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Warfare's answer to "Cold Lake" - 32%

Rooster, January 25th, 2006

Warfare have always been one of my favorite UK heavy metal bands, so naturally I assumed that anything they touch would be ...well, I was going to say Pure Filth and get added points for using a metal reference, but no...Pure Filth is GOOD! . . . Hammer Horror is NOT!

I picked this up with geat expectations. But even a person who has never heard any Warfare material should still avoid this one:

So this album is basically and conceptually about horror and vampires and castles and demons and all that other shits. Well, I guess...not a bad idea, right? It's just how you make of it - the introduction isn't really grasping or mind-blowing. Usually an introduction is supposed to be like an introduction to a paragraph in an essay or what have you - it's supposed to grab ahold of the reader and suck them in! this case, the listener. Bottom line, I knew I was in for a dull ride.

Ta-ha! Well, I do have to admit this here, and this is why this album gets most of the points it does get. The first tune, "Baron Frankenstein" is pretty fuckin' sweet. Despite its obvious Venom worship, it still is pretty rad. Great guitar riff, good vocals, it doesn't completely win because it uses samples and I've never been a big fan of sampling. >_>...

After being tapped on the balls a little vigorously from Baron Frankenstein, the album takes a 360 turn and the next song, "A Velvet Rhapsody", made me scratch my head and ponder. Is this a joke? What is it? It sounds like Opeth (gone worse) mixed with Enya. What in the hell!? * fart noises * by the way, this album is chopped pack with lame gay faggy ballads. Boooo!

So while I was trying not to fall asleep during, it finished thankfully and moved onto "Scream of the Vampire pt. 1" Now, I've never really been too keen on cheesy spoken Metal lyrics...Manowar can barely pull it off, because, well, they're fuckin' Manowar! but this is Warfare. The two just can't compare at all. Anyhow, it's moderately catchy the same way that Celtic Frost did "Mexican Radio" cover. Yeah, it's semi-good, but at the same time, it's grossly unmetal. It has a decent guitar riff, but for the most part, is pretty sucktastic.

Next track is "Vlad the Impaler." For those who know the story of Vlad, you know that shit is pretty fuckin' Metal. I mean, he's inspirted countless bands (granted most are inarguably shitty black metal bands lolol, I digress...) so just by looking at the song title I thought it'd be good. ..WRONG! BBBZZZTTT! * yawn * another snoozer interlude shit-type thing. Not sure what Warfare are tryin' to do here, all I know is that they would probably make good videogame music. Like Resident Evil or something. Anyhow,

As if I didn't get enough anguish from "Scream of the Vampire pt. 1", but then they have to go and make another one! WHYYY!? And to top it all off, the second part is worse than the first! Nooo! There's a ton of sample usage from what sounds like some old-ass B-grade horror flick; I could be wrong, but that doesn't dismiss the fact that samples suck in Metal, and no matter how many Screams of the Vampre are made, they will all suck. Period. god. ANOTHER dolorous and yawn-inspiring interlude thingey. I'm not sure if all of these ballad deals are added to the album information for "Hammer Horror", but they're there. Maybe a re-release or some shit. I don't know. Maybe some user realized that they aren't worth the hair on his chinny-chin chin. But what I'm tryin' to say is, why are there so many godamn stupid interlude ballad thingeys? They all sound like bad drone doom dirges, except done wrong - and I honestly think I would have fallen asleep here and now had it not been for my girlfriend walking through the house in tiny hot pink shorts. Yow oww!! Hah!
* cough * anyways...

We arrive to the title track now, which is only 2 minutes long. Usually title tracks are longer, but eh...whatever... Also, usually title tracks are the best song on the album. But in this case, it clearly isn't. Nearly reaching tears of boredom and dismay at my waste of money, this is just another 2 minute borecore intermission that frankly, made me want to shove a hand grenade suppository up my anus.

Warfare have a tendency to make people sleepy, and then perk them up with a fast song, or visa versa. The next track isn't too shabby. It's entitled "Plague of the Zombies." Once again, it's pretty big Venom worship. Not done too well, granted, but surely a hell of a lot better than the copious amount of random-assed ballads on this release. It has decent and catchy guitar riffs in it, and I dig the vocals (probably and mostly because they remind me of Venom). I don't like how in parts of it, the clean vocals come in and it is reminiscent of Celtic Frosts' "Cold Lake" Overall, not a bad tune. But not a great one.

