Critic's Choice

In the world of superheroes, Havok is a short-tempered X-Factor mutant with the ability to fire waves of explosive energy from his fingertips. In Denver's own underground death-core realm, the band Havok does something similar with guitars and amps, grinding through sheets of metal and double-kick tempos like a buzz saw. Weaned on everything from Metallica to Jimmy Page, this technically accomplished thrash outfit -- vocalist/rhythm guitarist David Sanchez, lead guitarist Shawn Chavez, bassist Marcus Corich and drummer Haakon Sjogren, who hails all the way from Drammen, Norway -- specializes in the kind of sonic doom that put the Vikings on the map before Erik the Red was teething. If a demo that includes songs about Hell and identity theft is any indication, Havok has an appetite voracious enough to eat emo kids for breakfast -- here, or in the land of the midnight sun. Valhalla recalls her icy, limb-lopping, Brunhildesque glory on Saturday, February 26, when Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom hosts an all-ages Battle of the Bands final, a tight race between Havok, Heinous Beating, End of Days, Tripsin Effect, After All, Thank You Molly Brown and The Sun Still Rises. Vote early. Vote often.

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