Hammercult – “Built For War” CD / DVD (Steamhammer / SPV)
Borne out of a nation in never ending struggle, Israel’s Hammercult are aptly named and come matched with a sound that could level a city! Fronted by the fearsome biceps of vocalist Yakir Von Hammer, Hammercult mix old school thrash with raucous punk and black metal, along with tastefully melodic guitars that give the band a real epic style, fitting for a band that reflects the religious turmoil of this ancient region. If the sheer range of vocals – screams to growls, hardcore shouts to clean – are anything to go by, then Hammercult’s influences are equally diverse, drawing from Destruction, The Haunted, DRI and to a lesser degree Manowar and Judas Priest. It’s by no means original, but I have to commend the way Von Hammer and guitarist Guy Ben David have composed the 13 songs here as they are the perfect synthesis of aggression with passionate melodies and some excellent musicianship. With a suitably warlike cover from Péter Sallai (Sabaton, Civil War etc) and big, bombastic sound production courtesy of legendary Tue Madsen (Dark Tranquility, Moonspell and a million more!) that does fine justice to songs like the socially critical ‘Spoils Of War’ which pulls no punches aimed at the political system for serving the Middle East arms race, ‘Blood And Fire’ that mixes black, melodic death and hardcore epically, and in what has become the band’s clarion call ‘I Live For This Shit’, which sums up Von Hammer’s drive and quest as he spreads the war machine known as Hammercult to roar of the crowd and the strength he gets on the road from the people he meets across the world – powerful stuff indeed! With a 9 track DVD recorded live in Tel Aviv bringing the band’s famed live show now to the masses, “Built For War” does exactly what it says on the warning label – so give yourself plenty of cover!