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Hammerschmitt – Dr. Evil Award winner

Hammerschmitt
Dr. Evil
by Rachel Montgomery at 13 August 2019, 11:30 PM

HAMMERSCHMITT is releasing its sixth studio album this September, “Dr. Evil”, their first since 2011. With new production quality, the album delivers some hard-hitting tracks in a creative and unique way.

We open with the title track setting the tone of the album with 80s production, down-tuned guitars and stylized, gravelly vocals. It’s a solid opener and a good song. My one problem is the title. While it’s supposed to inspire doom and gloom, everyone who was alive in the 90s will think of the “Austin Powers” villain. It’s a tonal disconnect for me due to nostalgia, and I can’t stop imagining Mike Myers in a bald cap saying “100-billion dollars” with his signature pinky on his lip.

Restart Your Fire” is in a lower key, has some nice vocalization but can be a mixed bag when the chorus comes along. Like the last song, it’s fist-pumping, anthemic and done in an 80s style. It employs some soaring elements, which were a pleasure to hear, particularly the legato-sounding chorus.

Say My Name” is a slower song for the first minute, and it utilizes some good drum rolls. I don’t think the gravelly vocals are suited for a slow song, which is why I’m glad they sped it up later.

Fly” is easily my favorite song on the album and where the album starts to get great for me. I love the chorus and how it comes together with the main riff, backup vocals and instrumentals to create this invigorating, soaring masterpiece. It’s intense, it lifts you up emotionally, and when I hear a song that invokes flying or soaring in any way, that is what I want to hear!

War” starts with a steady bassline and as the music picks up in a trudging, heavy anthem, it becomes clear how good the band is at emoting; the last song wasn’t just a one-off. The hard drums invoke a march, and the down-tuned guitars work well here to make this sound like a dirge. The narration before the chaotic, fiery guitar solo works to really hit the theme home.

Metalized” hits faster and harder than the other songs on the album, utilizing machine-gun guitars and a syncopated vocal start. I’m not a fan of the falsetto in the verses, and I don’t know how to feel about the chanting in the chorus. I enjoyed the frenzied guitars after the chorus and in the guitar solo and how the contrasted with the steadier songs on the album.

Saints of Rock” is a hard-hitting call and response song with more operatic vocals and less grit. It would be a good opening for a concert due to the lyrical content and the energizing melody. The harmonies in the guitar solo are fantastic. The soaring riffs, and higher, climbing vocal register give this song a heavenly ascension, a reverent feel that I haven’t heard in this style of Power Metal.

Tonight” starts with a solid bass riff that leads into a great guitar riff that builds into the vocals: gravelly during the verses and more operatic in the chorus. The soaring is intense and it’s a great jam. The sliding notes into the guitar solo create a wonderful segue and the climbing melodies are good.

Living Dead” sounds upbeat, like it was written in a major key. I got my resident musician to double-check – it’s actually in A-flat minor. The galloping guitars are great and evoke a run-away theme. The croaky vocals, which I think would’ve been a bit much on another track, are a great fit for the lyrics. At first, I wished this were taken down or written in a scarier-sounding key, but after learning about the key it was written in, I think it was a good blend of high-paced upbeat and creepy downbeat.

The broken chords in “Unreal” break into an intense first verse which gives way to this bombastic chorus. The one thing I didn’t like about the song was the reverberating guitar solo; I think it weakened it. Overall, the song wasn’t a standout for me, despite the intensity. “Lost in Gods”, is more of a standout, and I loved the Viking theming of it. The intro is a rumbling riff and the operatic chorus bring to mind a Valhalla/Viking Metal song. I wish the narration were more stylized, though.

The same cannot be said for the closing song. Here, the band takes a completely different direction, starting us off with pianos and violins. Unlike the last slow song, the gravelling vocals are a boon as they play into the song’s themes of despair. It shows a different side of the band and works as a memorable closer.

I love being pleasantly surprised. I’m not a big fan of American-style Power Metal, it mostly sounds like NWBHM to me, but this band awed me with their intensity, clever stylings, and while it sounded very 80s, it had character and intensity which set it apart for me.

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

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Dr. Evil
2. Restart Your Fire
3. Say My Name
4. Fly
5. War
6. Metalized
7. Saints of Rock
8. Tonight
9. Living Dead
10. Unreal
11. Lost in Gods
12. End of Time
Lineup:
Ben – Vocals
Gernot – Guitars
Summi – Guitars
Armin – Bass
Steve – Drums
Record Label: Massacre Records
     


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Edited 25 August 2019
 

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