Havoc Unit
"h.IV+"

(Vendlus Records 2007)Havoc Unit - h.IV+

Now that Ministry have packed it up and called it a day, the music community is left with a gaping hole in the industrial metal category. Stepping into the rotation is Havoc Unit, who previously toiled as a black metal outfit under the moniker …And Oceans. Their first offering with the new name is "h.IV+," featuring all of the chunky guitars, mechanical drums, and harsh processed vocals that you can handle. It also features all kinds of indictments of government, religion, and…stuff. On a curious side note, Yahoo Music Engine disagrees with the album's liner notes as far as the song titles are concerned. So, how do Havoc Unit fare pinch-hitting for Uncle Al and Co.?

Following the obligatory Muslim chant sound byte, the album starts off with the killer "I. esus" (or "Allah on Suuri, mutta Mullah Suurempi," if Yahoo Music Engine is to be believed), a spastic bulldozer that seems to set the album up nicely. Unfortunately, it's followed up by a string of songs that sound exactly the same. You could be forgiven for thinking that you're listening to the same song until "Viremia" ("www.shemalesandtransvestites.com") lumbers out of your speakers. Too bad it's an uninteresting mess of sound clips, electronic noise, and singer jos.f entreating us to "Abuse me!" about 2,367 times. We get it, dude. Masochism can be fun.

Thankfully the back end of the album is almost as good as the front half is bland. "Man vs. Flesh" ("P. Diddy vs. Kiddie P. Orn") finds Havoc Unit getting their Meshuggah on, locking the drums and guitar into some ultra-precise, robotic riffing. "Ignoratio Elenchi" ("With Love to all the Pigboys, Ladyboys, and Toyboys Out There") drops some surprising clean vocals over a plodding chug-fest. "Klan Korps" ("Political Propaganda Program") contains echoes of Havoc Unit's black metal heritage with the most driven and hard-charging song on the album. They even threw in the ghostly piano interlude of "Kristallnacht" ("1889").

Havoc Unit should have used some judicious editing to do away with the songs that are clearly knock-offs of the better ones on the album. Failing that, they could have at least shuffled the track order a bit to keep the similar-sounding stuff from being bunched together. There are some really good songs on "h.IV+," but they get buried amidst mediocre tunes and annoying samples. But hey, where else can you find lyrics like "Silence is golden, ignorance is bliss/fell down from heaven, in a shower of piss/Build up a wall, brick by fucking brick/United we fall, under a flag of shit?" You tell 'em, brother.

C+

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