"I think we have a little bit more melody to the riffs and intricacy to some of the stuff," Sanchez points out, noting that Havok is no mere carbon copy and that his influences extend beyond the classics. "There's some bands, of course, that play music that's impossible to play — like, you know, Megadeth. I would say that we sound like the old-school thrash stuff but it still sounds fresh and new, the vocals and the soloing."

"I think one thing we do like the old thrash bands along the Metallica lines is that we play those songs that progress in the right direction," Chavez interjects. "You know, Metallica songs, they last, and they're always moving in a way that you can groove to. I think that we make some really solid songs; they're not just these three-minute songs that shred by you. They have definition and meaning to them."

Beyond creating an authentic sound, the members of Havok have established themselves as seasoned, self-contained road veterans. By the time Candlelight enlisted the act, Havok had already embarked on six tours of its own. And as soon as a new drummer is named, the guys plan to hit the road again in earnest for at least the next year. Right now, Sanchez's younger brother, who's still in high school (natch), is filling the drum stool. And he'd probably become a permanent addition were it not for the fact that he's about to head to college: One of the best running backs in the state, Steven recently earned a scholarship to the Colorado School of Mines.

Shawn Chavez (from left), Dave Sanchez and Jesse De Los Santos are Havok.
Shawn Chavez (from left), Dave Sanchez and Jesse De Los Santos are Havok.


Havok CD-release show, with Silencer and Tauntaun, 7:30 p.m. Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer Street, $8-$10, 1-866-468-7621.

Evidently, hard work runs in the family — and produces results. While he didn't expect to land a recording contract his first time out with his first band, after a year or two with Havok, Sanchez says, he and his bandmates thought, "'We can actually do something with this if we want.' I was playing with good musicians, and the songs were coming along pretty good.

"Honestly, it's been the goal for years," he adds about signing with Candlelight. "I mean, it's a little surreal, because I know it doesn't happen to everybody, but I've been working my ass off for years and years and years to get to this point. So it's not that big of a shock to me. But I'm still way psyched about it."

Chavez, too, sensed early on that he was part of something viable. "What gave me that impression was just our whole setup," he says, "just how we ran things and our whole operation, how we had shows and were very professional from the get-go. I really think we just had this drive, and we both decided that we really wanted this, so we just set forth with it."

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