Well, it’s finally here. After months of harassment by many of our more aggressive commenters, my review of the newest Master’s Hammer record has arrived. Had we received the promo back in May, this TYMHM article would have been a full review. But, just the same, I was more than a little excited to get my hands on Formulæ. And was beyond myself when I received it from Štorm himself. But, how does it stack up against the band’s already stellar back-catalog?
Well, for the most part, it’s pretty fucking good. Which is really no surprise. What is a surprise is that I enjoy it even more than Root‘s Kärgeräs – Return from Oblivion. Root may have dropped an exciting “comeback” album this year, but Formulæ is proof that Master’s Hammer is the more consistent of the two Czech groups. Still, don’t expect Formulæ to top the amazing Jilemnický okultista or The Jilemnice Occultist. Neverthless, Formulæ proves that, even after thirty years, Master’s Hammer continues to create exciting and compelling music.
In general, for those that don’t know the band, Master’s Hammer writes Root-meets-Samael experimental black metal. Which means that’s weird as fuck and has no right being as badass as it is. Be it the straightforward thrash riffs of “Ukolébavka,” the Abbath/Vorph vox of “Den nicoty,” or the weird synths of “Maso z kosmu,” Master’s Hammer are pros at what they do and pros at producing songs filled to the brim with combinations of bizarre elements. Like, “what the fuck is this?” bizarre. But, for fans of the band, the circus-y synths and industrial keys will be music to your ears.
It’s not so much the individual elements that make the music bizarre, but rather, the arrangement of these elements. The result is a bizarro world only Master’s Hammer can create. “Všem jebne” steals a riff straight from Rammstein, “Durga chce pít” uses female vox and the eerie atmospheres of The Vision Bleak, and “Rurální dobro” unleashes some of the most beautiful guitar work the band has ever penned. Chuck in a xylophone on “Biologické hodiny” and spacey synths on “Jazyky” and still, this shit works! “Rurální dobro,” in particular, is an absolute mindfuck. At first, it soothes your soul with acoustic-guitar licks before thrashing you around like a croc’s prey. Formulæ sounds all over the place, but that’s what makes Master’s Hammer so special. Somehow, they are able to mix all this crazy, randomness together to make rounded, well-executed songs.
Unfortunately, the length and production harm Formulæ. These guys may be pros at hour-long epics but for some reason, these fifteen tracks feel too long. Thankfully, the record’s high points makes the low points easy to hurdle. The production though, weakens the overall effect of the record. Its DR5 score doesn’t appear to be a major issue, but the amount of clipping on the disc is remarkable. And not in a good way. Still, I love this album. It may never reach the peak attained by Jilemnický, but it’s still great. Fans and newbies alike should give this Hammer a try.
Tracks to Check Out: “Den nicoty,” “Všem jebne,” “Rurální dobro,” and “Aya”