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The Dead Ringer
Released: 1997, Independent
"All those years, I used to ring the death bell. Since my maker has come back for me, I now stand here before you, to tell you all straight reflections from the life and times of the dead ringer."
And so you are greeted with the introduction to this concept CD - Hanker's second release. These French Canadians really have surprised me! To my knowledge there are basically no power metal bands in Canada especially in Quebec which is notorious for it's abundance of death/grind bands. Hanker clearly owe a lot to 80's giants like Maiden (you can really hear the maiden influence on the bass guitar...godly), Metal Church, old Metallica, early Helloween as well as bands like Blind Guardian! They have little to no 90's influences in them which doesn't hinder the band at all.
The more memorable songs on the CD are " Unsung Hero", " You Won't Live Eternally", "The Age of the Quick Fix" and "No More War." Great classic power metal 80's style is what this band are about. Up-tempo songs galloping riffs and melodic vocals are Hanker's strengths. For those of you who pay attention to a band's lyrics you will be interested to know that this is a concept CD. In a nutshell it tells that story of The Bell Ringer who now near the end of his life reflects back on what was and what has become. There's loads of regret and a sense of loss in opportunities missed and a general despair with the way things have turned out. After all his travels this guy has returned "home" and becomes a church bell ringer. Like the life of the Bell Ringer so Hanker's music follows. You will find aggression and you will find more introspective mellower styles - either way it's all thoughtfully played and very well written!
I'm VERY surprised that these guys are not more well known. This stuff is new material but when I'm listening to it I'm thinking it's already a classic. For more information on this very promising band visit their official webpage at http://www.hankermetal.com
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