The Last Ride Review (Ave Noctum)

Finally, Yorkshire’s Hamerex have delivered a release I knew they could! That’s not to detract or belittle their previous material which has been covered on this site a few times before, no, but they have gone and developed and delivered a release that’s been on the brink of coming out for the past ten-plus years of their career thus far.

The opening 8-plus minute epic ‘Calm before the Storm / Natures Wrath’ sets out their stall. The vocals are tight, strong and hold their strength on the higher notes, the guitar playing is a touch more precise as is the tone itself which sounds a bit fuller too, then there’s the arrangement. This doesn’t follow the usual British metal path, the groove the reference to older 80’s style of music, it commands a touch more warrior passion in the presentation. Ok, I have to say that the only downside for me is the drums which are still not beefy enough for me (the snare itself), but that’s a touch finicky if I am honest.

‘Ride on Ruin’ has a familiarity to Maiden’s two early 90’s releases with a strong emphasis on rhythm, then ‘Reign of Fire’ goes a touch more EU/US epic metal with their choice of slow and heavy intro that develops into some fine twin guitar action and builds to the crescendo that starts the first verse with although you think! A touch of lightness with an acoustic path somewhere between Maiden’s early works, you see a similar reference, I love the vocal screams of “Everything is turned to dust” and it holds strong in vibrato at the tail of this line. At around the 5 minute mark when the solo begins, the action really becomes infectious and entertaining. Hard work and further writing vision is paying dividends, that’s what you have here.

Completing this EP is ‘Apophis’ which starts again acoustic then builds and what I find remarkable here is around the 2 minute mark when the vocal tone becomes similar to Tony Coldham (The Deep) with the previous more sinister verse musically touching elements of the NWOBHM of Elixir and Midnight Messiah. There are plenty of references you could choose, I for one am pleased it’s not a copycat, it’s a British metal album made damn good from a band that have been knocking on the door for a number of years. I think with this one, it’ll work, it’s a damn fine release and truly worthy of more than mere underground movement support.

(8/10 Paul Maddison)

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