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This Bomb, So Timely Detonated - 58%

bayern, February 17th, 2019

Having come out at the same year as Pantera’s “Far Beyond Driven” and Machine Head’s “Burn My Eyes”, this vociferous quarrelsome recording didn’t sound miscalculated at all; on the contrary, it captured the breezes of change quite handsomely, like not many other efforts released around the same time did. The thing is that the band’s swiftly-accumulated with the first two albums fanbase was left to cope with this timely “betrayal” as this was nothing, or very little, like what they wanted to hear…

I got the band’s debut on the same day with Exhorder’s “Slaughter in the Vatican” and spent a few intensely moshing days at home as both opuses were quite comparable, aggressive angry slabs with brutal skirmishes taking turns with heavier, covertly groovy passages the latter spelling changes across the sky in the future. Well, Exhorder stopped on time as their career was grounded once the equally as effective “The Law” came out two years later… however, in the camp here the call of the groove was stronger, and after the lethal “epidemic of violence” that was unleashed upon the world the second time around it kind of made sense for the musicians to try their hands on something that was going to leave the groovy skeleton of their repertoire more exposed.

Without the fast-paced, openly brutal on occasion veneer from the first two instalments almost completely gone, this album may have come as a shock for the more faint-of-heart; on the other hand, those with a more trained ear had by all means detected the groovy vibes from those early recordings, and had probably foreseen the direction the guys were going to take at some stage. I did belong to this latter group, but since I never became the most ardent advocate of the Demolition Hammer cause, I got the album reviewed here quite a few years later. Needless to add, the belated listen I gave it some time in the early-00’s didn’t leave me impressed. As I like the mentioned Pantera and Machine Head recordings, I was probably going to nod around way more enthusiastically if I had tracked it down at that time…

but in the midst of a new old school campaign, one that I had already readily embraced, I simply couldn’t hear much to pronounce this effort a worthy epitaph. Even now, quite a few years down the line, I still struggle to find my way through this thick seismic miasma of angry belligerent groovisms. At least James Reilly’s rending intimidating shouts are firmly in place, leading the loud aggro-show with panache the latter seemingly having everything a 90’s post-thrash opus should; from the “Burn My Eyes” leftover “Under the Table” to the pounding ten-ton hammer (indeed) “Power Struggle”, to the strangely more intricate “Missing: 5/7/89”… everything seems to be fixed at the right spot the guys targeting the 90’s groovy generation by not letting them relax completely, the more aggressive steam-rolling rifforamas on “Mindrot” and especially the headbanging explosion at the end that is the title-tack keeping them on the edge of their comfort zone, also partially compensating for ill-fated covers of new age/wave heroes (Devo in this case) like “Mongoloid”, the band violating this cut nearly beyond recognition, turning it into an abrasive noisy doom/groove parade.

From a conformity point-of-view this album again scores high; in terms of musical proficiency, however, it’s a decisive step back in every department save for the vocal one. It’s not that the band were the most technically-accomplished unit in the world previously, but the tight compact fist-in-the-face approach they had epitomized earlier was by no means a sloucher; here they largely go through the groovy post-thrashy motions already established by other outfits, trying to sound as compliant as possible, only timidly hinting at any more aggressive possibilities like they weren’t laying entire neighbourhoods to dust with their feats of old. At the same time they sound quite confident here, exhibiting this discovered passion of theirs for all things trendy courageously and even arrogantly… quite competently as well with hardly a sense of guilt behind this dense groovy clout: “it’s time to grow up and follow those who know better. Metallica, Overkill, Exodus, Sepultura… shall we go on? Old school naivety is a thing of the past. Let’s start doing the groovy twist and see where it will take us…”.

Well, it took them nowhere as the band were done shortly after this effort here got released. Whether they got ashamed of their newly-acquired emulation stance or they simply got tired of the music industry’s flippancy, the guys terminated the Demolition Hammer saga in the mid-90’s, never to look back… never say never, though, and here they are fully reformed in 2016, having earlier reminded of themselves with the “Necrology: A Complete Anthology” compilation which provided their entire discography to the new millennium audience. How they will decide to entertain it later, that no one can tell with certainty, but it seems to me that the band are generally fonder of less unexpected, timely detonated outbursts… in other words, repetitions of past conformity gestures are out of the question.

