Head Hammer Man


This Swedish Sludge Metal act is releasing a fine album, indeed.
June 21, 2024

Must a musical genre have a proper way of sounding? This question can raise passionate debates about two main sides: yes or no. Examples: if yes, bands as DIMMU BORGIR, CRADLE OF FILTH, IMMORTAL and others can’t be said as a part of Black Metal trench due the fine sound quality of their albums (contrasting with classic names as BATHORY, VENOM, MAYHEM, DARKTHRONE and others had on their prime days); if not, why the things must be done in this filthy and ‘lo-fi’ sense? Such question is what moves many bands to expand limits. But some prefer to stay on the limits and don’t upset the fans, as the Swedish quartet HORNDAL, as heard on “Head Hammer Man”.

Pontus Levahn (the band’s drummer) signs the production of the album, having Anton Sundell and Niclas Lindström on the recordings (and Carl Gustavsson and Varg Lund as recording assistants), and Simon Söderberg on the mixing and Magnus Lindberg on the mastering. The idea was to have a filthy and organic outfit that could be understood, but things could be a bit cleaner than is presented, especially because it could be better for French horn, Organ, Piano, Minimoog, Vocoder and effects that are in the album to be in this way. Well, it’s clear that this album is on a Sludge Metal form, using the same abrasive and intense, with harsh vocals and some cleaner ones. But they don’t stay attached just to the genre, using a lot of influences inherited from Psychedelic Rock, Stoner Rock and Acid Rock on their music, and even some Progressive Rock lysergic touches, but never losing the melodic grasp and catchy appeal. And it’s good, full of personality and a crude energy.

The ten tracks of “Head Hammer Man” are telling a history of a leader of their own country, so all the songs were built to have the same level. But for the lazy ones, “Head Hammer Man” (the contrasts between abrasive parts with lysergic moments are very good, with a charming and simple technical appeal), “Calling: Labor” (this one depicts some very good melodic hooks, with excellent guitars and pulsing bass guitar), “Fuck the Scabs” (a thunderous and aggressive song with some nasty melodies entwined by Hardcore hooks), “Famine” (a fine song with the melodic temper coming from some keyboards parts, and what good work on the drums), “Blacklisted” (an intense and hooking song filled with an outstanding energy), “The Shining Specter” (a thunderous and sabbathic’ moment with slower tempos and a nasty appeal), and “Orange Legacy” will do the presentations to what the album is about.

HORNDAL really did a fine work on “Head Hammer Man”, and they have guts to defy models. Taste it, and you won’t regret the experience.

8 / 10









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"Head Hammer Man" Track-listing:

Henrik Levahn - Vocals, Guitars
Fredrik Boëthius Fjȁrem - Guitars
Daniel Ekeroth - Bass
Pontus Levahn - Drums, Guitars, Piano, Percussion

Horndal Lineup:
  1. Head Hammer Man
  2. Calling: Labor
  3. Exiled
  4. Fuck the Scabs
  5. Famine
  6. Blacklisted
  7. The Shining Specter
  8. Evictions
  9. Orange Legacy
  10. Creature Cages
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