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Hammerhead - The Sin Eater

Hammerhead
The Sin Eater
by VR at 29 December 2016, 5:43 PM

HAMMERHEAD, formed in 1977 in Workington, U.K., was part of the NWOBHM movement in the late 70's and early 80's. The band is made up of members from BITTER HARVEST and JUDAS. They have endured through a lot of changes in band members before settling in on the current line-up. In the year 1981, the band recorded and released a self-financed single called, "Time Will Tell", which was composed by Buzz Elliot. By the year 1987, the band had gotten to a stage where there was no interest from the public, and they soon entered into a state of hiatus. In 1995, Brian Hodgson got the band together in the studio to record a demo, although it would not see the light of day until the year 2005, with overdubs added. The band again goes through a decade of inactivity and in the year 2005, they reformed to play at a friend's birthday. This gig spurs them to enter the studios to record another session with Guy Forrester as their sound engineer. They record the album, "Headonism ", later revised to "Headonizm", at Linden Sounds Studio and released 75 copies in their first run. " SIN EATER " was released in the year 2015 through High Roller Records.

"Angels Fall", the first track of the album, begins with a sitar like melody. It starts off at a slow pace but picks up speed during the course of the song. It is not an ideal first song, but it does contain quite a gnarly riff and a controlled composed lead guitar solo. It highlights Steven Woods vocals wonderfully. Towards the end, the song starts to pick up speed after a slightly slower mid section.

The title track, "Sin Eater", starts off with an acoustic bit, and the song is almost BLACK SABBATH-ish  sounding. A track just over 10 minutes long, it twists and turns its way through varied sounding effects, satisfying guitar solos and some excellent riffs. The song fluctuates between slow acoustic bits and fast galloping riffs and leads.

"Psilocybin", which is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound produced by some species of mushroom, is the final track of the album. Clocking in atover 12 minutes, it can be confused as a Grunge/Alternative song, which is how it starts out. At around the 5-minute mark, the song enters the realm of the psychedelic with strange haunting ghostly laughter. It slowly progresses to a bit of story telling, which if I can make an educated guess, sounds like a drug induced rant with backing music.

HAMMERHEAD enjoys a cult status in the rock world although they have released only 2 studio albums and a bunch of demos and compilations. As part of the NWOBHM, they have been active on the live gig circuit for many years despite almost 2 decades of inactivity and a lot of changes in personnel. As a fan of Heavy music, I am usually dismissive about bands from that era, but HAMMERHEAD surprised me by their melodies. Almost bluesy solos with slow parts thrown in for good measure and commendable vocals, make this album a delight to listen to. Although the sound of the band is steeped in the classic sounds of the NWOBHM era, it  doesn't sound like the work of musicians from that time period at all. The sound is surprisingly fresh and new, poignant and multilayered. The production value is good and it makes for a delightful night of easy listening with some green! I would, for sure, recommend a listen to this album.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Angels fall
2. The Sin Eater
3. Faithless
4. Behind Your Eyes
5. Raindancer
6. Closer To The Grave
7. Psilocybin
Lineup:
Steven Woods - Vocals
Buzz Elliot - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Tony Steel - Drums
Brian Hodgson - Guitars
Steve Archer - Bass
Record Label: High Roller Records
     


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