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HexenHammer - Underground (Reissue)

Underground (Reissue)
by MarcusTheRocker at 26 August 2015, 9:59 PM

When you first start out in a band, the first thing you naturally do is, of course, record demos to grab the attention of a label so they can sign you. But what if say demos are all you record, and you suddenly split up a few years after forming, only having written and recorded demos? What about that material you spent ages working on with your own blood, sweat and tears? It’s going to go left collecting dust in a vault and probably never seeing the light of day ever again.

That would change obviously, if a label, who mainly reissues lost or out of print recordings, found your works and decided to re-master it and then re-release it onto the world so everyone could hear your lost tapes, which is exactly the case for today’s band, HEXENHAMMER.

Formed in 1987 in the USA, this quintet of Speed/Thrash Metallers recorded a total of 4 demos between the years 1989 and 1990 before suddenly disappearing from the music scene, altogether without a trace, therefore causing their band status to read split up on the internet today.

Since they disappeared, no one has heard or seen anything to do with this band, and the same is said for the demos they recorded. That changed this year when Heaven And Hell Records somehow managed to get their hands on the bands lost recordings and decided to re-master and re-release it for the first time in years.

The demo they chose to release was the last one HEXENHAMMER recorded, which is “Underground”, originally released in 1990 but made available properly for the first time a quarter of a century after it was originally recorded/released. The 9-song demo clocks in at around 59 minutes across 9 tracks and already I have complaints.

Where do I even begin this one? For starters, yes I know it’s a demo, so yes, the quality is going to be a bit rough when you listen to it, but for something that is supposed to be “remastered”, I expected it to sound a bit better and I expected it to sound more punchy and heavy.

On the other hand, even if the quality of the re-mastering was a bit better, I’d still find myself disliking it, as the songs are not for me, as they seem to focus too much on being savage, aggressive and heavy, which wouldn’t be a bad thing if you could actually hear and make out any music in the recording, but here you cannot, so that’s why it’s a total let down.

Apply the above to the vocals too, as I cannot make sense of anything the vocalist is trying to say or sing in the music. Coupled with the savage and aggressive performance of the band, along with the cheap production on the demo recordings and the track lengths, which can be long and boring at times, these things only add more un-enjoyment to the listening experience, as this is something I did not enjoy listening to and was quickly turned off after the first third of the album.

Bottom line, the re-released final demo recordings of HEXENHAMMER are not something I can take a liking to, as yes, I do know the quality of the recordings are to be expected what with them being demos and all, but I have heard better sounding demos than this and the musical style of their songs is not for me either, so as a result, I can’t say this is something I enjoyed.

0 Star Rating

1. Fear
2. Hatred Within
3. I’m Alive
4. Princess of the Grave
5. Invasion (The Victims and the Vanquished)
6. Dominate
7. The Untouchables
8. Cryptographik
9. Witching Hour
Ronnie Dean - Vocals, Lead Guitars
Gene Davis - Rhythm Guitars, Backing Vocals
Doug Williams - Bass
John McLain - Drums
Record Label: Heaven and Hell Records


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