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Thorr's Hammer > Dommedagsnatt > Reviews > NausikaDalazBlindaz
Thorr's Hammer - Dommedagsnatt

Grimm recording by speleology students - 93%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, February 7th, 2012

Grimmly recorded indeed was this album by the cult death / doom band Thorr's Hammer way back in 1995 - maybe the weather in that year was extra icy-cold (June 1995 - was it icy-cold then? - probably not!) or on the other hand unseasonably warm which must have riled the members somewhat. Thorr's Hammer was one of the earliest projects worked on by modern-day Grimm Brothers Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley and even in those days they were serious students of subsonik speleology: their twin guitar excavations churn through tunnels of thick granite and black basalt, accreting a thick sludgy layer of crust and scree on their strings while the rhythm section of Jamie Sykes and James Hale supplies the jackhammer energy to power mining operations. Solid earthy riffing is emphasised throughout the recording to the point where in a couple of tracks in the middle of this recording (my CD comes with a bonus live track "Mellom Galgene") the music starts to look a little monotonous.

The main wonder of the band though was the then seventeen-year-old ice-blonde angel Runhild Gammalsaeter whose unearthly death-metal throat-shredding talents added an extra layer of crust to the Grimm-guitarists' lithospheric creations. She wrote the lyrics which are all in Norwegian and unfortunately on my copy there is no English translation but they appear to refer to Germanic mythology and a love of Norway and its landscapes. Gammalsaeter acquits herself admirably on all tracks though towards the end of the title piece where she is accompanied only be percussion, her rumbling is getting a little strained which is understandable given that she has been singing the song for quite a time at such an impossibly deep level.

The highlight of the recording is the bonus "Mellon Galgene" in which the band trudges through slag heaps of thick guitar slurry over and over until the eighth minute shen the hypnotic trance induced by the droning build-up overcomes everyone and all enter a tribal dance with the rhythm section keeping up a vigorous throb. The whole piece is artfully constructed: before the music reaches its peak, it teasingly slows down and drags out its middle section, becoming ever more earth-encrusted and decelerating to a crawl. I had expected the denouement to be sloppy but everyone maintains a tight band discipline right to the very end.

Not long after this live performance Gammalsaeter returned to Norway and Thorr's Hammer disbanded with the remaining musicians forming Burning Witch. "Dommedagsnatt" remains Thorr's Hammer's only significant recording which is highly recommended to Sunn0))) fans for its thick and grimy guitar sound and Gammalsaeter's vocals.

The original version of this review appears in The Sound Projector (Issue 14, 2005 - 2006) which is now out of print.