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Hammer King – In The Kingdom of the Hammer King

Hammer King
In The Kingdom of the Hammer King
by Omnius D'Worgen at 13 April 2015, 7:43 AM

The French band HAMMER KING's debut album is a very promising work indeed: A form of hybrid of SWOBHM with the medieval-warriors-singing-along-in-some-tavern vibe of Viking Metal; "In the Kingdom of the Hammer King" has all the goodies you can expect from a record of both genres.

The album starts with a blast, but carries on to show a dynamic range of slower and melodic numbers, while still being driving and very much the hard punching and kicking metal you'd expect from looking at their cover and press photos. Lyrical themes, also unsurprisingly, are mostly valor and heroism, and in listening you'll probably feel that vibe echoing through you conjuring its images in your mind – the true sign of good music, to me.

Amidst the entire album I must point out two songs which are very obviously, to me, the best in the record: "Chancellor of Glory" sports an interesting bass part (quite reminiscent of SAXON's legendary "Crusader") gives way to tasty guitar riffage and great vocals, making it a classic metal-military-march. "II) I Am The Hammer King" is the epitome of the genre to me. Driving and catchy, the kind you find yourself moshing with the walls in your room to while screaming the lyrics at the top of your lungs.

The rhythm section is very tight, and powerful but tasteful, never overdoing their parts. The vocals are spot-on, both with the vocalist himself who seems comfortable with any kind of vocal style and trick he utilizes and with the entire band singing together as a chorus. The guitar solos are great – not very technical or mechanical, which to me means better solos all around.

So let's recap: Powerful guitar riffs to bang your head to? Check. Driving drum grooves? Check. Guitar solos alternately shreddy and slow-emotional-y? Check. Great sing-along choruses? Check! While the album is really fun to listen to, I find it a bit too musically obvious – sometimes too repetitive, and there were only a few musical moves that really surprised. Maybe I'll have those in future releases from those guys – until then I have a new favourite jogging album.

3 Star Rating

1. I) Kingdom of the Hammer King
2. I am The King
3. Aderlass; The Blood of Sacrifice
4. Chancellor of Glory
5.  II) I Am The Hammer King
6. Blood Angels
7. Visions of a Healed World
8. Figure in The Black
9. We Are The Hammer
10. III) Glory to the Hammer King
Titan Fox – Vocals\Guitar
Gino Wilde – Guitar\Choir
K.K. Basement – Bass\Vocals
Dolph A. Macallan – Drums\Choir
Record Label: Cruz Del Sur Music


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Edited 07 February 2023

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