A Small Payload - 58%

psychoticnicholai, July 31st, 2018
Written based on this version: 1994, CD, Century Media Records

Out of all the 80's thrash bands, one might expect Demolition Hammer to avoid going groove like so many others. They tried to get this released under another band name but was forced to keep this as a Demolition Hammer album for the sake of sales by Century Media. So, Demolition Hammer's shift happened against the wishes of the band and the quality dropped a bit. They slowed down and started making rhythms more suited to back-alley brawls than those suited to a large-scale riot or a war like the albums beforehand. Even so, this album isn't without its strengths, and it still sounds downright mean. And by mean, we're talking "getting mugged at knifepoint" levels of mean.

This is still a very unfortunate album considering the circumstance. It came into this world reluctantly, was sold reluctantly, and probably bought reluctantly by the few folks who bothered with it. The only thing that wasn't done for this album reluctantly was the playing, and it shows. The extra ferocity from their older days carries over into Time Bomb and it's not fake or sloppy like a lot of the other bands that started making bruiser groove out of nowhere in the 90's. Steve Reynolds' vocals are a twisted snarl loaded with venom and pain. These hateful vocals are more aggressive than those of most other groove bands like Pantera and Machine Head, bordering on that of a death growl. The guitars are appropriately thick and pounding with a tone ideal for this variety of sledgehammer groove which is low, booming, and forceful. It sells the air of hostility this album brings very convincingly. Even the drums have a certain crack to them that makes the less blistering tempos still have plenty of impact. Demolition Hammer's longtime devotees will probably slam this album simply for the stylistic shift, and while certainly weaker and less rampaging than the previous two albums, there is some vigor put into this.

That fire and that anger buoys the entirety of this album and remains its biggest asset as everything goes down. The climbing and plunging these grooves go through gives them a lot of weight and helps make this album more swinging. There are songs that feel like a rockslide of guitars and smack hard because of it like "Waste" and "Unidentified", and then there's others where the song itself is very basic and somewhat repetitive in structure, making it somewhat boring. Groove works best when you can balance speed and syncopation and it seems like those only match up part of the time on this album. The heft of the guitars and the toxicity of Steve Reynold's snarling are often what ends up bolstering some unexceptional material. There are also some slim passages where we get a taste of the older, thrashier sounds that made this band strong on "Mindrot" and on the ending title track where everything ramps up and the tempo gets moving, adding to the heavy low end. There is a tendency for the songs on this thing to stagnate. Much of the album is single-minded aggression and that means that not much is going to change throughout it. The only oddity on this thing being the cover of Devo's "Mongoloid" which is probably the most annoying song on both Time Bomb and on Devo's debut. Many of the riffs and rhythms are just good for simple pounding, leaving this album as middling.

While the idea of Demolition Hammer doing a groove metal album may seem completely horrible on paper, they manage to bolster this thing with enough stress and conviction to a point where it becomes okay. While thrash die-hards will no doubt loathe this thing, Demolition Hammer fight hard despite slowing down and there is stuff worth listening to on here if you just want to go attack a punching bag. Epidemic of Violence this is not, it's far simpler and not as interesting. Comparing it to a rampaging thrash classic like that seems strange but knowing this band it had to be done. A lot got simplified, some of the album is stagnant, but the rage is still there and still scathing with some slamming riffs to help it along. This is certainly not a classic by any stretch, but it is a semi-decent bout of angry groove metal that doesn't quite deserve the loathing it gets. If you avoid "Mongoloid", that is.

Corrupted by the zeitgeist - 62%

Felix 1666, May 5th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1994, CD, Century Media Records

A typical story: an extreme metal band releases two albums with unleashed songs. It modifies its style - a completely intrinsically motivated process, of course - and records an uninspired third full-length. Nobody likes this band anymore, exitus. This is where the story ends.

