Impressive variety for a band rooted in Hardcore, Rock, and a bit of Metal.-
Hammer Fight: Demo 2011
Hardcore, Heavy Metal, Speed Metal
Self-released
2011
  1. Down the Line - 2:31
  2. Disas-Tour - 2:04
  3. Stuck in the Chamber - 2:13
  4. Tears of Unfathomable Sadness - 3:44
  5. School of Rock - 2:31
  6. Get Wrecked - 2:18
  7. If You Want Blood (You Got It) - 3:07
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Review Information
Release length: 18:27
Review posted on November 24th, 2011
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Overall Score: 8.5/10
Discography Discography covers all information available up to day of review and is updated if future albums are reviewed.
Demo(s): Demo 2011 (2011)
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Review
After the passing of Abacinate vocalist Jason Sica, the band decided to go on hiatus. In that time, a new group formed from the ashes. Todd Stern and Justin Spaeth come together with Drew Murphy and Rob Guidotti to form a new Hard Rock meets Hardcore throwback group named Hammer Fight. Composed of several new offerings, Hammer Fight present their 2011 Demo to the world. But, is this demo something the world needs, or do the former band members take this into a more Death 'n Roll direction (which is what you might assume looking at their Stereokiller biography and taking previous band history into account)?

Demo 2011 has a pretty rough, raw quality to it, but that works in favor of the rather rough and raw material the band presents here. The dirtier Hard Rock and Hardcore sound met often with a screaming Motorhead influence benefits greatly from the early eighties distortion to the guitars that seem a little lower in the mix, but largely to make room for a dominante bass presence that brings in a twangy sound clearly audible in the mix and really makes a impact to the music. In fact, this and the drum volume can drown out the vocals, which often feel pushed further in the background. The drum kit sounds great with cymbols that are buried a bit in the background, but the snares and bass kicks come through loudly, the latter with a nice click to them, while the gristled rhaspy vocal performance compliments the rebellious Punk attitude of the music superbly.

While the later songs really showcase more of a Punk and Hardcore edge to the group's style, "Down the Line" kicks things off with that aforementioned Motorhead Speed Metal influence showing through in the most obvious of manners. However, this is far from plagiarism given the much heavier sound to the material that would even throw light on acts like Exodus or even the more recent Chrome Division. The song's far more intense Metal approach really brings a sense of authority with it's rather dirty atmosphere thanks largely to both the audio quality and the sheer speed of the music itself. The same can be said about "Disas-Tour" except this song begins the slow escalation of the band towards the more typical Punk and Hardcore interpretation of classic Rock material. The two-stepping bass kicks really make the song dance worthy while the bass and catchy Metal guitar riffs will make you instantly want to head bang along to the track. "Disas-Tour" also feels like a punch in the gut that will make headbanging a more viable option then dancing given a slightly more Thrash oriented approach then the previous Speed Metal Motorhead-esque sound.

It's about the time of "Tears of Unfathomable Sadness" that the demo really takes on more of that Hardcore vibe then anything else, though "Get Wrecked" is a bit of an exception with it's dirtier more Metal meets Hard Rock sound, but the aforementioned track's more melodic sound really stands out compared to the later tracks. The hard hitting rebellious riffs that come through carry an aura of sadness with them, especially when the chorus and related bridging segments come into play. When coupled with that rhaspy vocal performance that finds itself somewhat harmonized against the music, you can't help but feel a little moved by the song and it's more emotional tug on the listener. The closing track "If You Want Blood (You Got It)," the cover of the AC/DC classic, really fits in well with the demo material, and while it does feel slightly out of place, the band does a good job at keeping the Hard Rock attitude in place without trying to force it into the Hardcore confines of the band's own sound, though still venturing into a much heavier approach with the rhaspier vocals used on previous songs. It's refreshing to hear a band handle a cover in such a way, and even give the original as much justice as it deserves.

Hammer Fight definitely do a good job on their Demo 2011 release at combining plenty of solid genres such as the aforementioned Hard Rock and Hardcore styles, and even introducing a bit of Speed Metal, and even some Thrash on "Disas-Tour" without everything come out sounding forced together. The variety in the songs is just what the demo needs, and shows the band's ability to branch out from style to style and yet keep their core sound. Overall the demo release is just fun to listen to, and the lower production quality just makes it even more enjoyable in it's dirtier approach, though not all songs have lyrics that fully accompany that sensation. If you're interested in what Hammer Fight has to offer, at the time of this review their entire Demo 2011 release is streaming for free on their Stereokiller page for free. So, what are you waiting for? Go check it out before it's too late, and if it is, then it's worth taking the time to try to track down these songs and give them a spin.
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Digital review copy of this release provided by:
Hammer Fight
via Clawhammer PR.
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