Do you remember the old days, when you could buy a 6-pack of cheap beer for 99 cents with your fake ID, sneak it into your bedroom, and then put an 8-track tape of Motorhead into your stereo? Most of you are probably too young to remember the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), which spread out internationally in the early 1980’s, to help boost metal music out of the creative rut that it was in. Hamerex seems to be a NWOBHM retro band and they also hail from Great Britain. The album title, The Lycan, means the werewolf.
The first track, Aftershocks Of death, starts with an intro resembling that on the song “Am I Evil?” by Diamond Head. After that, the song sounds like Di’anno era Iron Maiden. In fact the first 3 songs on this 4 track EP, were built on a template of early Iron Maiden song structures. What vocalist Chris Moules lacks in range, he makes up for with his emphatic yelling melodies. He’s got a strong voice and it works well with this music. The string section is domineered by the bass plucking of Andy Firth, whose approach sounds a lot like that done by Steve Harris with Iron Maiden. I wouldn’t have known that there are 2 guitarists playing on these first 3 songs, just by listening to the music. The guitars need to stand out more, with a much stronger presence, with guitar leads that actually lead, and dominate their music. They also need to develop some stunningly intense guitar solos that hit the fans like a smashing blow over the top of the head or a swift kick in the ass.
The final track on this EP is Desert Skies. This song stands apart from the first 3 tracks and seems to serve as a grand finale, because it’s a much better song than the preceding presentations. It’s a song that finally shows off some really nice guitar arrangements. There are a lot of very flashy guitar leads that bear a striking resemblance to the guitar style of Ritchie Blackmore. The song sounds a lot like post-Dio era Rainbow.
Two of these 4 songs were also on a couple of their previous releases, but I have a hunch that they were probably re-recorded on this production. The Headless Horseman also appears on their 2008 demo, “If It’s Too Loud, You’re Too Old”. The song Desert Skies also appears on their previous EP, Into War. Why have they only written 2 new songs for this release? I recommend that these lads take on some homework assignments, in the way of song writing, to help boost the band out of the creative rut that it is in. Bands with this approach are a dime a dozen, so they’ve got to figure out a way to stand out, unless they want to sound like another Iron Maiden tribute band. This release doesn’t offer anything unique or ground breaking, but it’s still an enjoyable listen, with its toe tapping, and head bouncing rhythms.
Spirit of Metal