Traitor Review (Black Phoenix Rising)

Aah, good old Hamerex, we love them here at BPR Towers. We’ve been following Steve and his bunch of merry dudes for a few years now and we’ve seen Hamerex live too. Hamerex never fail to please us and heading into the preorder hopes were high for another cracking album.

Let’s remind ourselves of who Hamerex are; Steve Blower has taken up vocal duties since the departure of Chris Moules. Andy Firth has moved from Bass to Guitar and is credited with the Bass on this album. Marc Hood has now taken up the vacant Bass spot and there is currently no drummer since Darren Kelsall recently departed after 9 years. Think I’ve got the most recent updates, who’d be in a band eh? The band is based in Wakefield.

Hamerex on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/hamerex

So there has been a shift in style and performance over the last couple of releases, including the EP The Last Ride. However, while there are subtle changes in what you will hear on Traitor, the classic undertones are still there with homage paid to the masters of Metal.

When I listen to an album for the first time, I don’t necessarily want the best one to open it up, but I do want to hear something that sets the pace for the rest of the record. Cue then, a classy bass run before a crunching, classic riff and Traitor is born! The title track starts off at a canter while Steve very capably soars through the first couple of verses. Moving towards the end of the song are some underpant wetting guitar licks that truly cock their leg to mark the introduction to a solid album.

The biggest highlight on the album for me is track 4; The Nameless One. opening with a steady rhythm led by cool strings. A smoky guitar lick appears from nowhere and then dissolves while the considered intro to the song carries on. The track threatens to break free of its restraints during the first few minutes as power chords and Steve’s soaring vocal pierces the sultry air after each short verse. After the third attempt the guitars are unleashed and, although not overboard, burst into life and throw out juicy riffs giving the song a bit of a progressive feel to it. At bang on 4 minutes Steve lets out one unholy wail that must have really tested his voice, and demonstrates the wise decision not to look for another vocalist. I challenge anyone not to unleash the horns and air wail ‘Scream my name’ to this sublime, and my favourite track.

The quality of production has stepped up on this album and really highlights how talented the musicians are; from the resounding drum opening on Dead Mountain coupled with Steve and Andy’s exhuberant guitar melodies to the menacing underlying bass tones on Eyes of Deceit, the quality is emphatic. For proof, listen no further than to The Abyss. Although an instrumental, I get a sense of the unity from each band member. An ironic statement considering the drummer left shortly after but, whatever the reason for the departure, it didn’t affect the commitment given to Traitor.

Journey’s End is an apt name for the finishing track, given that the album took me on a trip full of interesting sounds and moments of wow!. The opening riff drips with doom and you could be forgiven in thinking that it was the start of a Sabbath track. The moody guitar work is the perfect partner for the basis of the song, the Hindenburg disaster. It doesn’t stay sombre and, in fact, there’s some flashy solo work in the final third of the track.

Traitor is an album that Steve and the boys should be proud of, they worked really hard. It is an album that gets better every time I listen to it, as new sounds and intricacies pop through. I love the direction, I love the new sounds and I love that Steve is singing. There has been a great reaction to the album thus far and an fan of unadulterated heavy metal needs to own Traitor!

I am a fan, I am biased, I don’t care, it’s brilliant………………10/10

Legalalien @ Black Phoenix Rising

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