You say this is a very bad tale? I agree. But extreme metal musicians must be aware of the risk that a change in style does not automatically bring success. Demolition Hammer can confirm this statement, because "Time Bomb" was definitely a disappointment for their old fans and the new target group... just did not exist. The band was in search of a chimera. Nobody needed ten mid-tempo tracks that lacked of fury and uncompromising violence. Indeed, the musical approach was still violent, but the dudes had made too many compromises. The lead vocals were still hostile and the riffing did not lack of meanness, but velocity was missing. Century Media had given the drummer some tranquilizers - and they worked excellently. Or did he suffer from an allergy to his own snare drum. Speculations aside: short rapid eruptions, for example during "Mindrot" or at the end of the closer, were not enough to build a solid connection to their first works.

Due to the robust and pretty nasty guitars, Demolition Hammer did not deliver a great pile of shit. There are worse albums in the history of (thrash) metal, no doubt about it. Yet until the date of "Time Bomb", the band seemed to become the next big thing for thrashers, a bulwark against the zeitgeist of the early nineties. Forget it, "Time Bomb" sang another song. Due to the lack of dynamic, it feels as if the album has a duration of roughly an hour, although it clocks in after 37 ambivalent minutes. The groovy elements, the new detail in Demolition Hammer's sound, do not prevent boredom. They are rather the cause for it. All these dragging riffs spread the same vibes and to add insult to injury, some of them sound very similar to each other. It is revealing that exactly the cover version ("Mongoloid") adds a slightly different flavour. Yet a different flavour is not necessarily a better one. As a result, the full-length was a severe blow to the old fans.

Two or three high speed thrashers with sharp, brutal riffs could have worked wonders, but they just do not exist. Thus, actually good songs like "Power Struggle" are in bad company. "Missing: 5/7/89", for example, is the bitter yet effective medicine for those nutcases who want to get rid of their weakness for thrash - no fury, no velocity, no traction. The strong production does not matter in this context, because a wrong musical concept remains wrong, even if it is presented in a technically masterful implementation. I do not know which guy had the idea that Demolition Hammer had to go with the trend. I just know that he was an imbecile. Only the title of the album was well chosen. It was just sad that the musicians did not realise the crucial fact: this "Time Bomb" killed nobody else than the band itself.

Criminally underrated groovy Death/Thrash - 80%

BrutalDecay, March 23rd, 2016

We all know Demolition Hammer's crushing and full-speed ahead death/thrash motif on the "Epidemic Of Violence" and "Tortured Existence" albums. Without Vinny Haze behind the kit, one could only wonder how the next album was going to sound like. Good news for everyone else, Alex Marquez (Solstice, Malevolent Creation, Disincarnate) sat behind the kit. The result? A groovy death/thrash metal album, mostly mid-tempo, which truly shocked the people at the time who expected something heavier and faster than "Epidemic Of Violence". You can hear the trademark Demolition Hammer vocals (fuckin' love Steve Reynolds' voice) and the groovy chops of Malevolent Creation, minus the speed, plus the atmosphere!

First things first, we have to address the following things: that bass tone, made evident from the first track "Under The Table". One of the most killer bass tones I've ever heard in my life as a metalhead and if you're going for a groovier record, that's the tone you should go for. The band definitely got in touch with what was going on in the metal scene, especially the rise of the groove metal scene and the sound of Machine Head, Biohazard and Pantera. But although they've been certainly influenced by it, they've adjusted it to the heaviest Demolition Hammer riffage and have sat back in terms of speed, and focused on the neck-wrecking groove. Which goes perfectly with the Malevolent-Creation-influenced riffage of songs with "Mindrot" and "Blowtorch" standing out. There are also some songs that take off the old Demolition Hammer way like the final part of "Waste" and parts of "Mindrot". I also liked the Devo cover ("Mongoloid"), a really fitting choice for that different face of Demolition Hammer.

"Time Bomb" has a more unique character. It's the most different yet heavy as fuck Demolition Hammer record! Is it a classic like "Tortured Existence" or "Epidemic Of Violence"? Probably not. It's only second to them, which get the 100% rating. But it doesn't lack the quality of a perfectly good record.

Demolition Hammer with this album, have sat back and enjoyed the groove which was the 90s trademark. It's only that they did it better than Destruction on "The Least Successful Human Cannonball", due to the lack of actually good songs! Give this one the chance it needs, I did and it rocks!!

