Hammercult: Steelcrusher

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Hammercult: Steelcrusher
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Hammercult: Steelcrusher
Crossover Thrash, Melodic Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Sonic Attack Records, SPV Records
January 27th, 2014
Release length: 44:10
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Hammercult formed back in 2010, and is one of Isreal’s best kept Metal secrets. The five piece has issued a debut EP titled Rise of the Hammer through Sonic Attack Records in 2011, and then followed it up by winning the Wacken Metal Battle that same year. A year later their debut album Anthems of the Damned was released and received plenty of praise, but it seemed only in certain circles. For 2014, Hammercult put their best foot forward with their second album, Steelcrusher. Is this enough to catch the attention of general Metal population, or will this release doom the band to further obscurity?

If there’s one thing Steelcrusher definitely has going for it, its a great deal of energy. Think of the adrenaline and speed of Exodus or Vektor and the Crossover sound of Municipal Waste and you’ll get a good idea of what to expect. “Steelcrusher” shows off a nice range in the lead vocals, largely handled with sharp rasps, but not afraid to get a bit deeper, especially with the gutturals that hit in some Metal-oriented call-to-arms such as “Metal Rules Tonight.” The gang chants are timed well enough, though on your first time through can feel a bit random in execution, and not just with this cut. While the infectious riffs and aggression really pull you in, the build to the stunning Neo-Classical guitar solo introduces some additional keyboards that throw in an odd high seas epic sensation similar to the like of Alestorm that works surprisingly well as a tension builder.

That atmosphere has a very subtle presence throughout the album as well, but not enough to cast Hammercult as yet another band of obvious Metal pirates. That is until you hear the “Ironbound.” This one has a good deal of melody to it, but the lead riffs inadvertently set up a similar environment, though one could argue more like a viking stance if any sea-fairing society is to be concerned. It’s an odd little addition that does sound out of place against the typical two-step Thrash material that makes up everything outside that glorious, reflective chorus and a later build just past the three minute mark. But then you have songs like “Damnation Arise” that have more of a straight-forward Melodic Death Metal touch to the hooks, as well as offer a furious performance so intense the twanging bass can easily dwarf the lead guitars in many spots

“Into Hell” shows off the band’s Crossover tendencies well with a high octane track that varies between intimidating main verses and two-step infused passages with additional Hardcore Punk hooks that will immediately have you banging your head along, especially during the brief commanding chants that hit before the two-minute mark. “Burning the Road” really caters to the latter two of those things, and it works quite well. The pace is a bit restricted, taking away some of the enthusiasm and making it a bit more common place compared to most of the album. Thankfully the simple melodic leads that hit in the chorus do manage to leech their way into your brain and set up home for a good while.

Steelcrusher blends together a good deal of various styles, and does it all with great ease. There are times the songs can become a bit more traditional to Hardcore or Punk, or find some overly melodic pieces that sound geared towards an adventure on the high seas than cheesy Metal worship and war in its name. But, with all that said, there is absolutely no denying that Hammercult have crafted a high octane album that will easily make you want to go into battle with the crowd during “Hymn to the Steel (Intro).” If you’re looking for a volatile mixture of pissed off music and mosh-worthy anthems, look no further than the adrenaline fuelled Steelcrusher, and know that Hammercult has just put you on notice with it.

01. Hymn to the Steel (Intro) – 1:28
02. Steelcrusher – 3:13
03. Metal Rules Tonight – 2:35
04. Into Hell – 3:40
05. We Are the People – 2:51
06. Burning the Road – 3:51
07. Ironbound – 4:13
08. Unholy Art – 3:12
09. Satanic Lust – 3:42
10. Liar – 3:03
11. Damnation Arise – 3:57
12. Heading for War – 3:18
13. In the Name of the Fallen – 5:07
Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10

Hammercult
Hammercult

Digital review copy of this release provided by Sonic Attack/SPV Records via Freeman Promotions.