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Catastrophe - 10%

Felix 1666, August 20th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1987, 12" vinyl, Metal Enterprises

The compilation of Hammers Rule belongs to the most ignored albums of my collection. It lives a peaceful, undisturbed life while gathering dust on the shelf since three decades. The reason for this almost idyllic scenario is simple. "After the Bomb" is a miserable work. Metal Enterprises, one of the most dubious companies at that time, released this album for the European market. Well, the music is also extremely dubious. From this perspective, Metal Enterprises was a perfect fit.

Hammers Rule play a very crude form of ordinary heavy metal. Although they do not try to score with progressive song structures, most of their elaborations remain more or less ill-defined, for example the terrible ending of the oh so apocalyptic title track. The rest is just overly simple. Yet the song patterns are not the main problem of "After the Bomb". The gruesome vocals are much worse. A lot of "ohoohoos" and moronic lyrics are delivered by a nasal voice. A guy called Blade Duncan contributes goofy screams ("huu") while lacking of authenticity and power. He sounds like Guy Speranza (R.I.P. and sorry for mentioning this cult singer in this context) with a very bad cold. Anyway, Mr. Duncan sings idiotic lines without rhyme or reason, for example "You're gonna love him to death / Forget all of the rest / No way to fight / Pool of Piranhas" and the other lyrics show a similar picture. This epitome of a vocal catastrophe ruins each and every song with great ease. Even the band anthem suffers from his croaking; nevertheless, this song gets the award for the "best" track on this album, or, to be more precise, it is not a total failure due to its fairly good flow and the slightly interesting chorus.

By contrast, the vast majority of the here presented pieces is just agonizingly boring and not immune against sleazy melodies, cheap effects and completely faceless sequences. A very good example in this connection is the hardrock emetic with the extremely inventive title "She's a Rocker". One has to know that Duncan loves the rocking lady. As a logical consequence, he praises his "baby" with a lot of "ooh yeah" screams in an impertinent manner and I am getting sick. To illustrate the dilemma: even the kitschy love song "If You Only Knew" sounds better. Of course, it is nothing else but another triumph of banality. However, its acceptable bridge makes the difference, although the totally cheesy chorus ("If you only knew how much I need you") endangers my health, too. Well, if these wannabes would only have known how much we would not have missed them - the world would be a better place. Okay, I do not want to ignore the fact that the production does not suffer from major flaws, but unfortunately, the quality of the sound is absolutely irrelevant in view of this disastrous song material.

The artwork shows the catastrophic scenario "After the Bomb", but the real catastrophe is triggered by the stale and embarrassing pieces of the compilation itself. Hammers Rule were pitiful songwriters who fell between two stools in view of their expressionless style. Neither soft and catchy enough for the colourful poser community, nor aggressive enough for the exploding thrash scene; back in the polarising eighties, this was a well working recipe for a commercial suicide. Anyway, due to the absence of any form of compositional talent, their failure was not caused by questions of style. The overall picture of this formation was just too weak in all respects. I am sure that any other company than Metal Enterprises did not even think about releasing such an accumulation of absurdities. Guess why?