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Fill in the blanks: H_llh__m_r m_de th_m do _t - 76%

Felix 1666, October 20th, 2015
Written based on this version: 1999, CD, Grind Syndicate Media

Hellhammer.

(Sorry for this rather crude beginning, but I have heard that a Warhammer review is not complete without mentioning the name of the Swiss legend. So now that I have fulfilled my obligation, I am free to design this text the way I want. Superb strategy, isn't it?)

The debut of Warhammer had left much room for optimization. "Deathchrist", the second album of the band, shows a great improvement. The flow of the songs is almost smooth, although the pieces possess enough corners and edges to paint an ugly picture. The double bass driven title track must be mentioned in this context. It is extreme and nearly polished at the same time with the effect that I bang my useless head while wondering about the sleekness of the song. Anyway, this track is a worthy representative of the album, although its comparatively high velocity is fairly untypical for the Germans and their role models from Switzerland. In the end, it does not matter, because it goes without saying that Warhammer master their whole genre. Ultra tough, slow-moving tunes show up, feedback effects have not been forgotten and the pressed voice of the lead vocalist expresses feelings like pain, desolation and hopelessness. But he is clever enough to avoid any "Ughs" that Tom G. Warrior celebrated in his own unique style.

The monolithic "Defy the Dark" delivers the most sustainable example for the state of agony of the singer. Each and every word seems to be a torture for him. In terms of the composition itself, the sinister aura grows constantly like a cancerous ulcer - fortunately, without being harmful to health. Its creeping rhythm explores the possibilities of slowness. Despite the song's length of nearly nine minutes and its shortage of breaks, "Defy the Dark" does not display any signs of tediousness. Additionally, when reflecting the daily hustle and bustle at the office, I realise that monotony is not a bad thing per se. Needless to say that the remaining tracks avoid surprising twists and turns as well. Based on a solid riffing, they do not need to be varied with an overdose of breaks. The consistency of the individual pieces is of primary importance and the pretty short guitar solos are well assimilated.

Warhammer do not push this type of extreme music on the next level. I am quite unsure whether this well lubricated engine purveys extreme music at all. The lads just play metal with low tuned guitars and a dark voice while relying on a fairly conservative pattern. Of course, any kind of friendly atmosphere is missing. But the groundbreaking rawness and the smell of decay, that the inventors of this sound - did I already say that they originated from Switzerland? - created, do not show up as well. The listener does not step in a cruel surrounding. You must decide whether you like this slightly more moderate approach or not. I have no problem with this way of proceeding in view of the mainly well designed compositions. In particular "Mankind's Darkest Day", which is characterised by its up-tempo rhythm and a catchy riff at the beginning, is convincing on whole line. Nevertheless, "Deathchrist" does not mark a milestone of the death / doom genre, because a few songs remain inconspicuous. But it collects robust tracks that form its homogeneous overall impression. No stuff for snobbish academics, just powerful metal.

Fuck Tom GAY-briel Fischer - HAIL HELL/WARHAMMER! - 88%

Vic, August 9th, 2002

"Deathchrist" is the second album from retro-band Warhammer, the band that imitates Hellhammer (the band) SO much they probably owe Tom Warrior royalties. I picked this album up after reading the review of their first album (also here on LARM), but even that didn't prepare me for the level of imitation this band operates on. Trust me - this band sounds EXACTLY like Hellhammer, except maybe that they recorded on better equipment. The guitar, bass, and drum sounds are identical, vocalist Volker Frederich sounds JUST like "Satanic Slaughter", and the way the riffs and songs are built are in exactly that same 'slightly-punkish-but-heavy-and-evil' way. The first five seconds of the album's opener "This Graveyard Earth" even sound suspiciously like "The Third of the Storms", and to go even farther they do their own 'Triumph of Death' on this album. Here it's called "Defy the Dark", but it's the same kind of thing - long-open-chord-and-sparse-drumbeat opener than winds its way to a mid-paced CRUSHING riff, and the song lasts about ten minutes. Fucking classic.

Maybe some people have a problem with clone bands like this, but I can only counter this with two statements: 1) most 'clone' bands really don't try to simply copy COMPLETELY the style of ONE band like this; Warhammer comes so close to the original the lines blur - you could say 'these are lost Hellhammer sessions' and I'd probably believe you. And 2) seeing as Tom GAYbriel Fischer has been shitting all over his own past for over 15 years now, we're definitely not going to get any new Hellhammer out of him; why not let someone who DOES like the style carry it forward? HAIL WARHAMMER!

(Originally published at LARM (c) 2000)