HAMMER KING “KING IS RISING”
November 11th, 2016.
Cruz del Sur Music
Hammer King is German metal band. I say metal, just because it is not easy to determine their sailing course. Some might call it power metal, but still… I would say this is true heavy metal.
The quartet: Titan Fox (vocals, guitars), Gino Wilde (guitars), K.K. Basement (bass) and Dolph A. Macallan (drums) this November deliver us 2ed album “King Is Rising” with 12 brand new songs, through Cruz del Sur Music, Italian label established in 2003. Album is recorded at Charles Greywolf’s “Studio Greywolf” (Charles Wolf, for those who never heard, is Powerwolf bass/guitar player). For the artwork you could blame Timo Würz.
As I already wrote, “King Is Rising” is 2ed album for German band Hammer King. Their debut album “Kingdom Of The Hammer King” (May 8th, 2015 Cruz del Sur Music) got pretty much the same critics in metal circles. Band was accused as Manowar clone, everyone pointed at weak lyrics, but hay! Do not be so cruel for newcomers, do not analyze too much, do not put you own complexes and frustrations into reviews, be objective. If Manowar set one course based on fantasy, swords and sorcery, it does not mean they own every right on it and no one else can even think of writing the music in the same style. I would say, fallowing the same path as Manowar is just a great compliment for both bands, nothing more. At the other hand: is it even possible not to have similar sound, not to be compared with some band after almost 5 decades of metal and thousands and thousands of bands? There is a fan for everyone…
Back to our stars, Hammer King!
“King is Rising”… Lyrics are laning on kings, hammers, battles… If you are the fan of battle hymns, this might be the good choice for you.
I started listening the album and after first riffs I had to check out if I didn’t put Running Wild by some mistake (see, it is not all about Manowar)… But, no. The song is just written in Running Wild style. Good start, melodic, catchy and great one for live shows. Next one “Last Hellriders” reminds me on Stormwarrior (another comparison). Not just the song, but the way Titan Fox sings irresistibly sounds like Lars Ramcke. Again, very catchy chorus. “For God And The King”… Damn! Titan really sounds like reincarnation of Ramcke, or is it the opposite? However, soft voice pleases my ears. What to say? Again that this is really great melodic song with catchy chorus, made for live shows? So, if I will go this way, than I will say that rest of songs are not far behind. “Warriors Reign” starts in slow tempo and the rhythm pushes you to march. Somehow I expected that after slow intro it will crush, but it keeps going slightly. I imagine fans on their show with lighters or whatever thy use today when smoking is forbidden, cell phones, I guess? I never payed attention at gigs at such things. Somehow, I never see fans and their reaction; it is just band and me there. “Reichshammer”, another slow start, but this time it will involve to furious one. Kind of harsh declamation spices the song:
“I hear the screams of pirates somewhere in the night”…
Both: “For God And the King” and “Warriors Reign” can be described in few words: straight gallop and catchy choruses. “Kingbrother” in second half offers high quality guitar work.
“Battle Gorse” raises your pulse again. I won’t say any of my impressions, I will jus quote the Titan Fox:
“The King has always been a fan of Jack Finney’s 1955 novel ‘The Body Snatchers’ and of the 1978 movie version featuring Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy and Jeff Goldblum”. In the song “Battle Gorse” we have similar plants, but being tremendously bigger here. One of the faster paced songs on the albums and certainly quite old-school!”
“Kill the Messenger” invokes some sad memories by the way it is sung and played.
“The Hammer Is The King” is one of those hymns I already mentioned. Even now when I am writing, I can’t stand still. And the album continues with “Viva ‘La King”. Here, the band offers us other dimension of their personality, they are fun, they have a sense of humor. I think I can hear castanets at some point, but please forgive me if I am wrong, don’t you blame me I am German. “Battalions Of War” early Blind Guardian. I just hope you will understand irony in emphasis of comparisons in this review. And let’s finish with “Eternal Tower Of Woe”. At the beginning melody brings me to some Brothers Grimm fairytale, something like: Little Red Riding Hood is whistling in the forest and than her idyll breaks. I should stop with comparisons. Or not?
To resume this album in few words: catchy riffs, choruses, fun to listen and drink a beer or two.
It is not inovative, it is not original, it is not Manowar, but you will enjoy it!