Sunday, March 31, 2013

EP Review: Hammerdrone - "A Demon Rising"

Out of the promos I've gotten, I've yet to be disappointed by a Canadian artist. I've heard awesome hardcore, shoegaze, and hip-hop from either coastline of this country, and I think it's time to take a look at something from a bit more inland.

Hailing from Calgary, Alberta (also known as Canada's Texas) comes blackened death metal band Hammerdrone with their 2012 debut 4 track EP, A Demon Rising. Now, ignoring their grade 10 math class doodle of an album cover, Hammerdrone lay down some pretty solid death metal. It's a sort of blackened death metal with melodic riffage up the ass, reminding me of a sort of stripped down Behemoth or less thrashy Goatwhore.

The title track opens up the EP, hammering down at the perfect pace for headbanging and fist pumping. The riffs alternate between quick trills and drawn out, melancholic leads, all with thundering double bass flying in the background. The vocals sound like they've got real substance behind them, mostly dancing around the low guttural range, but occasionally spiking up to a midranged howl here and there.

Pretty much all four songs follow that formula to moderate success because let's face it, good death metal is good death metal no matter how much it seems to adhere to the same structure and sound as a million songs/ bands/ albums before it. I've got to say I really dig the guitar playing here, with the intro of "Another Winter" and the outro solo of the closing track "Annihilation in Equilibrium" being my favorite parts of the EP, hands down. Other than that, I find most of the playing to be solid and tight but nothing outstanding.

I do have to credit them with an excellent knack for creating a dark, evil, and menacing atmosphere, through solid songwriting and fantastic production. Nothing sounds muddy or lost in the mix, the drums sound huge (especially the kicks) and everything really sounds vicious and in-your-face.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Another Winter, Annihilation in Equilibrium

On a Playlist With: Behemoth, Goatwhore, Amon Amarth

Overall Score: 3/5

For an EP from a band not but 3 years old, A Demon Rising is a great debut. I'd love to hear a bit more variety and ambition next time around, but Hammerdrone have definitely crafted an album that'll get heads banging and fists pumping all across Alberta's death metal scene. And guys, a word of advice: pay more than 15 bucks for your album art next time.

A Demon Rising was released July 10th, 2012 independently. You can swim the internet channels to Hammerdrone's Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, and official website.

That's all for now, folks!

-Grave Dave

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