without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
After listening to the first demo, I had completely written these guys off as mindless amateurs who somehow turned out to be thrash legends. I wasn’t willing to dig in and try to discover how they made their transformational journey. The only reason I’ve chosen to listen to and review this demo is because I received a message of thanks for reviewing the first demo from members of Jackhammer themselves (I think, unless it was a hoax). Assuming it is from the actual dudes, it means quite a bit that they decided to thank me, even though I tore the demo to shreds. For their gratitude, I’ve decided to give these guys another shot. How did they fare this time?
Improvement all around! This sounds more like it, guys. Everything is better by a few bounds. Gone are Chris Ott’s amatuer vocals, and in are Tony Potaro’s amatuer vocals. While that bit of a switch up may not sound all that good, you honestly have to hear Chris’ vocal performance on the first demo to understand. Those vocals were the worst of the worst, and basically anyone would have been a huge improvement. Thankfully, Chris decided to simply focus on guitars here. Potaro’s vocals (much like everything about this album, really) are basically par for speed metal in 1984, sometimes recalling the wails of Neil Turbin. Tony’s vocals bring some much needed aggression to a sound that was basically the most non-aggressive sound on a metal demo.
What a fuzzy guitar tone. There’s something much more sincere and easier to digest about these riffs than on the first demo. The riffs here are generally faster than those found on Lethal Injection, and tend to grab your ears more often. The solos have also taken a turn for the better. Whereas all songs on the previous album (except Demon’s End) had horrible, worthless solos, every solo here seems to be up to the quality of Demon’s End. Still not very good, yet they get the job done overall.
Because of the fuzzy guitar tone, the simply intro to Witchchild sounds like a mix of Beyond the Realms of Death and some stinky little black metal band from the early 90s. I suppose this track could be considered Jackhammer’s attempt to write a more emotional, progressive, and lengthy track. It is here where the band actually scratches on the surface of being “good” songwriters, and not just another demo band. Leather Bitch is a fairly tame thrasher, but a thrasher nonetheless. The second half of this demo is significantly better than anything from Lethal Injection, and slightly better than the first couple of songs here.
Jackhammer have managed to redeem themselves in my eyes. While their first demo was truly painful to listen to at times, here they’ve managed to create something listenable, and rather competent. They’re still nowhere near a band fighting to the top of the pile, but at least their attack is a genuine attempt.
Oh, and the drums are on time for a change!