the system is good, that justice is blind, the American dream thrives and you can do anything you want, and that this is the land of the free. Meanwhile we have more laws on the books than any other country in the world. Lots of innocent people are locked up in cages at this very moment. The government passes things like the National Defense Authorization Act, the Patriot Act…. Everything is completely backwards from the way this country was intended to operate when it was founded in the 1700’s. The rules were meant to come from the bottom up, not from the top down. Now we’ve seen a complete reversal of that idea, and no one seems to care. That’s why I’m very pissed off, and that’s why a lot of the lyrics in this record are what they are.”
Thrash metal has always been a voice for intelligent ideals and bold arguments against the malaise of the status quo. David Sanchez and Havok pull no punches in addressing their concerns on Conformicide. You can check out the full interview with Sanchez and check out the lyric video for “Hang ‘Em High” and the audio for “Ingsoc” below.