Hammercult – Built For War (SPV)Tuesday, 11th August 2015
Nothing like making a major splash at the world renowned Wacken Open Air festival- as Israeli extreme thrash act Hammercult did in 2011 by winning the unsigned Metal Battle, leading to their first record deal. Anthems of the Damned set the table in relentless, fist to face fashion – while the follow up Steelcrusher upped the melodic and harmony aspects for their up tempo bash and gash style. Onto their third platter Built for War, and it seems like the band’s penchant for straddling catchy melodic hooks with extreme intensity and raw vocal ferocity remains steadfast.
Drummer Maayan Henik unleashes a rapid fire snare and double bass assault through “Rise of the Hammer” and can be quite punk-inspired during speedier passages of “Spoils of War”. Gang vocals punctuate key bridges and choruses, sure to excite and activate crowds to “Raise Some Hell” or “Let It Roar” – as if Exodus and Manowar faced each other in a last man standing cage match. The two interludes “From Parts Unknown” and “Ode to Ares” provide the listener a little bit of their country’s heritage and cultural roots, because the 11 songs in the main are venomous, thick with crunchy riffs and melodic transitions that make me think of prime Destruction, Exodus, and Sepultura circa Beneath the Remains (“Altar of Pain” assuredly tickling the Cavalera clan in their blood thirst glory).
Screams and word delivery that is on point to the speedy guitar foundation gives Yakir Shochat a platform to dive into socio-political criticism of his Middle Eastern homeland in “Spoils of War” as easily as metal anthems like “Saturday Night Circle Pit Fight”. You will probably think Destruction has influenced Hammercult in more ways than one vocally and musically – and you would be right. Add in the final mixing/mastering professionalism of Tue Madsen and classic warrior artwork from Péter Sallai and it’s easy to understand why this quintet turns a lot of casual fans into converts.
When other bands choose to ride in mid-tempo landmines or crossover valleys, Built for War can be another adrenalized nuclear explosion in the Hammercult collection.