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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews


Hammer of Justice

Review by Gary Hill

This new CD from Thor comes with a documentary on DVD. The music on the CD has a good range between old-school metal and punk driven sound. There are a couple tunes where I can't really take the vocals, but the music makes one of those worthwhile. There are some seriously shining moments on the disc, too. The documentary showcasing where Thor is as an artist is quite cool. It has lots of interview segments, vintage stuff, concert footage and more. I think that it's probably worth the price of admission by itself. You just happen to get some good songs on CD to go with it.

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Track by Track Review
Beginning of the End
The guitar sound that brings this in has a real classic metal sound. The tune is screaming hot. As the vocals join, this feels very much like something from the NWOBHM era. The chorus is a powerhouse anthemic one. This is a great opener.
Warp 5000
There is a real punk edge to this. The cut is raw and fierce. The guitar solo is kind of an explosion of craziness. This song is not subtle, nor is intricate. It's a blast of fury.
Return of the Thunderhawk
This lands somewhat between the first two songs. It's furious and has an anthemic chorus. There is a raw edge to it, too. The guitar soloing is a bit more nuanced than that on the last number, though. NWOBHM is a valid reference point here.
This is not subtle, but is more complex than some of the other stuff here. There is less of a raw edge, too. There are elements of thrash and hardcore punk built into this, too. The guitar soloing gets into more technical zones.
As the Dragon Flies
This comes in as a mellower, more melodic rock tune. There is some involved drumming in the backdrop, but musically it has almost a jazzy, balladic vibe. As it approaches the minute-and-a-half-mark there is a shift to weird, metal bit. From there it works out to the song proper, but with more of a powered up arrangement.
It's Our Right
Another raw punk metal type piece, this is mean.
Beyond the Wall
This doesn't lose any of the metallic fury, but it has a lot more melody and nuance built into it.
I love the fierce guitar riffing on this thing. The cut has a mean, driving grind. It's fierce metal that works particularly well. In fact, this is one of my favorites here.
Hammer of Justice
I like the opening grind of this a lot. As the vocal section kicks in the cut becomes a vaguely punky metal stomper. The vocal arrangement on this is a bit awkward, but the guitar solo is just plain mean. I have to say that I'd probably skip this tune.
Another that's rough around the edges in terms of the vocal arrangement, this might almost land in the zone of "skip it," too. If you can get past the vocals, though, there are some intriguing almost prog metal approaches that lean toward space rock. I dig the killer instrumental section later. It's suitably twisted and crazed.
The End
The bass opens this cut. The vocals bring a bit of a punk meets metal edge as they join over the top of the rhythm section. Some guitar rises up with an almost hardcore edge dancing around in the backdrop after a time. The cut screams out gradually from there. The song is raw, but also very cool. There are some particularly cool guitar fills here. It shifts almost towards a metal Doors sound after the two-and-a-half-minute mark for a time. A particularly meaty guitar solo ends it.
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