Havoc Unit - H.I.V.+

The Finnish band Havoc Unit marks the evolution of metal and the anti-human aesthetic into a logical and beautiful new species, the species of post-black metal. When we listen to bands that go way back in the history of metal and hard music, we have to not forget Ministry. Alien Jourgensen clearly forged that path all those years ago in the late 1980s where he toyed with metal riffing and industrial drum sounds over images of destruction. I have thought for some time now that Ministry’s efforts, though mean, have always left quite a bit to be desired. I say this because even though there are amazing drums in tracks like “The Missing” and “Stigmata,” those drums are always taken separately, the elements of ferocious guitar playing and heavy industrial drums were never mixed in a crafted layered way. The drums were fast, then the guitars would play, then the drums would pound, then the guitars would riff. I have wondered why Jourgensen and crew could not have smoothed out their musical elements and fabricated a sound that was heavier and capable of moving into musical eddies and torrents as a whole band. I tell myself that this dates Ministry as a band from the middle 1980s (even though they keep releasing decent enough projects) and that the reason Jourgensen did not build all the elements he already had into something of greater force was because he simply had not heard the greater European metal scene and thus could not have assimilated any of it into his listening and musical habits. But the thought (fear really) haunts my thinking on the topic that Alien Jourgensen did not actually have the talent to break the necessary wall of power metal art. I can not know the answer to my fears here but I have to say them because Havoc Unit accomplishes this quite well in their new release H.I.V+ and this band certainly has all the talent it needs to break through into post-black metal, a genre that surely must have that industrial core throughout.
I get that one might just want to label Havoc Unit industrial and leave it at that. But one can not forget the intense anti-Christian agenda of H.I.VX via that last minute and a half or so of track # 3, “When Snuff Is No Longer Enough.” In this track, the metal and black metal vocals have carried through the entire song over the pounding digital-drum style as programmed into a machine. But at the end, a voice comes on by itself and says that it condemns Christianity as the entity that has turned all goodness into evil and zapped all true will from the human heart. The voicing plays on a digital tape that is edited and distorted on a computer while it sounds like the source code for the voice is taken apart into digitized bits and pieces. The effect is very much not human, it is a computer. And the effect us very much not Christian, it expresses contempt of that belief. And of course, anti-Christianity is mostly expressed with such explicitness by black metalers and some death metalers. Havoc Unit expresses itself the same way but with an industrial and electronica edge. This is why I say it has evolved into post-black metal, because black metal is almost always low-fi production value, humans playing drums and guitars, and deliberate constant speed. Havoc Unit’s drums are partly electronic (industrial), the vocals are filtered through some kind of program or effect, and then there are the tape manipulation sounds that erupt all over the CD, for example where I already mentioned but also at the end of the track called “Kyrie Eleison.” Yet, they still profess an anti-Christian ideology and this is why I still label them as basically a black metal band moving into a new direction with their aesthetic. All the elements come together in H.I.V+ and create a brutal metal album that will rally fans from all over together. Havoc Unit has done the thing that Ministry always tried (I think) to do. They have made a very heavy metal album that ties the ideology of the anti-life into the sound itself by actually annihilating life itself through its very sound media. H.I.V+ is a powerful record as a result.

1. First track
2. I.esus
3. When Snuff Is No Longer Enough
4. Con.eration Gen.ocide
5. Viremia
6. Kyrie Eleison
7. Nihil
8. Man vs Flesh
9. Ignoratio Elenchi
10. Kill All Nations
11. Kristallnacht
12. Klan Korps
13. Rape Scene Act I

Vendlus Records
Reviewer: Jesse
Feb 26, 2009

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