IX Review (Chainmail Metal Reviews)

“IX” is the second album from Wakefield based Heavy Metal band Hamerex, who have kept the flame burning for old-school British metal for a good 9 years now, and their experiences and the skills they have gained are all on show with this excellent new release.
With atmospheric whispers that send a chill through the spine, “IX Circles” is a haunting and heavy opener to the album, with keyboards and groove laden guitar and basslines. The song leads into the heads down rocker “Life Of Death” which combines Megadeth style guitar riffs with Maiden harmonies and a proper ballsy singer, the likes of which Metal has not seen in far too long. He belts out the vocal parts but does so in a tuneful way without going off key, a very skilled metal vocalist indeed.

The album has a very “80s” attitude, with lots of riffs setting the tone from the get-go. Various styles from Thrash to NOWBHM to a bit ofProgressive Metal are covered here, all with the personal touch of the band themselves. Songs like “The Night Of Samhain” showcase this perfectly, with lots of changes in mood and sound that really drive the song onwards with epic choruses and stabbing riffs with lots of synths and prog-stylechords, reminiscent of bands like Dream Theater, but channelled through a British perspective.

The band is full of great and passionate musicians, with Steve Blower on guitars bringing blistering riffs, solos and some intense backing vocals. A very competent player with a lot of classic metal style. Chris Moules on vocals is one of my favourites on the scene, and having played with them live back in February, I can assure you pulls it off live too. He has the ability to really belt out aggressive sounding vocals but he can also reign it in and sing cleaner when the songs require it. A really dynamic and interesting vocalist!

Andy Firth brings a very “Geezer Butler meets Steve Harris” vibe to the mix, with a lot of grooving basslines played with a high level of precision, and he is quite an active guy on stage too! Darren Kelsall brings a nice hard hitting attitude with his drumming, reminding me of an 80s Lars Ulrich but with a British edge.

What is great about Hamerex is that they don’t stick to just one approach. Songs like “The Extremist” and “Edge Of Madness” bring a Thrash element to the mix whilst songs like “The Mortuary” remind me of a much heavier Queensryche or Dio. “The Stranger” is also an amazing song, with a very “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” feel that then takes a completely different turn into pianos and acoustic guitars with powerful lead guitar.
One of the big standout tracks for me, along with “The Night Of Samhain” is the closer of the album, “Still The Wall Remains” with an emotional acoustic intro that opens out into something very much like Bruce Dickinson’s solo material with some really nice vocal passages, really nicely recorded too. The chorus powers through with multi-layered vocals that really bring the message of the song home.

Overall, this is a massive leap above the previous album “Rites of Passage” for me, which was already a great release. The production values have been upped compared to previous releases and everything is nice and audible, the vocal sound in particular stands out, with great sounding reverb in use on very well recorded takes.

The album is being released as a digipak and looks fantastic, the artwork is really reminiscent of an 80s metal band’s art, and is beautifully done, as a whole the package looks fantastic!

These guys are definitely worth your time, they have spent a lot of time crafting their material and they play live a hell of a lot too. This album will definitely please you if you are a fan of proper British heavy metal.

The second album from Hamerex ‘IX’ will be released on Monday 7th October 2013 on IX Music and Code7 Distribution.

Check out Hamerex at: https://www.facebook.com/hamerex?fref=ts

10/10

Dan Mailer
Chainmail Metal Reviews
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