Despite labelling themselves a ‘traditional’ heavy metal band, there’s a lot more to Adelaide’s Skyhammer than you might imagine.
Whilst they are certainly rooted in the eighties output of the usual suspects, the band have no qualms about hitting the overdrive button with gratifying regularity, upping the intensity to actually resemble bands like Brit metallers Biomechanical and, to a lesser extent, American metal institution Trivium in their more grandiose moments.
This is most evident on the grinding bombast of Chains of Life, wherein the drumming of Rory Amoy steers the band in to more ‘extreme’ territory via the gift of some impressive double kick work; similarly the densely-packed guitar partnership of Andrew Cutting and Matthew Zipeto here resembles something far more ‘modern’ than mere Smith/Murray worship.
Vocalist Steve Labadi, however, keeps things much simpler, opting for a classic bellowing style that veers between Halford and Dickinson with nary a death grunt or growl issuing from his word hole. He’s got a powerful voice, no doubt about it, with plenty of oomph in the upper register (which is good as he goes there a lot), but maybe a stronger reliance on melody might be useful going forward, certainly in terms of listenability over a longer duration than this EP.
The title track is a ripper, however, fusing power metal dynamics and Maidenesque whoah-oh-ohs in spectacular fashion; Labadi gives his best performance here, letting rip a scream mid way through the track that’ll have you catching your breath at the majesty of it all.
Amusingly, after all this huffing and puffing the band opt to round things out with a spirited cover of the old Kenny Loggins chestnut Danger Zone; I’m still undecided whether it works fully or whether it should have been left as a crowd-pleaser come encore time in the live environment, but when the Turbo-flavoured riffage kicks in there’s no doubt the band add a roughly hewn charm to the bones of the original that is one hundred per cent their own. You’ll draw your own conclusions on this one.
Pretty good stuff then, and definitely a worthy addition to any self-respecting metal head’s collection.
The Skyhammer EP is out now.