Few metal acts today channel the early days of thrash better than Havok. Boasting a feel that recalls  Among the Living-era  Anthrax (among other genre cornerstones), but with technicality that eclipses their predecessors, they are keeping the circle pits swirling with a fury that recalls the genre’s halcyon days.

Unnatural Selection, the band’s third long-player on Candlelight Records, feels like that wild moment when the party gets dangerous and threatens to spiral out of control. The politically-charged opening duo of “I Am the State” and “Give Me Liberty … or Give Me Death” set a tone of youthful rebellion that threads the album’s 10 tracks, and surges through a hopped-up reading of Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave.” And just as fiercely as Havok opens the album, they take a bow with the title track, a speedy, blistering riff workout. This isn’t just a blaze of glory; this is a Molotov cocktail the size of a five-gallon bucket.

Thrash enthusiasts have a lot to be excited about here in 2013. There is a cadre of collectives who embody the wild-eyed ferocity that spawned the genre, and Havok is at the forefront. It may be called Unnatural Selection, but these guys – and this album – couldn’t sound any more natural.

Unnatural Selection is out now on Candlelight Records.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars