Any band that is called Hammercult and has a sophomore album called Steelcrusher is going to get my attention immediately and added to this mix is the fact that they hail from Tel-Aviv, Israel. The corresponding clichéd artwork only confirms that this band are about heavy metal, well so I thought at first as even the opening intro piece “Hymn To The Steel” had me thinking this was denim and leather, fist banging heavy metal with beers raised high, but once said intro pieces ends and we hit the title track that imagery is blown to smithereens as a rapacious glass shattering scream erupts from the speakers and some vitriolic modernised thrash sets about gashing your auditory nerves into submission. Pace is quick on the snare, enough to make your neck muscles scream as the tune chops and changes by adding some aspects of heavy metal, dipping its toes into a very good lead piece. “Metal Rules Tonight” has a fine riff reminiscent of Municipal Waste or Gama Bomb, borderline speed metal but delivered much harsher. The vocals are screamed with gang chant interruptions and even some death metal like growls and grunts added for variety. I wouldn’t say the album has sufficient crossover value to match MW but it’s damn vicious enough, with half blasts creeping into the songs sporadically.
As with a lot of this reversion to old school style thrash and crossover the one liner barked lyrics are easy to follow on the chant sections, but Yakir’s screams are not easy on the ear to say the least much like the outbursts on Battlecross albums. “We Are The People” has a good melodic start with double kick adding density before a quirky virtually harmonised lead filters through, more of which adorns the start of “Ironbound” in an older In Flames style, only to be beaten to one side by the adjustment in pace and alternating growls and screams. This is a good song, incorporating a lot of styles and one that you’ll either love or despise due to it, personally I liked it a lot. More macho bruising on “Unholy Art” follows with MW still reining heavily but also Toxic Holocaust creeping in too. Now “Satanic Lust” begins cheesily with the line ‘Do I look like a slut?’ and moves into the realms of dirty speed and heavy metal like Inepsy, Motorhead (obviously) and Speedwolf, but this is the only track like this. I don’t know about you but I have mental clocks on how long albums should be for different genres and this style should be about 35 minutes, 40 tops but this goes fractionally beyond that and boredom can creep in when the songs blend within each other and the pace is similar throughout, which isn’t to say the band ran out of ideas, but some could have gone on an EP for later release with maybe a couple of covers. As it stands Hammercult have a second album chock full of powerhouse riffs such as the one on “Damnation Arise” that would sit easily on a Gama Bomb album and one of their tours, hint guys.
(8.5/10 Martin Harris)