Thursday, February 9, 2012

Demolition Hammer-Tortured Existence

Ah, good old Demolition Hammer. One of the prime bands who, atleast for me, dominated the early 90's thrash scene. This four-piece from New York played much different thrash than their other local bands like Anthrax, who had alot of hardcore influences going on. After releasing their rapidly vicious demo ''Necrology'', they signed to Century Media and gave out two landmark records: This and their latercoming album ''Epidemic Of Violence''. Their debut shows blatantly obvious thrash influences basically played in a very aggressive style. Although their latercoming records may show influences of DM at times, this album is clearly a thrash-natured.

As I stated before, the music is very fast and aggressive which is one of the factors which allowed D-Hammer to easily gain recognition in their local scene.The furiously crafted riffs and ultra-heavy production that the album possesses is yet another beautiful highlight. There is no influence other than the huge pure, brutal and raw thrash influence. The riffs are very crushing and heavy and these guys are truely angry when playing their instruments. Frontman Steve Reynolds is a monster of a singer, singing with a menacing attitude and nothing but raw and uncut gnarling and shouting. Another traditional thrash trait, the group shouts, are also very present and it just shows that the whole band is full of energy and anger. Even though the riffs are rather ferocious, I must say they are rather fast than vicious or sinister. What's the difference? The fast riffs will basically get you headbanging very fast whilst the vicious riffs are rather ''evil sounding''. But I'm pretty sure no thrasher would pay attantion to such unimportant details like that.

Not only are the riffs face-pummeling, but they are also technical which is an interesting thing because many bands who play this particular sub-genre of thrash only strum some chords fastly, bur D-Hammer have a much different tactic. Instead of just bashing out their instruments, thay tend to play some old-school thrash sounding riffs at times or better yet-blend it with the ferocity. These kind of riffs obvious in tracks like ''Neanderthal'' or ''Infectious Hospital Waste'', and really increase the song quality.

Drummer Vinny Daze is really no name drmmer, but he can rip it up when he sşts on that stool. Since the production is so thick and heavy, his bouble-bass drums sound pretty crappy, even though he plays them well. The super-thick production may seem great at the start, but slowly you will see that it actually is one of the biggest flaws on the album. Sure it supports the riffs and tends to make them chunkier but it also enables a drop in the sound quality on the drums which really sucks. But despite this flaw the drums can be mainly heard-atleast enough for some one to make something out of them and enough for it to fit the music.

Now, the vocals are outstandingly well-done and we can all thanks bassist/vocalist Steve Reynolds for that. His shouts and angry attitude make the album even more aggressive and vicious. He sings the songs in a slightly punk attitude actually(which might be the only punk influence in the album) and that is not a bad thing at all. But truely this guy has some notable vocals, and his growl/shout at ''44 Caliber Brain Surgery'' is legendary. The whammy-tinged pentatonic scales are absolutely all over the album, and sound rather energetic than, evil or brutal. And this is yet another difference which separated D-Hammer from the others.

Demolition Hammer's debut was a very-well done late thrash record, but not as good as their second ''Epidemic of Violence''. All in all, I wouldn't be able to understand why someone who is into heavy, fast and loud music wouldn't like Demolition Hammer.
For people who like this I also suggest their second album EoV and their 1989 demo ''Necrology'' which is basically Tortured Existence played faster and more savagely.

44 Caliber Brain Surgery
Mercenary Aggression
Gelid Remains
Infectious Hospital Waste

Rating: 91%

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