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Hammerstar - Hammerstar Award winner

by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 08 November 2022, 2:04 PM

As the USA felt the coming of acts as MOTÖRHEAD and JUDAS PRIEST along with NWOBHM legions, there was a kind of response, as a new generation of North American bands started to follow the same musical tendency. But along with it, it’s usual to recognize the influences of North American acts as BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, RIOT, ELF, VAN HALEN, KISS, THE RODS and others in the scene, creating the embryo of what one can label as US Metal. In the first half of the 80’s, acts as BITCH, OMEN, RUTHLESS, GRIFFIN, METAL CHURCH, ATTACKER, LIZZY BORDEN, ARMORED SAINT, VICIOUS RUMORS, ATTACKER, MALICE, HELSTAR, JAG PANZER and countless others came to set the foundations of the North American scene along with Thrash Metal and Glam Metal bands. So the quartet HAMMERSTAR has a strong inheritance to deal with, and their first release, the full length “Hammerstar”, is here to show what they’re up to.

As mentioned above, the quartet is a US Metal act, or in other words, the way that is common for traditional Heavy Metal acts of the USA to play: heavy and aggressive, but using a clear set of catchy melodies (again: early Hard Rock and North American acts of the 70’s have a crush on the scene of the country) and a refined (but never exaggerated) technical insight. The same old and good formula of the 80’s, but in a form that sounds alive, actual, full of energy and very good. If you’re an 80’s Metalhead, this album is for you, but if you’re not, it’s for you as well. The sonority of “Hammerstar” is very good, trying to mix the organic feeling of the past with the definition required by modern technologies. And proving that things are a matter of playing and not of the sonority, they got a fine result, after all: one can understand what’s being played, but with a strong ‘rehearsal’ feeling that fills the songs (which means that the instrumental tunes could be better).

As it’s obvious for those that know deeply what US Metal is about, the core influences of JUDAS PRIEST and MOTÖRHEAD that are into the genre transpires on “Hammerstar”. And for the delight of the fans, songs as “Heart of Stone” (a heavy and melodic song filled with NWOBHM influences on the works of bass guitar and drums), “Power of Metal” (a perfect balance between weight and melodic hooks, with very good ‘halfordian’ vocals and backing vocals), “Midnight Ride” (a fast song plenty of Hard Rock and Glam Rock influences, and what great guitar riffs collection is shown on this one), “Burned Alive” (very good abrasive melodies, with a slow insight on the tempos), “Soul Reaper” (a typical US Metal song, heavy and melodic in the same proportions, with an accessible touch in some moments), “Divide and Conquer” (a very good song with some guitars that are amazing on the solos), and the climatic “What Have I Become” are here, alive and blowing as a Metal storm.

What are you waiting for, after all? Dive into “Hammerstar” and praise the quartet as they deserve!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Heart of Stone
2. Power of Metal
3. Midnight Ride
4. Burned Alive
5. Path of the Brave
6. Soul Reaper
7. Rise Above the Skies
8. Divide and Conquer
9. Hymn of the Viking
10. What Have I Become
Quimby Lewis - Vocals
Johnny Frankenshred - Guitars
Robbie Erwin - Bass
Atomic Tommy Higgins - Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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