Monday, February 5, 2018

LP Review: "Unholy Destruction" by HAMMR

Unholy Destruction
In hopes of becoming a fully qualified Black Metal Historian, Lords of Chaos is sitting on my bedside table. Thank you, St. Louis Public Library!

One of the things it has taught to me is that there was a blood hatred between Death Metal and Black Metal. At least that's what we're supposed to believe from Euronymous and Varg Vikernes.

My loyalties have always been on the Death Metal side and not the Black Metal side. Even without knowing that there was an East Coast/West Coast style beef between Oslo and Tampa Bay.

Interestingly enough I chose Death Metal with Kiss and King Diamond being huge favorites of mine. Seems wrong doesn't it? Kind of like how Clark The Canadian Hockey Goalie chose Shortstop and not Catcher.

Thankfully, there's been a truce in my blood. It was just about the Gateway Drug to allow the blackness to enter my soul. Last year, We were able to cover a spectacular Black Metal show featuring some Death Metal.

Since worldview on metal has changed. Before seeing Mayhem in all of their glory, my personal black metal tastes were confined to the American Avant Garde Black Metal Scene.

This record, HAMMR's debut, is American, but it's an American version of Norwegian Black Metal. It's a lot like when I whip up Teriyaki Chicken.

Sure the ingredients are largely the same, but it's not the same thing they're eating in Tokyo, much like how this isn't the same music they made in Oslo.

Americans take innovations from around the globe and Uncle Sam them up a bit. Look at IPAs. India Pale Ales are glorious beers that taste a bit different in the USA than they do in England.


Because we weaponized those beers. Greene King's IPA isn't anything like Stone's IPA and they sure aren't selling an Arrogant Bastard style ale in England.

HAMMR has taken snowy black metal and weaponized it. It's thundering, has guitar solos, and isn't the style of music that was played because a few Scandinavians couldn't compete with Chuck Schuldiner.

Unholy Destruction has the familiar conventions of Scandinavian Black Metal without ever reaching into cliched territory. Sure the songs are inspired by Satan, the photos and cover are in black and white, and the guitars are brittle.

The amazing part is that this never feels like a put on or something he's (did I mention this is a one man band?) trying to fit into.

It's an American love letter to Scandinavia. This record will go perfect with an Imperial India Pale Ale, or barring that a Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch Ale...and Backwoods Bastard is available now...

Release: 2/23/18
Genre: Black Metal
Label: Hell's Headbangers

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