Hammercult
Built For War
(Steamhammer/SPV)

While heavy music’s history isn’t the same without talented Jewish musicians, Israel isn’t exactly a hotbed for great metal. Outside of Orphaned Land, isn’t difficult without the aid of Google to name any Isreali imports. Thanks to the excellent third album (and second for SPV) by Hammercult, you can add one more great band to that list. Hammercult definitely takes its main influence from thrash metal, but Built For War is successful because of the wide expanse of genres employed throughout this great release. Based on the cover art, you’d guess that the band sounds like Amon Amarth, and you’d be absolutely right. Hammercult’s music is, above all things, a call to arms, a rallying cry meant to be shared in a live setting. What helps Hammercult rise above many other death/thrash bands is there’s layers of symphonic metal, black metal, all with a modern element underlying the whole thing. Many sections sound like Anaal Nathrakh if they took some Prozac. It all comes together to create a sound that is, at all times, fun and meant to be heard live. I can imagine Hammercult’s shows would be fantastic.

The only nagging problem that the band didn’t quite figure out on Build For War is that, while each of these songs is fun and results in an album that’s a blast to listen to, it’s all rather forgettable. I’ve listened to the album at least a dozen times, and I can’t really pick anything out of it, other than that “fun factor”. None of the choruses are particularly catchy, and they get in the way of the excellent riffs, solos, and propulsive rhythm section, even if those aspects aren’t particularly memorable. Hammercult’s specialty is making an old style sound modern, and they do that with flair on their third album; they just haven’t figured out quite yet how to take the next leap into true greatness. For now, this set of songs should be the perfect recruitment tool for Hammercult to bring new fans into their fold. (Nicholas Senior)

Purchase Built For War on iTunes here.

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