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Hammerhead - Destroyer

by Metal Wim at 20 November 2021, 8:53 PM

HAMMERHEAD is one of those forgotten NWOBHM bands from the North of England that I have had the pleasure of seeing live in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 2015 at Brofest, the best NWOBHM festival series I've ever attended; and I even got the free 7” record of that show when I visited Brofest in 2016. If you wish to experience how they played back then just click on the YouTube link you will find below. The first thing that is quite obvious is that these guys are of the simple approach, they let the music do the talking. They don't try to impress by having a show attitude, but through sheer, proper musicianship.

“Destroyer” is actually a compilation album. The first six tunes are demo songs, and that is very obvious when you listen to them. The sound is very clear, but also extremely basic. I do think it is fitting, as this adds to the atmosphere of listening to one of the authentic NWOBHM bands. Like I mentioned, HAMMERHEAD doesn't do difficult, they refrain from playing more notes a minute than the next band and quite frankly avoid very fast songs. They pace themselves from quite slow to mid tempo and a lot of the riffs and vocal lines have that air of familiarity over them. What that does is make it very easy to remember what's coming and you find yourself humming or even singing along to for example “Devil’s Soldier” and “Crying As I Fall”.

Some will say that this makes HAMMERHEAD predictable, I would rather say dependable or even accessible. You know what you're going to get when you listen. The numbers 7 and 8, “Time Will Tell” and “Lonely Man”, are from the 7” single, and sound a lot better. Yes,they still sound old fashioned, but with a better sound and mix. “Time Will Tell” is a humdinger of a great track, while “Lonely Man” is also very impressive, as it has that vibe that makes it into a classic.

“Lochinvar” appears on this album twice. The first time it's in between the demo songs. The second version is taken of the compilation album “It's Unheard Of”. That title is very apt, as I haven't, until now that is. Again, this has quite a proper production which is still rooted in the late seventies and early eighties. And again HAMMERHEAD show the ability to produce a great song. A worthy one to finish off this compilation album.

Like I said, HAMMERHEAD is about simple but effective songs. They write and play them well. Do notice though that they need to grow on you. Please give them that time and you'll find that “Destroyer” is quite a good album. Not earth shattering, but very pleasurable. And if that rings true, go through their back catalogue. There's more to find than initially meets the eye.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Lonely Man
2. Devil’s Soldier
3. Lochinvar
4. Second Best (BJ Special)
5. Crying as I Fall
6. I’ll Be Back
7. Time Will Tell
8. Lonely Man
9. Lochinvar
Brian Hodgson – Vocals, Guitar
Buzz Elliot - Guitar
Steve Archer – Bass
Tony Steel - Drums
Record Label: High Roller Records


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