HAMMERSCHMITT – Still On Fire (2016)
“Still On Fire” is the new album by Germans HAMMERSCHMITT released today. I never heard about them until now although the band has been around since 1997, and the musicians had made music together for 10 years before under the name Pierrot. Maybe the reason is that their albums were recorded in German language, and this limited the band world-wide.
So the guys had the bright idea to regroup and then rebound. They released two five song EP’s in English both independently produced and self-released, and seems the quality attracted Massacre Records who are releasing this “Still On Fire”, Hammerschmitt’s first ‘international’ album.
At first glance the band’s name, the cover artwork and their recording label made think of a heavy metal band. Fortunately, Hammerschmitt’s “Still On Fire” is all about classic hard rock, with a slight melodic metal touch here and there, but basically, classy melodic hard with an ’80s feel.
With ‘Rock Steady’ the Bavarians kick off from the beginning. Banging double-guitars, powerful double bass. A neckbreaker par excellence. ‘Sanctuary’ is partly affected by vocal harmonies that should animate the listener to sing along, plus there are guitar melodies which go directly into the ear. The title track is a bit quieter but no less powerful, with a catchy chorus like an hymn.
Despite its title, ‘Metalheadz’ is not a sleaze tune but a fine slice of arena-ready hard rock driven by a melting riff and contagious harmony vocals. ‘Shout’ adds a lot of groove to the proceedings, then arrives a surprise; ‘Zombie’, a Cranberries cover. In the metal version I like this song almost better than the original. Close to the original but significantly harder played. Very cool.
Hammerschmitt are able to create good ballads too, ‘Crazy World’, which not only shares the name with some Scorpions work but musically as well. It sure will provide burning lighters and glowing cell phones at concerts. Melodic clean guitars, punchy drums and impressive choruses ensure sufficient goosebumps.
Then ‘Whoohoo’ bring back hard rocking riffs and a festive rhythm with a little Seventies influences. The album concludes with the quiet ballad-like ‘Killed By Death’, the type of slow tunes the likes of Praying Mantis used to create in the early Eighties crowned by a brilliant melodic guitar solo.
Several decades of stage experience and skills to write solid classic hard rock songs it’s what you got clear about Hammerschmitt after “Still On Fire” first listen.
With the really well crafted & produced eleven songs they clearly show where the rubber meets the road. Here are musicians at work who are still far from the scrap heap, guys who nailed the genre from its roots.
01 – Rock Steady
02 – Sanctuary
03 – Still on Fire
04 – Metalheadz
05 – Shout
06 – Zombie
07 – One Helluva Night
08 – Mean Streak
09 – Crazy World
10 – Whoohoo
11 – Killed by Death
Benjamin Kroiss – Vocals
Gernot Kroiss – Guitar
Andreas Summer – Guitar
Stefan Kroiss – Drums
Armin Zelzer – Bass
BUY IT !