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David Sanchez of HAVOK Discusses Unnatural Selection, The Fifth Big Thrash Band, The Importance of a Riff, and More

Motorhead's Lemmy said, "You're not a real band unless you tour." Well, guitarist/vocalist David Sanchez and the rest of Dever's Havok are a real fucking band. The band has spent nearly every moment of this year on the road already, and they just kicked off a headline tour of North America. Sanchez found to time to chat with Metal Injection while literal sound of the road poured over the interview. Read the chat here.

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Unnatural Selection has the potential to be a very powerful title, what is the reason behind it?

Well, the idea of "unnatural selection" is human’s altering what evolution would naturally yield. Honestly, when we came up with the title, it rolled off the tongue nicely. It comes from the closing track of the album, which is about genocide. I mean, if you wanted to put a philosophical meaning on it, I think it’s because we kind of took the reins and unnaturally selected to make our album rock’n’roll and more old school heavy metal.

Is the man on the cover based on anyone in particular?Havok Unnatural Selection

No, not at all.

As you mentioned, there is more of a rock’n’roll sound on the album.  Was this a “it can’t be all fast all the time,” decision or was there something else to the slight change in sound?

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I think that heavy metal in recent times has completely lost it’s rock’n’roll roots and we wanted to go more in that direction, because heavy metal is not about blast beats, and trem-picking, and growling. It used to be about melody, cool riffs, rocking, and having a good fucking time. Now it’s all about brutality. We wanted to step it back form that. That makes us stand out versus what’s going on in the metal industry right now.

Do you see a ballad at any point in the band’s future or just slowing it down and making it pure melod-?

FUCK NO! Not going to start writing pussy music. Heavy metal comes from rock’n’roll. We just play heavy riffs and try to make it exciting. Stuff that people want to headbang to and will get stuck in their heads.

Because of handful of songs, the band is given the label of being a political band, does this label carry a burden at all? I do know not all of your songs are political.

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Of course, not all of them are. Not even close. Just the first two on the record lean that way. I don’t care if people call us that because I’ll call a bush a bush. There are a couple of politically charged lyrics on the first couple tracks, but no burden, no cross to carry. It is what it is.

Is Children of The Grave your favorite Sabbath song, or is it the best one to Havok-ify?

It’s a song that we wanted to do, because the song’s fucking heavy and the lyrics are almost as true today as they were when it was written.

Absolutely.

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The lyrics fit right in with the lyrics on the rest of the record. I think it fits right in with the rest of the record, that’s why we went with it.

This is your last Candlelight album correct?

This completes our contractual obligations, yes.

Is the band seeking a new label or are you considering crowd sourcing future ventures?

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I don’t know yet. We’re not entirely sure. We’ll see what happens this year.

Thrash, and metal in general metal, seemed to fall out during the 90’s, and is beginning to really re-surge again. What is it about the last few years that has made thrash make a comeback?

Because people are sick of growling and blast beats. People want to hear RIFFS. People love old heavy metal because of them. Most people that I know think Iron Maiden, Old Metallica, Dio and Sabbath are the shit. Metal doesn’t sound like that anymore. If there is any sort of resurgence going on, it’s because there’s riffs and people miss that.

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Full tour schedule here

The riff is the heart and soul of heavy metal in my eyes. If there’s not a good riff, then what the fuck are you doing playing metal?

Who is your favorite non-”big 4” thrash band, or who do you think should be included if there were to be a fifth?

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Oh man…Probably, either Testament of Exodus.

I always felt like Annihilator didn’t get their proper dues.

Right. The Canadians are always seemed to be getting the shaft.

Them and Anvil just left in the dust.

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Overkill’s great too. They’re up there.

You’ve got a long tour ahead of you guys. Any place you’re heading to for the first time that you’re looking forward to?

Actually, we’ve been to just about everywhere that we’re hitting on this tour, but really looking forward to Heavy MTL. That festival will be crazy.

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