Friday, March 2, 2012

Deathhammer-Onward To The Pits

While their debut remains as just another example of simplistic retro-thrash metal, Deathhammers sophomore album is a crushing monster that certainly runs in front line for the best thrash albums of the year. Deathhammer have achieved maturity and have produced a straightforward album with an evil feel to it. No bullshit, just vengeful thrash attacks played in really aggressive way. I can't say that this is the most old school sounding thrash album out there, but I am not at all complaining about that. Deathhammer have succesfully managed to eject a healthy dose of evil (a black metal edge), to their vocals and produced a prime thrash record.

As much as this record is vicious, it is also a great blend of old school speed, thrash and black metal, creating something that is fairly unique and quite energetic. This in many ways is similar to early Sodom and Kreator. The songs are fun yet totally outrageous and that alone is a factor that can pull the listener into the music. The riffs are thunderous and rapidly progress along with frequent blast beats that allow the songs to flow viscously and with ease. Deathhammer have managed to sound evil and catchy at the same time, much like recent black/heavy metaller ''Midnight'', only perhaps a little faster and thrashier. Deathhammer was able to put together a few things which quite doesen't ryme together, but despite that this record is a frantic assault of razor sharp riffage, simple yet effective and also equally old-school and evil sounding.

The cathiness of the music comes from the bluesy riffs and funky solo attitude. The tremolo-chord hybrid riffs along with the sinister black-esque vocals sum up to create a fast-paced mash up of notes and a barrage of pounding drum beats. The riffs are almost always furiuos and malevolantly fast, witha more heavy metal feel to it rather than thrash really. The song ''Emperor of Sin'' shows something quite the opposite though. It is not as straightforward or fun as the the other tracks and follow a more darkened tone in general. There are even certain doomy sections in the album to create a whole different atmosphere than the standard neck-spilitting vicious speed metal one. In this track the black metal edge of the album takes over and totally engulfs the album within a black cloak of a more complex and evil sound. The album worships well-known proto black metal acts such as Venom, Bathory and early Sodom. Though perhaps not as sordid of hefty in terms of riffage, the record has a high resemblance of the aformentioned lengends.

The vocals on this album are slightly muffled and can reach very high notes quite easily. The high-pitched and black metal influenced vocals delivery is a great spice to add to the mixture because it helps sustain a large amount of energy whenever the instrumental section starts to get repetetive, which by the way scarcely happens. The only noticible black metal influence is perhaps the vocals, because besides them, the album is pretty much plain, fast and fierce speed metal. Now the preoduction is also a nice touch, as it has a sort of old school vibe, though still managing to sound clean and audiable. The intro riff on ''Army of Death'' is like direct Venom riff because it has so much old school in it. The whole album in general may seem repetetive and similar as it progresses, but surprisingly it is able hold the level of dynamicism at a very high level. A level high enough to make a metalhead bang his head for nearly forty minutes.

At the end, I was very pleased with the results I had: Speed, evil and cathiness all in one cup, blended in a succesful way. If Deathhammer keeps this up, they might aswel get better and better with each record. While many bands sound brutally monstrous, they fail to achieve what Deathhammer have achived-fast paced music that vener ceases to entertain you. ''Onward To The Pits'' is fun, frenzied and also a great old-school speed/thrash hybrid with some unexpected influences thrown in aswel. If you dig Sodom, Midnight, Bathory, Venom, Kreator or Insinnerator then this is your thing.

Fullmoon Sorcery
Voodoo Rites
Emperor Of Sin
Seduced By The Flames

Rating: 89%

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