Tuesday 3 April 2018

Hammr - Unholy Destruction

Labels: Hells Headbangers
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 23 Feb 2018


1. Intro
2. Satanic Raid
3. Under Black Command
4. Eternal Prey
5. Desecrator
6. Sadistic Poison
7. Death Reign
8. Unholy Destruction
9. Demonic Rites
10. Into The Pentagram
11. Final Sacrifice

Tonight is reserved for a journey into hell. The vessel of choice for that journey is the newest LP by Cleveland, Ohio's black/speed/punk entity Hammr. Having formed in 2013 under the name Schizoid Hammer, sole contributor J. Hammer altered the band's moniker and released a self-titled EP in 2015. A demo called "Into The Pentragram" swiftly followed a year later, before debut album "Unholy Destruction" was brought to unsuspecting ears by Hells Headbangers earlier this year. Hammr has connections to fellow Hells Headbangers band Demona and revels in all things occult and fast.

“Unholy Destruction” kicks off with an Intro that sounds absolutely perfect. The guitar riffs and the mixing/mastering of Commandor Vanik and Joel Grind respectively make the hairs stand on the back of your neck. The volume is high yet the pace gives no clue as to the madness to come. Satanic Raid is the first song proper and it rips with lashings of punk, thrash and black metal mayhem. The reverb on the vocals, which sit deep in the mix, fit the underground atmosphere of Hammr like a studded and spike-covered glove. On Under Black Command, J. Hammer channels the energy of classic Motorhead and label mates Nunslaughter into a galloping, headbanging rager. 

The speed metal of Hammr is obviously prominent throughout and Eternal Prey is a prime example. There’s absolutely no let up during this song, with the low-end rumbling away at a ridiculous pace while the screeching solo gives no rest. It’s one of only two songs that pass the three-minute mark, which should give you a clue as to the intentions of the band. At times Hammr sounds more akin to the early speed metal originators from Brazil and other parts of South America, especially during Desecrator. This record flies by and it’s the succinct manner in which J. Hammer delivers his songs that make it so listenable. Sadistic Poison is like a Wurlitzer to the face, that keeps on going even when there’s no face left to damage. 

Talking of damage…Death Reign inflicts it with one of the best old-school solo’s period. The drumming ain’t bad either. The title-track features a repetitive string of riffs that scream punk and cause involuntary whiplash. The whole album is really catchy, in a perverse sort of way, as illustrated by Demonic Rites. The record gets even more bonkers on penultimate track Into The Pentagram, the screaming lead guitar fading in and out as J. Hammer cycles through countless scales and finger picks to within an inch of his life. Album closer Final Sacrifice ends the madness the only way it can, with more! Hammr definitely produces speed metal that’s filled with variation and genuine grin-inducing musicality. As far as this sub-genre goes, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better record this year. 

You can stream "Unholy Destruction" and purchase it on all formats below:-

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