The Last Ride Review (Black Phoenix Rising)

Hamerex – The Last Ride (IX Music)

Genre – Classic/Thrash/Melodic Metal

Available – CD and Digi Download here for £3

Released – 16 March 2015

Track Listing;

1. Calm Before The Storm/Natures Wrath
2. Ride On Ruin
3. Reign Of Fire
4. Apophis

Hamerex are a 4 piece Heavy Metal band from Wakefield. They have been in existence since 2004 and have a number of demos, EPs and 2 albums in their catalogue. 2014 saw the departure of vocalist Chris Moules and has led to some cabinet reshuffling. Steve Blower now takes over on vocals, Andy Firth has moved from Bass to second guitar and Simon Brooks joins the band on Bass. Darren Kelsall remains on the skins.
The Last Ride is the latest EP to be released by the band while they are working on the next full length album which may be ready for early 2016.

The EP opens up with my absolute favourite track, Calm Before The Storm/Natures Wrath. There is so much to enjoy from the eerie, gentle guitar opening to all out Thrash attack, which I think sums up the song title. When the riffs come they are bursting with melody, laced with menace and accompanied by deep bass lines and ferocious skin work. The surprise package is Steve’s vocal. If I were to vocalise a classic NWOBHM sound then for the most part this would be it, but there’s more. The range is quite wide and at times Steve sounds like Dickinson on the Dance of Death and A Matter of Life and Death albums (cue Out of the Shadows). The song is an epic coming in at 8 and a quarter minutes. It moves from melodic, chunky riffs in a mid tempo to Thrash and then back again. The opener spells out what feels like an apocalyptic theme through the tracks on the EP and this is underpinned on this song by darkened riffs and deep Bass.

Ride on Ruin goes in a completely different direction. More rocky in the rhythm, it has a Classic Metal undertone and is pierced in the final third by a majestic solo piece. Short but very sweet.

Reign of Fire is the single that has been made into a video. Another and perhaps THE epic on the EP it is fuelled by classic riffs, tempo changes from a melodic canter to atmospheric sections which give Steve a stage to open his pipes. Another sweet solo blast 3/4 of the way through leads into a melodic trot to the finish.

The final track is a 5 minute belter. After a by now familiar gentle opening the riffs kick in with a chug. Apophis is a git of an Asteroid that was reported to be on a collison with Earth, don’t worry the prediction has since been revised (something to do with Bruce Willis I think). The song has an altogether apocalyptic vibe with moody riffs and a bluesy solo piping in just over halfway through. The end of the song is a bit darker with more meat in the riff and a frenetic percussion finish.

So there we have it, another fine release from a band keeping the flag flying for British Heavy Metal. Hamerex seem to stick to what they know, which is classic influenced NWOBHM with Thrashy pinches. They don’t experiment with different styles instead they do what they do well. I’m really looking forward to what the next album will bring, each release seems to have something stronger. For me the vocal on this EP has really rounded off the classic sound and it bodes well for album number 3.

As I’m a massive fan of Hamerex I can’t objectively rate this EP, it would get full marks from me. What I will say is that there is plenty for fans of NWOBHM to really enjoy. There’s a touch of Power Metal and tinges of Thrash in the first track and something a bit rockier in the second one. The sound you get from the EP is a true sound with no massive production budget, what you get is authentic and as true to the sound and attitude of NWOBHM as it gets. Spot on lads.



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