Next song "Ballad of the Dead" ........more like, BALLAD OF THE SUCK! HAH! I'm so clever and witty. Oh ho ho. Next.

Dear lord, as if things weren't already bad enough, the next song "A Solo of Shadows" actually made me laugh out loud and exclaim "What the FUCK!?" it has some Agalloch-like spoken vocals...with pretty lame accompanied lyrics, might I add, and cheesy synth keyboard shit and ambient background noises. Shit sounds like...oh my god I can't even think of a good analogy. I'd say Enya but I already said that earlier. Oh, what the hell. Shit sounds like horrible Enya mixed with beatnick cafe type vocals/lyrics, with bad videogame sounding instrumental. Crap on that.

I sighed and listened to the next song, "Prince of Darkness." He's referring to Count Dracula, by the way. Admittingly, it has some moderately okay tremolo picking and some alright guitar riffs...but all of that doesn't compensate for the prevailing sucky vocals (or lackthereof). It sounds like Depeche Mode or the Cure or some shit. Seriously. And the icing on the cake is more usage of sampling, but hey, what's new with this album, right. Gah...

If I wanted to listen to Venom done right, I'd listen to Exorcist or something, not this. I mean, yeah, I don't so much mind the vocals too much when they aren't softly spoken of whispered, but it's because it sounds a lot like Cronos. I'll be embaressed if it really is or some shit and I didn't know that. Then again, this was released in 1990, and Mantas on guitars (I think? yeah.. maybe he was the one trying to make Paul sound like Cronos. wtf) Anyhow - Mantas does his work on guitar and almost pulls it off. But not quite. You know what can ruin even the best guitar riff, or solo, or metal song in general? The answer - a saxophone. Like this song, "Tales of a Gothic Genre" has. Instant fail.

Progressing to the end, we reach "Dance of the Dead." I guess a positive thing I can say so far is that there hasn't been a weak pussy ballad for a little while. But that doesn't matter. This song isn't too shabby, but it's like I said, the overall tone of every moderately okay song on this album is because 1.) Manatas on guitar 2.) Venom-like vocals soo....hell, it's an alright song but it's not as good as the worst song on Welcome to Hell, or Black Metal.

I should have known I was in for trouble when the last track, (finally, shit...) "Phantom of the Opera (Hammer House of Horror Mix)" came on. As if the song title isn't bad enough, outrageously terrible alliteration and all, the song is a little over 7 minutes (longest song on the album) and is jam-packed with an extra serving of "suck." More spoken vocals, rolled R's, synthy crap, ambient horror, and...the coup de grace...SINGING FEMALE VOCALS! Yes, they are singing a duet sounding thing at parts of this song, and it made me cringe. Now, I have nothing against female vocals, but only when they're females that actually sound tough and agressive and metal - not shitty singing Mariah Carey-like vocals. Oh my god.. If you make it through this entire song, or even album, without killing yourself, congratulations. You have a strong tolerance for pain, you glutton for punishment you.

Now, I really like Warfare. A lot. But only their good and early releases like "Pure Filth", or "Metal Anarchy", or even "Mayhem, Fuckin' Mayhem" - but this is just shit, pure shit. Seriously. I'd like to even be able to bump up the rating for its cover art, but alas, that fails too. I ...guess? I don't give it a 30 because, hell, I have to give some kudos for production. But that's besides anything. If it had shitty production, it wouldn't make much of a difference. It might even make it sound more gritty, raw, and metal. Which this album is the opposite of. The bottom line of "Hammer Horror" is this, folks:

If you want to hear maybe three decent sounding Venom-like songs, then by all means, go out and hunt for this album. Or...if you're a die-hard "Omg, I'm guna cum my pants for every single Warfare album ever made!!1" buy this. For for those of you who know the difference between pure unadulterated metal, and a shitty unmetal "Cold Lake" sounding rip-off album (who wants to clone Cold Lake anyways, my god! Apparently Warfare. Christ... ) - you'll know now that when I say what I've been saying, it's the truth. Cheesy Venom worship and good production doesn't save this one, it doesn't even hide the blatent fact that this album blows cock. Period. Last words of advise: buy earlier Warfare albums, avoid this, throw on your copy of Welcome to Hell or something, or even so...settle for good sounding Venom clones. Also, a P.S. note - Cold Lake still sucks, but not as bad as this album.

- Rooster