Sunday, 3 March 2013
A massive beast!
Gates to the Necronomicon ! Grimoire of the Ancient Ones !
Hailing from England, Damnations Hammer is a new unit and its heaviness is to be taken seriously. This is their first album and its really damn massive. Their main member is a veteran of the British thrash and groove scenes and his experience and influences is key to the success of this album. The version I have is the one released by I Hate and it's supposed to have new guitar solos and re-recorded bass tracks, I haven't heard the original version but the production is really thick and strong and I wouldn't change anything. The fact the band invested in their own recording studio truly paid off.
What we have here is crushing doom/death metal greatly influenced by the Swiss masters Celtic Frost. They're also a power trio, but don't be afraid, their mighty approach will leave you breathless. Throughout the album, there's no time to lose, the pace is steady and there's no fillers during this forty minutes voyage into the creepy world of the Hex. After the short intro, Throne of Fire starts the album with his mid paced attack and it's one of the longest track on the album. While being smashing, it has awesome hooks both in the riffs and the vocals departments. Tim Preston's delivery is very similar to the one of Tom Gabriel Fischer, it's not the harsh style usually found in most doom/death style, well it has almost nothing to do with the typical death metal vocals. It's a rough and easily understandable voice crammed with evil spirits not really far from a thrash/groove hybrid. The vocals can get a bit repetitive and some deep growls would had been nice but it fits the music nicely surprisingly. There's a certain urgency and the hooks are immense, the title track is a good example of the sound, heavy riffs, repeated memorable choruses and weird leads all this shrouded with an occult atmosphere. The bass is loud and very present, I'm sure this would be a very enjoyable experience live for my eardrums and my neck ! It has the groove of doom/stoner era Cathedral mixed with both early and modern Celtic Frost. It's fast and sometimes, I felt like it should be slower, a song like Harbringer of Darkness answered my prayer and gave me a very cool slow break in the middle before the blistering attack of the riffs is back. The prelude to the massive last track is a cool atmospheric lovecraftian instrumental creating some momentum, opening the Gates to the Necronomicon ! It's something that I'd like them to establish more thoroughly, I'd like a full blown atmospheric approach mixed with their stampede crush all approach. Nonetheless, that's a very strong first offering from these Brits and I'm very interested to hear what they'll do in the future.
I think Damnations Hammer could appeal to most metal fans. They have the crushing intent of death/doom, the groove of stoner metal and thrash and the occult atmosphere found in the more extreme areas of black and death. It's yet another huge catch by the doom masters of I Hate Records and like their other great bands, it shouldn't go unnoticed.
Give 'em a like on bookface