I kept seeing the name Hammer Fight on my promo list. For some reason I brushed it off. Nothing urged me to give it a try. Maybe it was the band name (were they hardcore?). Maybe the album title, Profound and Profane. I guess seeing it over and over again put it somewhere in my brain.
These fine young gentlemen from Atlantic City, New Jersey deserved my attention after all. Hammer Fight plays a style of Metal befitting their name – violent, crude, and bloody. Their mix is heavy on Thrash with a smattering of Death and a Motorhead attitude. This being their second full length and first for Napalm Records appears to be a significant step for the band. I say this based purely on a quick perusal of their debut, an album called Chug of War with songs mostly coming in at under 3 minutes and apparently sophomoric and mostly about drinking. Now, some of that is still present, but only sporadically. They seem to have expanded their lyrical content and the songs are more fully developed.
I have to say I have been enjoying Profound and Profane quite a lot. Evoking elements of Venom (though more musically talented) and other Thrash Metal veterans, Hammer Fight pumps out the Metal at a furious pace. Tracks like the first trio of the album – Picking Up Change, Target Acquired, and Into the Dark (absolutely love the simple riff, but hate the fadeout) – will force you to bang your head. Speedy, crunchy, and in your face are elements that come together to make for some excellent, uncomplicated Metal sustenance. The band holds nothing back in their pursuit of crushing us while also being measured in their approach at times, like on Low and Broken, a bluesy acoustic piece that turns into a foot stomper, and on Cell Mates. Nor do they abandon their humorous side either as heard on Good Times in Dark Ages and the speedy Gods of Rock n’ Roll.
Out of left field, Hammer Fight delivers an unexpected instrumental that, stylistically is far different than the remainder of Profound and Profane. The Crate strikes me as almost a straight ahead Power Metal track that I could hear a German band doing. Cult of Conceit lets loose a sonic barrage driving home the point of the album – to pummel us into submission and make us admit that Hammer Fight is a modern Thrash band worthy of hearing.
Check out Good Times in Dark Ages:
I am glad I finally gave Hammer Fight a listen a couple of months after Profound and Profane was released. I can only say that you should do the same. Give yourself a good reason to do some headbanging to this dozen tracks.
I hear the sound in a Metal way.
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