I must admit, how I came to know of Hamerex was a little blurred in my memory - a friend of mine remembered hearing a band which "started with H and ended with X". He then proceeded to find this band, and, within a couple of days, I got asked to review "Rites of Passage" the band's debut full-length, by the band themselves. And that is exactly what I plan to do...
I get the immadiate impression that Hamerex are one of those bands, of which there are too few, who play traditional metal, but in a modern way, and without submitting to the demand to be "retro". The band seem to be playing heavy metal because it's what they want to do, and not for any other reason, and it's certainly apparent in the bands sound; the songs seem very wholesome, organic, and solid. Hamerex's sound rests on the more extreme edge of traditional metal, and there's certainly elements of more extreme genres, a good few parts of songs are clearly heavily thrash-influenced, and the vocals are frequently on the harsh side - definitely heavy metal in the vein of Venom, as opposed to say, Judas Priest, and the murky (although not necessarily bad) production of the album seems to add to this notion, although the murkiness is certainly a positive, as opposed to a negative effect, complimenting the somewhat blunt, tough sound of the songs.
The band's sound has a pleasingly unique character, and I've not really heard anything quite like it. It reminds me of things like Venom, and Blaze Bayley's more recent solo work, but it still distinct from both of these things. For one thing - Hamerex seem to create an epic sound in their material, without resorting to synth, or to excessive technicality, in a way which not many bands can, and a lot of the songs, "The Lycan" for instance, seem imbued with a certain energy which is very uplifting, despite the lack of elements which traditionally amount to an "epic" sound. The whole album has some instantly memorable guitar parts and lyrics, which can only be good, and I'm sure is a sign of sturdy songwriting. Personally, I'd reccommend Hamerex to anyone who was after some good old fashioned, take-no-prisoners heavy metal.
All in all, I find that, if there is one style which most metalheads can agree on, it's this; no-nonsense, down-to-earth heavy metal - metal in what might be regarded as in it's purest form. It certainly ticks a lot of the boxes of a good metal album.
I give the album 7/10.
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Hamerex on Metal Archives.