If you woke up this morning and realized you wanted to party like it’s 1983-1985 but think the throwback scene is ripe for a vicious culling of posers, have Deathhammer got a record for you: it’s called Evil Power and it’s quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in 2015. For those of you who missed these guys the first two times around, the third time is the charm because it’s their best effort yet.
It would be easy to call Evil Power a classic Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction worship record, but that doesn’t adequately cover it. Playing a mix between those bands’ earliest works and Show No Mercy era Slayer while simultaneously trying to be speed metal on steroids, Deathhammer pull absolutely zero punches and go for the throat eight times in a row. While the dynamic duo of Sergeant Salsten and Sadomancer succeed one hundred percent of the time, I’d think it’s actually their throats that take the most damage in the savage poser hunt. For those unfamiliar with the vocal stylings of Deathhammer, picture Ventnor trying to give himself laryngitis in the studio with Tom Araya cutting in frequently with those iconic screams he tragically abandoned after South of Heaven.
Given how every damn song is a highlight, it seems almost wrong to diminish how good the remaining tracks are by focusing on just a few. “Sinner’s Possession” slows things down a little bit to a lively mid-paced jog that makes old Metallica more extreme, which means that it’s catchy as the plague and has great riffs galore. Lead single “Satan is Back” flat-out rules and shows Deathhamer‘s knack for crafting earworms while getting the speed-thrash hybrid so right it’s absurd. “Total Metal” lives up to its name wonderfully with a legitimately great nonsense solo that reminds us why we love Slayer‘s best chaotic axe work, vocals that seem to be perpetually trying to outrun the guitars, and a blistering character that gives the great riffs within even more potency.
Special attention should be paid to the production and performances here, as they sound both old-school and authentic to the core. Evil Power‘s raw production is perfect in its own right, because there’s absolutely no other way I can picture Deathhammer‘s music being showcased. This is largely due to the performance of Sarge and Sadomancer; remember how the particularly speedy parts of Agent Orange saw Chris Witchhunter’s drums audibly straining a bit to keep up because of how damn fast some of it was? Evil Power recaptures that, and even the guitars feel like they’re going to completely drop the ball sometimes. They never do of course, but it gives Deathhammer a frothing at the mouth intensity that’s hard to deny and insanely fun.
Deathhammer have made a kick-ass fort out of poser skulls and we’re all invited to celebrate inside. Best served at high volume, Evil Power is teeming with great riffs, over-the-top vocals, and bristling with energy. If you missed it when it was unleashed earlier this year, do yourself a favor and don’t make the same mistake twice.
Tracks to Check: “Satan is Back”, “Powertrip”, “Omen of the Beast”, “Total Metal”.