IX Review (Metal Harem)

Well, every now and then we’ll need a new blood, a newcomer for metal. This time, I picked Hamerex as our ‘introduction of band’. They actually had been around since 2004 though, lead by guitarist Steve Blower. In 2012 a full debut album was released and today, “IX” is their second album. Now, do you believe that in the last decade, heavy metal had gone too technical. New band are crafting heavy metal music solely because they able to play technically difficult riffs and solos. This approach led metal into a risk for being ‘soul-less’, being just a genre of music with technical skill similar to sports. Album “IX” was not in that case. I do not mean that the Hamerex dudes can’t do technical stuffs, but it is for sure this album’s strength is not its shreds parts or blasting drums. The guitar playing was actually simple. The drumming, also simple. Even the changes of themes in their ‘composition’ are simple. In short, IX, is a simple heavy metal album.

Of course now, can you make good music if everything gone simple? Yes, they can. In a positive word, they use a natural rhythms and melodies that spontaneous flows in. And that is their strength. The first track is in fact, an instrumental.  Do not expected mind blowing solos, this is an instrumental that feel really ancient compared to nowadays standard. It is clear that the influence on the track IX Circles was Iron Maiden earlier day instrumental tracks such as Transylvania or The Ides of March, except minus Dave Murray’s sweet melodies. In fact, the band did have Iron Maiden’s The Wickerman as one of their repertoire, so conclusion, the influence is strong. The Life of Death is also sounds really Jurassic era, with intrigue riffs to start with. The song is just build from simple riffs, we then meet the vocal that has a characters as slightly growl, now it does sounds good and metal by the way. The song quickly give us the feel that although the beat is rather flat, they do have enough chances of chord progression that make it interesting. Again, the solos was not mean to blow your mind, it just … raw. Inferno is also begin with easy to learn riffs. This song rather over-repeated, they have a good theme but just gone too long. The chances between intro-riff into 2nd theme and then the slow-bass-line theme has potentials. Good news is, started from Edge of Madness, the song begin to improve. This song have a good NWOBHM vocal line. The Extremist is their heaviest so far, this time a bit of punk-ish feel. Then Mortuary, which is very vintage feel with almost no hint that we are listening to 2013 year of metal. The Stranger is something excellent, which is a success in connecting the intro riffs into the song naturally.  Descent of Angels is a bit too generic, least appealing track perhaps. Now, if you eat my words that this album is simple, The Night of Samhain is their most ‘progressive’ track. Runs in 11 minutes now it’s the time to do some tricks. Addition of strings give this song kind of hybrid between Iron Maiden and Queensrÿche, really.

Since they are only a single guitarist band, band mate bassist Andy Firth enjoy his a good time fronting his bass line in great manner for each song. Darren Kelsall drumming is only as simple as it needed. Chris Moules as singer is their best attractions, his vocal got the potentials. The sounds of this album , however, just too raw. The sounds simply “made in garage” style. Which is to be honest, got nothing to do with the quality of their music, in fact those who are sound purist will love their sounds. Hamerex  “IX” is a promising second released. Listen to this album a couple of times, the music will easily sink and memorable. Keep an eyes of them.

Metal Harem class: Top Newcomer of 2013

Metal Harem

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