By the way, Demolition Hammer are back!! Unfortunately not with Alex Marquez behind the kit (due to his obligations with Solstice and Thrash Or Die) but things are looking really good!! DEMOLITION FUCKIN' HAMMER!

Underrated Album - 90%

logan6511, February 1st, 2013

Yes, it's true this is probably the album that was not intended to be recorded as Demolition Hammer, but to fans who were unfamiliar with Demolition Hammer, this album proves to be a good place to start. Gone were Vinny Daze and James Rille and the guitar solos and the signature faster-than-lighting sound that had fans drooling. In are Alex Marquez and the new heavier and groove-oriented Demolition Hammer.

The album starts of with a brief old school intro of two guys ranting on fucking someone up, then cuts into "Under the Table" which is a good general sample of what this album is all about. It's heavy, in your face, and has lots of simple, but ballsy riffs. Songs like "Power Struggle", "Bread and Water", and "Mindrot" have the same slow burn effect as Pantera's "Walk" or Obituary's "Chopped in Half". The lack of guitar solos was definitely something I would consider a bit of a let down, but it also makes the song more to the point and less about the guitar playing.

Critics have described this album as very repetitive, yet I find this album much more enjoyable that their previous efforts which sounded a lot more of the same thrash-speed metal that bands like Kreator, Sodom, Sabbat, Destruction etc. had us accustomed to. Fans of Pantera, Machine Head, and early groove bands will definitely appreciate this album. Fans of older Demolition Hammer will probably find this album too slow and heavy to enjoy.

The bomb that fizzled out - 63%

JamesIII, August 22nd, 2010

Perhaps one of the more disappointing realizations I ever came across during my forays into the heavy metal genre has to be what became of Demolition Hammer. One can perhaps say the same thing of more renowned bands such as Slayer, Metallica, or even Sepultura, but all three of these bands and most of their peers had a slow descent into mediocrity. Demolition Hammer was basically claiming the thrash throne for themselves in 1992 with "Epidemic of Violence," an album that had few equals.

Fast forward to 1994, and we have "Time Bomb." I suppose one does have to take into account the band's personal status at this time, not to mention the fact that the remaining members did not even want it to be released under the band's name. Add to this the changed band logo and odd ball mid-90's artwork, and you have the makings of a weak to abysmal listen. Despite my initial disappointments over this release, the album graciously leans more towards the former in terms of musical quality.

The interesting thing about this album, and what remotely links it to the remainder of the Demolition Hammer discography is Steve Reynolds. Reynolds vocals are still heavily within the death/thrash realm, and in all honesty are not that far removed from the previous album. Considering the vocal style he was going for here, its safe to say he pulled it off better than either Phil Anselmo or Chuck Billy on Pantera's or Testament's respective albums of this same year. That said, he's also more tolerable than Robb Flynn was, who made his debut with Machine Head at this time.

Despite that small consolation to rabid fans of "Epidemic of Violence," the music here is nothing short of pure 90's groove and hardcore. Since I am not completely offended by this style of music, I don't really hate this album the way some others here have expressed. However, being the diehard fan of this band's earlier works that I am, it makes it no less easy to accept the changes made here. Even worse than the grunge/groove tendencies here are songs like "Under the Table" and "Bread and Water," which come strangely close to what became defined as mallcore in the upcoming years. These two, especially "Under the Table" don't sound too far away from KoRn's mid-90's sound except with Reynolds far more tolerable death/thrash grunts thrown in.

The better songs here are the ones that go for the more bearable moments of Pantera's and Machine Head's mid-90's style. These come in the form of "Blowtorch," which is a mildly tolerable groove/hardcore track that isn't really offensive but doesn't really go anywhere. "Mindrot" is similiar, except during the choruses where Reynolds' rendition of the word "mindrot" sounds like a cow passing gas, which is obviously not the intended effect. "Power Struggle" also has a decent doom metal riff in there, but its repeated ad nauseum with little variation. Even the strange choice for a cover in the Devo song "Mongoloid" is tolerable, but hardly anything one should invest time or money in tracking down.

