JUDGMENT HAMMER - ARBITER OF FATE (Independent)
(Review by Officer Nice)
A band that was originally named The Four Horsemen? Could it be these guys are Metallica – old style - fanatics? Must be… Anyway I’d like to represent you to Judgment Hammer from Missoula / USA. Looking closer I find out the band seems to be influenced by plenty of eighties Thrash Metal formations and the first spin makes it clear this movement was influencing. Looking at the band’s pictures at their myspace.com page they also look Thrash, just awesome!
I’ve noticed this release a few times before at the Internet and was pleased when the postman left it behind in my mail box. This four piece formation proves once more that Thrash is indeed popular nowadays although Judgment Hammer can’t be named in the same sentence with formations of the new generation of Thrash Metal. Therefore Judgment Hammer sounds far too traditional, just the way I like it anyway…
Musical wise Judgment Hammer can be described as old Metallica (“Kill ‘em All” era), especially in their faster songs. Furthermore I hear Meliah Rage, Defiance and good old Overkill (debut album) in a blender. Add some typical US Power Metal arrangements in between and you must have the perfect idea what Judgment Hammer is all about. The riffs you’ll witness are mostly pure Thrash, the tempo is often not too fast yet they are changing all the time! In the oversaturated Thrash Metal scènefrom nowadays the band will never receive any kind of world domination but let me promise you quality is guaranteed.
What’s remarkable about the band is the length of every song, the shortest one just doesn’t reach the 5 minutes. It makes each single track sound very varied, especially because of the fact plenty of fast fingered solos and twin guitars are in between the powerful arrangements. The sharp dressed riffs, supported by hard hitting basic lines by bass and drums, obey you to bang your head. I don’t hear any exclusively innovations but his is pure Metal, as a matter of fact that’s what this all is about, right?!
This guitar driven mid tempo Power / Thrash Metal is more than enjoyable and made me turn this record several times. Vocal wise Jared Kiess’s clean vocals are good enough to me, nothing exceptional but good enough and similar to for example Mike Munro (Meliah Rage). I just wonder why Jared didn’t use more high screams – they are actually used on this record - to make his vocal lines more variable, making them sound even more Metal…
Plenty of elements that makes us proud on our genre are present right here. I suppose that’s the main reason why every Metal fan should try this one out. Qua song writing Judgment Hammer is variable, without being ultra technical or even Progressive and that’s the main reason why they sound so god damn ‘true’! Slower passages like they are used in “Never Repent”, “Swift Justice” and the fantastic instrumental “Thicker Than Water” fits this album perfectly. They actually proves some good musicians are present right here. The riffs, the rhythms,… hmmm, yes; this sounds good! Aggressive and song-oriented, old school yet technical are the most common words to describe Judgment Hammer… Fans of eighties Metal shouldn’t doubt a slice of a second purchasing this one.
Check them out at http://www.myspace.com/judgmenthammer.
My Points: 82 / 100