Thrash till you crash
-- Anvilhammer --
|■||Joel Facon||Vocals, guitars|
Review written by David Hardy.
Dear friends, this was a special experience, normally I listen to the album I've received to review and I immediately catch words, impressions, feelings, I make connections with what I already know and I write it down. But in this case, there was nothing. I just had a fucking good time and when there was no more music I said to myself : "Damn! I didn't write anything!" So I find myself like an idiot either pretending to have worked or to have actively listened to Anvilhammer's “Impression Of Chaos” album. But you know what! I’m not going to get lazy here, I’m going to give a real opinion about AnvilHammer’s new album: it’s authentic, raw and muscular thrash metal. There you go, I’ve finished my review of the "Impression of chaos" album simply and efficiently.
What do you mean, it’s short? You need more details? Very well. The album is homogeneous thrash metal and everything is in perfect adequacy with the band. The band is in adequacy with its singer and its singer is in adequacy with his guitar. Is that good enough? Not yet? Ok, I'll elaborate. The guitar that frontman Joel Facon proudly displays on his pictures is a Washburn N4, it's rough, it's simple, it's efficient and it's ready to change the tone. Joel has the voice (and the physique) to be the evil opposite of Bilal Hassani, a voice that is rocky, brutal, filled to the brim with testosterone and with a desire to fight with words that leave no room for a hypothetical blue flower side. His physique is not to be outdone either as he matches the standard of a Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stand-in crossed with Vin Diesel. Suffice to say, we're not here for Eurovision or to put on the Tinkerbell costume to parade around a big amusement park!
Well, now that we've laid the foundations of the band and its singer, let's talk about the album itself, because as I told you above, I had to listen to it, and listen to it again, ... several times in fact, because the tracks, rather short, are as easy to follow as the kilos gained after the end of year holiday meals! You eat a lot without realizing until you put your ass on the scale! An album of 14 tracks but "only" 40 minutes says a lot about the intensity of the tracks!
"Dead Weight" is an intro that puts you in the mood with the sound of a hammer furiously slamming on metal plates. A nice allusion to the band’s classic thrash metal style but also a reference to “Impression Of Chaos” artwork, with the creepy little doll who slams spikes into her teddy bear like it’s a voodoo doll. Well done! Totally without words, just to warm up the drumsticks and plectrums and to start with "March of the AnvilHammer" and there we totally understand what I said before about Joel Facon! He's not here to string pearls in the middle of the little ponies! A very powerful riff, a frantic speed that lays the rhythmic foundations and a voice that rips and tears! Let's be clear it's not Joe Satriani, but at the speed it goes and with the intention behind it. It’s smooth as butter.
"Vision of the Dividend" doesn't completely convince me, its "solo" around 1:35 doesn't speak to me, on the one hand I find this track quite repetitive, on the other hand the hard-pounding finale is really nice! "Generations" is for me, much more constructed and better paced. It’s a powerful tune and in terms of rhythm offers a really good basis for headbanging! The bridge remains a bridge but it does allow to find a little stability necessary to keep the track going! Once again, the fast and powerful finale is a pleasure... except for drummer Will Stairmand who sweats his heart out and singer Joel Facon who prays for his lungs to hold themselves together!
Next up is "Impression of Chaos" and let's not beat around the bush here. It’s a highlight track on the album! The crisp mixing, the tempo changes, the frantic finesse, the different vocal styles. A nice and tight title track. "State Of Mind" is the 6th stop on the album and it starts off heavy and picks up the speed little by little. Not a bad song at all, once again you can feel the professionalism within Anvilhammer. It's nice and creamy.
As I was going through the rest of the tracks on “Impression Of Chaos” I realized that everything I can say about one track, I'll say about another. That’s the main issue I have with this album, the songs all sound and feel too similar to each other and some of them, like the album’s 11th track “Silence” are very repetitive. It’s not that any of these songs are bad, there’s clear professionalism on Anvilhammer’s part, but they went for quantity rather than quality. In the end, there's not much point in dragging you through a review that holds in this conclusion that follows.
In fact what’s difficult in the review of this album is that I don't have the necessary sensitivity to detect the nuances between the different tracks. Everything is very good, everything is powerful and very well constructed, the fast passages give way to the heavy ones, the technical passages are present (great examples are the solos in "The Fall", and "Commissariat") but I don't manage to feel any real nuances between the tracks. It's very uniform in the good and bad sense of the word. It goes on like clockwork, but it's hard to pick out one title over another. It's good... on the whole, it's super coherent, there's no false note, there's no side step, it's all in a row like a debauchery party at the playboy mansion where the lube and champagne are flowing but, due to one thing or the other, you don't know the next day who went where, you just know that it was a good time.
Do I recommend the album? Good question! Let's take the pros and cons! What I don't like is always more crunchy so let's start with that.
1) Lack of creativity;
2) Lack of nuance (total uniformity of the album);
3) The songs feel too familiar to one another which makes it difficult to remain engaged throughout the album’s 40 minute runtime.
1) A professionalism in playing, singing, mixing rarely achieved for a first album.
2) A real potential due to their qualities which makes us hope for a second album
3) The kind of band to see live with the atmosphere and a beer with friends to have a great time.
Although Anvilhammer definitely went for quantity over quality in their debut album, they do show a great sense of competence in making solid thrash metal. If you like thrash then give this one a try. If not, then maybe you should abstain and wait for the next release which, I hope, will feature a little more creativity to make things a lot more interesting. Message of the day: "If you liked MC Hammer, you won't necessarily like AnvilHammer!"