Hammer Fight – Chug of War (Horror Gore Pain Death Productions)

Friday, 13th December 2013
Rating: 8/10

An album supposedly dedicated to turning one’s “boring day” into a “good time,” Hammer Fight’s Chug of War debut picks up on all the beer-pyramid themes their German brethren Tankard have been honking. Granted, no one is going to top Tankard when it comes to writing songs about booze and only booze, but it’s not much of an issue to have another band around of the punchy, but punch drunk variety, which is why this New Jersey quartet clicks so well here.

The album title and lyrical content are obvious connotations for the band’s smashed and thrashed sound, as in, this is geared toward nursing a brew while rocking. In that order, too. However, when it comes down to immediate and quasi-melodic cuts, Hammer Fight manage to get their licks in, specifically on the all-instrumental “Stellar Mass,” a song good enough to make a casual listener forget about the band’s conceptual base. Elsewhere, it’s the fried and sing-songy “I Didn’t Feel Like Drinking (Until I Started Drinking)” and bouncy “Sleeping with the Enemy” (love the acoustic intro) that provide sustenance to an album with a handful of strong-to-excellent “fun” jams.

There’s always room for silly/stupid metal; it’s why GWAR still has a following, but the real the capper has always been musical ability. Being that the Hammer Fight dudes are of obvious competence on their instruments, it makes the whole thing click rather effortlessly. In all, easy stuff to like. Not as harmless as the band makes it out to be, either.

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