Hammerheart Records Sampler


MARK: 90/100



18 tracks to introduce us to the latest releases from the Dutch record house.
We start with the very good death/thrashers Mercenary, displaying a successful gothic refrain and mix of hard and melodic guitars.
Then we have Satariel, more growl-oriented death metal than the previous label cohorts; valid massive riffs and some evocative parts, both as to vocals and music.
Morifade play Power metal, own classically '80's style keyboards and rhythms, indeed quite close to the early Helloween. Their song is excellent and their performance definitely involving.
Stockholm's top band Necrophobic follows, their death metal is the best come out in 2002 and prob'ly in the last 3 years.
Demons of Dirt are the European answer to the unreachable Pantera; not bad, yet too dependent on the mother band.
Sinister shouldn't be anyone's surprise. Their particular female gutturaled death metal has remained wonderfully interesting for all these years, and that's a reason more to put your trust on this Dutch act.
Class-gothic is the term I'd use to describe Divercia; they haven't sold their asses, even if their commercial potential is high, also thanks to a precise singer, who has the gift of a delightful voice, though in my own conceit they lack mordent.
Internecine play a kind of death metal a bit stale, but at the second listening you'll realize they're an appreciable enough band.
The scarcest and most boring combo is here represented by Primordial; their genre is as hard to define as bad; there're some black guitars, some vocal stuff is extreme, other evocative; although there's a nice middle break, that's not enough to save'em from my merciless scythe.
Oh, what a gorgeous track Blood Red Throne have chosen for the sampler; this is actually one of the best old school death metal compositions I've heard for awhile, in the de-luxe vein of Malevolent Creation (sorry, if it's little for you).
A band who can sell tons of CD's is Danse Macabre. Their '80's generation gothic may have lots of success not only in the German clubs and fans' CD players, and here we have the "Danse Macabre Lonely Puppet Mix", gifted with great vocals and electro elements.
Along with Necrophobic follows the 2nd most interesting (death) band of this group, Severe Torture; they're the most guttural and violent, and of course to achieve such 'stellar' levels they must as well have super arrangements, riffs, lyrics, production, besides the fact they play damn fast and well. I bow to you, masters of Dutch ultra brutal death metal, and your previous CD "Feasting on Blood" has become one of the most friendly backgrounds for my job reviews newly.
New to my ears are Thyrfing, thou their remarkable Scandinavian metal is not so new; as a matter of fact they can be defined followers of the current started by the Swedish Vintersorg.
I recommend you Thyrfing's new CD, "Vansinnensvisor".
Later one meets the incisive Carpe Tenebrum, notable band, even if I can't avoid thinking that each member of them must have their houses full of Morbid Angel's icons, large candles and posters all over, and a rich collection of the '80's/'90's death metal masterpieces.
A sort of joyous Folk-metal is what is played by Cruachan, including female vocals. Not bad, professional, but not heavy enough for me.
Rebaelliun belong to the same school of several other Brazilian ensembles like Abhorrence, who like to dash our faces with a hammering death metal, built on an unstoppable drum attack, fierce sharp guitarworks, and an alternation between angry and growling vocals. Quite interesting and to keep your eyes on.
The only demo-version of a song is here given by Impious's "Dead Eyes Open", Swedish death metal enriched by well thought time changes.
Hagalaz' Runedance close this compilation with a song featuring bagpipes, persuasive, epic and whispered female chants, as well as a ritual drumming bringing us to the Viking Middle Ages. Needless to say a couple of listenings to them can help you before waging a do-or-die battle.

In conclusion this is a complete collection of 79:42; musically Hammerheart couldn't do any better, but next time it'd be fine if one would find a separated list of the bands' discographies.