Reviewed: June, 2018
Released: 2018, Hamerex
Hamerex has been active since the release of their debut album back in 2012. Hailing from the UK, THE ABYSS is the band’s second EP release and fifth album overall. One of the things I love about the band is their unquestionable commitment to metal, trends be damned. That is why we get a glorious combination of thrash, speed metal, and NWOBHM. Vocalist and guitarist Steve Blower gets downright deathly, at the end of brand new tune “Crucifixion” but also on the re-recorded “The Exremist.” Composed of just four tunes, THE ABYSS is a sampling to appease fans until the next full-length.
At just four tracks, a valid question that should be asked is why would the band choose to re-record two songs that are only five years old? Fans of Hamerex know that the one weakness in their catalog through the years has been mediocre production, which was corrected on 2016’s THE TRAITOR. The earlier material though suffered somewhat because of the mixes. Hearing the re-recorded versions of “The Extremist” and “The Dark Tower”, the difference in quality is astonishing over the older versions. Fuller, heavier and punchy, they make it difficult to listen to the original recordings.
The two new songs are welcome additions as well, “Broken” being a mid-paced and heavy stomp with Blower showing off his impressive vocal range. Drummer Sharif ‘Diz’ Dyson pushes the band faster near the end, as Blower and guitarist Andy Firth rip through some great solos. It is an intense and satisfying way to end a song. “Crucifixion” is a thrasher and features bassist Marc Hood’s laid-back vocals, providing a nice contrast to Blower’s higher range. Hamerex deserve credit because while they employ a healthy dose of thrash, the do not really sound like anyone else. If you want some amusement, check out their Spotify page and see what that service has classified as related artists! Hamerex defies easy categorization, and while they are not groundbreakers, they excel within their vision and skillsets. Recommended for fans of thrash, NWOBHM and gritty British metal in general.