Germans Hammer King, should their music careers founder, could usefully embark on a successful career in the distilling business. Metal whiskey galore!
I make this jocular observation as it is evident from just a couple of listens to this, their second album (and I must thank our own Ferry Templeton for turning me onto it!), that these men have a peculiar talent for extracting the very essence from the heavy metal they love and presenting it as their own. A superior distillation process indeed.
So, over the course of King is Rising you’ll get an enlivening snifter of Iron Maiden here, a warming mouthful of Grave Digger there, and at other times earthy notes of Running Wild and Riot. And a pronounced fruity mouthfeel of Judas Priest and Freedom Call. Let’s not forget that.
But amusing booze-related japes aside, there really is a ton to like about King is Rising; Hammer King do nothing new with this record, but they do what they do in near peerless fashion, presenting tried and tested themes with gusto and undeniable dedication to the cause; It’s impossible not to find yourself swamped by the gonzoid likes of Kingbrother and Reichshammer, best just to go along with the flow and immerse yourself in the flavoursome mash of influences presented for your delectation.
Battle Gorse, once heard, will be resident in your brain for a long time, it’s martial gallop insinuating it’s way irrevocably into your synapses, the dual guitars of Titan Fox V (who also adds a fine, Kai Hansenish vocal to proceedings) and Gino Wilde sledgehammering the message of metal glory home with a terrible beauty. The rhythm section of KK Basement (stop laughing at the back) and Dolph A. Macallan comes into its own on the superb Kill the Messenger, which brings to mind the modern day efforts of Saxon and Tank but bows to neither in terms of quality;However by and large this album isn’t one where individual brilliance eclipses the team effort – Hammer King are a very tight unit indeed.
If you laugh at people in denim ‘battle jackets’ and the thought of Festivals with titles like ‘Bang Your Head’ and ‘Keep it True’ then you’ll probably derive nothing but some sort of ironic, smug glee from King is Rising. If, like me, you love true metal with every fibre of your ridiculous being, then you must own this record.
King is Rising is out now on Cruz Del Sur Music.