Its not difficult at all to fathom why this album turned out the way it did, nor is it too strenuous to imagine why the band wanted it released under a different identity. This album is sure to displease Demolition Hammer fans, as its very far removed from the band who released "Epidemic of Violence" and destroyed your ear drums with barbaric blitzkrieg thrash. I personally can't bring myself to hate it, not being entirely disgusted by the genre this album is etched in but that doesn't make it a classic in my eyes. It comes off more bearable than Pantera's repetitive mess in "Far Beyond Driven," but slightly less appealing than either "Low" or "Burn My Eyes" were if for no other reason than it reminds me just how far this band actually fell.

Time Bomb? I'm Tapping on My Wristwatch. - 37%

heavymetalbackwards, July 8th, 2009

Demolition Hammer were on to something here; they really were. The band was just never cut out for thrash, because they always had groove undertones that they finally let loose on this release. The problem is the songwriting is just as sub-par as the last two albums coupled with the fact that they now have a Pantera sound. If you can’t write good music, at least choose a genre to suck in so that the very aesthetics of the songs are still pleasing.

So what were Demolition Hammer onto here? They were onto the fact that they might have a better chance in the groove metal style. The opener called “Under the Table” is written perfectly (as all DH openers are). When I first eared this I though, “Wow, these guys beat Pantera at their own game.” I might not be much of a groove fan, but I can recognize talent within a certain genre even as an outsider.

There’s tons of nu-metallish stuff in here like “Bread and Water” that make me think of Mudvayne or Soulfly, perhaps even Mushroomhead. Oh well, at least it’s catchy ear-candy-metal that’s admittedly more fun than the more trite thrash out there. Unfortunately, songs like “Waste” and “Undefined” are so characterless and poorly composed that it’s like…well…I feel like I’m playing a monster truck game on my old Windows 95 and this is the generic “metal” music playing the background as I run over a pickup truck. There are tons of cool riffs, but the actual numbers that they build are not logically coherent or remotely good tracks.

Just like with “Epidemic of Violence”, the band completely redefine their sound again. We’ve gone from barking shouts, to angry yelps, and now to semi-death-growls. Also, they decided to abandon lead guitar here with only a couple exceptions.

This album is ridiculously predictable. Demolition Hammer are experts at fooling metalheads into thinking they are talented by placing their admittedly excellent “hit singles” as the first few songs on the CD, and then slapping another little goody (in this case Mongoloid) toward the end so it at least seems balanced. In that respect, they are the Bon Jovi of thrash, and I’ll be sure to place “Under the Table” right after “Livin’ on a Prayer” on my next compilation CD-R.

Yuck...who farted? - 30%

NecroFile, May 25th, 2008

There's nothing wrong with Time Bomb that a new band name couldn't fix. Demolition Hammer are thrash metal legends that released some of the genre's classic albums, but this is groove-happy sludgefest. I'm sure Pantera fans would eat it up, but thrash metal fans need this like a Jewish kid needs a swarm of killer bees at his Bar Mitzvah.

As other reviewers have pointed out, this was never meant to be a Demolition Hammer CD. After the release of Epidemic of Violence, the band's lineup fell apart, with Reilly and Daze leaving to form a new band. Sykes and Reynolds pushed on, recording a very 90-ish groove-laden album that didn't sound like Demolition Hammer at all. They planned to release it under a different band name, but their label was a monstrous cock gobbler and refused to support it unless it was a Demolition Hammer release!

Time Bomb can be described as an early nu-metal album. The riffs are kind of chunky and downtuned, and there's not a guitar solo to be found. Blast beats? Forget it. The speed and aggression is greatly reduced and at times this turns into a sludge album. The complexity is also downsized in favor of a monotonous and indigestible songwriting style. Case in point: ".44 Caliber Brain Surgery" (from their first album) had about a dozen different riffs and several solos. "Under the Table" riff? Maybe two?

The absence of guitar solos is what really kicks the album in the nuts. Some bands (mostly in the grindcore and industrial genre) get along fine without them, but there's a reason why guitar solos have been a mainstay of heavy metal these last thirty years. They provide an interesting contrast to the lead and rhythm riffing, and help the songs stay fresh. If you don't have them all the songs sound boring and repetitive, especially in the groove genre. Even Dime would bust out a solo when he had to. This is especially noticeable in the case of Time Bomb, which is so slow and bass-heavy it sounds like you're listening to a washing machine.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that all the songs sound the same? Other than the Devo cover "Mongoloid" the songs are practically interchangeable. Reynolds sings in the same style every song, Sykes plays the same key every song, it gets pretty damned repetitive. Granted, this was a criticism that applies to their previous albums, but if all the songs have to sound the same I'd rather they be balls-to-the-wall thrashers than boring groovefests, y'know?

