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Deathhammer - Chained to Hell Award winner

Deathhammer
Chained to Hell
by Chris Hawkins at 24 September 2018, 2:45 PM

Music is an arm of art, and like all great art, the bottom line is atmosphere.  One may see a brother in arms with an IN SOLITUDE patch, but, being that both of you are at a SLIPKNOT show, the camaraderie is less than zero.  When these two Norwegians calling themselves DEATHHAMMER set out in the year 2005 to do was to have their musical project convey the mysticism and air of 1980s Proto Thrash and Speed Metal.  My initial reaction upon hearing the band was that it sounded as if VENOM had started their musical journey built upon the burgeoning Speed Metal born out of JUDAS PRIEST’s “Exciter”.  Those may seem like big words, but even Fenriz digs this band.  Could a band want any more solid Metal support?

Chained to Hell” is the band’s fourth full-length and appears courtesy of über label Hells Headbangers.  When the album opens up, the immediate vibe is something that could only be described as Satanic Biker Metal.  “Rabid Maniac Force” is the title of the opener and is beyond fitting.  The low fi production yields a successful representation of raw headbanging fury.  In some ways, one could also see this track as being a possible early SLAYER tune.  “Show No Mercy” is a very different record that the remainder of that band’s catalog and could be a point of reference for the vibe of this tune.  In fact, there are a great number of bands flying through my head as I listen to this while I type that remind me of this atmosphere.  That is not to say, though, that DEATHHAMMER are operating from the playbook of someone else’ success for this is all the while a very unique and clever experience.

The second track, “Satans Hell,” is set upon by more fast picking a blistering speed.  Again, the raw 1982 vibe is omnipresent.  One envisions the band all playing while doused with gasoline and lit aflame effectively punking Nikki Sixx from the “Looks that Kill” video.  “Threshold of Doom,” the fourth track excels despite the under-production.  The sheer articulation of each riff is apparent in the recording throughout.  This particular exercise again invokes a plausible SLAYER situation but only as a certain framework.  The band exists as out of time for while listening, one cannot help but have visions of classic Metal days filled with pentagrams set ablaze and bacchanalian rites held with rabid revelry.

Speaking of burning pentagrams, the sixth track is conveniently titled “Into the Burning Pentagram”.  One cannot be blamed for instantly thinking of SAMAEL in their heyday, but that track was just about a plain pentagram.  This one burns!  DEATHHAMMER engage in their own magical ritual with this daring track.  The song seems to have its own agenda of marvel as the riffs adventurously seem to be seeking a place of Metal enlightenment.

Back to atmosphere, this album successfully nails it.  The production is not “bad,” but rather gives the effect of listening to one of those classic 1980s cassette tapes, particularly the effect of Extreme Metal.  The band have effectively taken the template and broken the mold creating their own brand of Evil Speed Thrash.  This is all about leather jackets, Lemmy, Cronos, Tom Warrior, and an infinite amount of burning pentagrams.  The vibe is there, the riffs are there, and the end result is a smoking album that exists in and out of time, for all time.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 8


 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Rabid Maniac Force
2. Satans Hell
3. Black Speed Inferno
4. Threshold of Doom
5. Tormentor
6. Into the Burning Pentagram
7. Chained to Hell
8. Evil
Lineup:
Seargent Salsten – Guitars, Bass, Vocals
Sadomancer– Drums, Guitars, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Hells Headbangers
     


Rating

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Edited 19 October 2018
 

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