Released: 2006, Rusty Cage Records
So, you’re a big Motorhead fan. You love everything Lemmy has done, but you think that the band’s recent albums are too “produced” and wish they would go back to their greasier than grease sound on their ACE OF SPADES classic. What are you to do? I just happen have a solution for you! You go, right now, and buy Hammerhawk’s BREAKS LOOSE album. See Hammerhawk was a Dutch band that basically combined the dirty biker style of Motorhead (including Thijs Bruyns’ dead-ringer-for-Lemmy vocals) and fuses it with the storytelling melodicism and flair of Iron Maiden, all while keeping filthy production values. Sound like fun? I assure you that it is!
Opening with the sea-faring tale “Discovery” the band rips through four absolutely infectious MotorMaiden songs in less than 20 minutes. Sure, the Motorhead influence is so pronounced it borders on plagiarism (i.e.: the “Ace of Spades” buzzing guitar/bass lines of “High Score”), but each song is so catchy that you just don’t give a damn. Then again, the Steve Harris-styled bass of the instrumental “Chinatown Braindamage” is pretty obvious too.
As for bonuses, we get two 1982-era demos in “Low Rider” and “White Hot Steel”. “Low Rider” is another Motor-machine equally is memorable as the preceding songs. “White Hot Steel” is a more straight-ahead metal song, notable for having guitarist Hans De Jong on vocals. It’s OK, but his vocals are so far away from the established Hammerhawk sound that it just doesn’t sound right.
“Run for Freedom” is a live track that is otherwise unreleased. It is a good song, but the sound quality is quite poor. It’s hilarious to hear Bruyns introduce the song in an obviously affected Lemmy drawl. Finally, the disc closes with an absolutely ripping “Steel”, which is approximately 2 minutes of the purest modern-styled Motorhead (better production) you’ll ever hear. It’s fucking brilliant and the perfect way to close the album.
It is a travesty that this band is so unknown. They did manage to carry on and release the WELCOME HOME, WE EXPECTED YOU full-length in 1991 and have continued touring ever since, but I am not certain if the band is still active. Either way, here’s hoping that Rusty Cage Records can get their hands on the rights to that full-length album because I would love to hear it.
Hammerhawk is easily one of the most entertaining bands I’ve ever heard. All heavy metal fans should definitely check this band out!