Some of the songs are catchy, and Alex Marquez is a good drummer and a worthy replacement for Vinny Daze. But at the end of the day, this is like observing that a piece of shit is shiny and glittery. Time Bomb sucks, no two ways about. The best thing about it is that the band called it quits and didn't record 10 crappy follow-ups like Sepultura and Slayer. For St Anger fans only.

Standouts: "Mongoloid", "Time Bomb"

Not a Demolition Hammer release - 50%

SocietalSpit, February 21st, 2008

Well of course this album will get rated poorly without a doubt. This was a band well known in the late 80's and early 90's for their original styled brutal mix of death and thrash metal only comparable to bands such as Malevolent Creation, Sepultura, Devastation, Exhorder, Morbid Saint..but with a more devastating touch..enough to satisfy fans of brutal death and possibly scare away most middle of the road thrash fans.

Anyways, being a fan of the brutal thrash/death style pummeled out by this insane band, Time Bomb is a major let down. However, I can NOT blame Demolition Hammer for this. The band was disbanded after epidemic of violence. Derek and Steve were the only original members featured on Time Bomb. They even said themselves that they did not want to release Time Bomb under the Demolition Hammer name. Vinnie and others went to play in Deviate and Derek and Steve would not continue Demolition Hammer without the entire crew. The album was intended to be in the hardcore/groove style that was popular at the time...similar to Biohazzard, Life of Agony, Pantera with some slight originality from Marquez (the brutallizer) Marquez is a very tight drummer and his drumming is most definitely the highlight of this album.

For fans of groove, you may enjoy this album. It is filled with slow chugging groove riffs with out any thrashful destruction or the brutality that came out of the first two albums. There are only two solos, one being a slow and ineffective one and the other not really standing out too much. Once again however, alex marquez never lets down on the drums. It reminds me of a worse version of The Law by Exhorder....Exhorder however, still had quality riffage and song writing still giving homage to death and thrash metal. Time Bomb however, is just a mostly boring and repetitious effort without many good tracks. A few tracks are listenable and decent enough to play over a few times such as Unidentified, Time Bomb, Power struggle. The title track has some thrashy elements. Most of the album is just slow and mid paced..and it is intended to be that way.

Do not hate this album because it was really unintended to be released as a Demolition Hammer album. It simply was released at the wrong place and the wrong time. If this was a different band, they probably would have ve had more respect and a bigger following. But to the fans, they let everyone down by submerging themselves in the groove/hardcore scene.

Time Bomb doesn't manage to explode! - 65%

overkill67, December 15th, 2004

Oh well, two outta three ain't bad(at least according to Meatloaf?) But for a band like Demolition Hammer, to release two spectacular albums and then resort to an album of this calibre is quite unfathomable. The fact that the guitars are down a full step, and the once catchy and melodic guitar solos have all but disappeared, makes for a rather large let down to the fans of their earlier material. By point of fact, there are NO guitar solos, only one short little generic embelishment in the song "mongoloid". Now onto the lyrics, there still OK in terms of creativity and general ideas, but the sincerity and catchy choruses that were rampant on the last two albums just aren't there. In fact the song Time Bomb has only one verse, chorus, bridge and then back to the chorus? What the fuck? All complaints aside though, there still are some decent attributes to this disc. Steve's voice is still brutal and awesome, he truly gives a terrifying performance(in a good way) on this album. His gutteral throating ability allows the listener to feel the angry emotion that is associated with some of the lyrical content. As for the drumming, Alex may not be as good as Vinny Daze, but then again very few people could've filled Vinny's shoes. "The Brutalizer" Marquez definately does some interesting stuff on the drums and some of his double bass stuff is very impressive. Also check out some of the hardware stuff going on during the buildup in the intro part of the title track.
Another cool thing about this album is the samples used in the opening track Under The Table, which were taken from the Al Pacino flick Serpico.
Not bad but not great!