Wednesday, 16 May 2012

#163 Fisthammer - Devour All You See

There are plenty of bands which end or begin with the word "Fist", and there are plenty which end or begin in the word "Hammer". Fisthammer, on the other hand, weren't happy to have merely one of these, and thus, have both. "Devour All You See" is the bands first album, and in addition to being excellent advice for all buffet situations, is also has a catchy ring to it, as does the music it contains.

The band's music encompasses a wide range of things, with hints of death-metal, melodic death-metal, thrash and some groove moments, all united under the banner of sounding quintessentially modern. Unapologetically neat and crisp in terms of production, the album definitely doesn't aim at any retro or oldschool qualities, but still, importantly, manages to dodge the clicky bullet of overproduction and plastic-sound - the kick drums may most lilkely be triggered, but they don't sound too bad, between being more than competently played, and quite tastefully produced. The exact stylistic direction of the album as a whole is a but intangible - I can't tell exactly what the band are playing, or what they're aiming at, and with many bands this would be a weighty problem. With Fisthammer, it seems, this isn't such a great hurdle as anticipated, with the journey through the album being an engaging one, even if I can't see where the journey is leading to. Paradoxically, the material on the album does seem to fit together as one definite unit of work, but still possesses the ambiguity; Is it straight up death metal? melodeath? There are certainly some fairly mainstream groove and perhaps even core influences hovering around the sidelines as well, which make the album more diverse, and also more unpredictable.

One thing is very certain about the album though - it's very energetic throughout, and I can well imagine it sounding excellent live. The drums give the music a really strong, solid backbone, and the riffs are about as energetic and crunchy as they come - in the vein of  bands like Vader. The album also seems quite melodic and lead-heavy, however, and there are plenty of solos and catchy hooks, with a good variety of techniques utilised, with sweeping, tapping, and all kinds of other stuff that I don't know how to do, to the point that the lead guitar, I'll venture to say, is probably the defining feature of the album, and definitely the most notable embellishment on many of the songs. That's not to say the other facets of the band are lacking - the rhythm guitar and bass sounds fine, and the drums are top notch, fairly tight and certainly technically able, but it's certainly the lead guitar which I first noticed.

If modern metal is your thing, then I'll certainly reccommend this band, and this album, to you. Whilst not the kind of metal which I actively seek out, one of the things I love about reviewing is that I am given bands which I'm not actively looking for - and in the case of Fisthammer, for instance, they turn out to be good.

A solid 7/10.

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