If it seems like it’s been way too long since we’ve had any new music from Israel’s thrashers HAMMERCULT that’s because it’s true. And even though Steelcrusher has only been out for a year and a half the time between albums from this powerhouse band always feels too long. Fear not though because brand new music is out now in the form of Built For War, recently released by Steamhammer/SPV Records, and it contains no less than 12 fist-in-face thrash metal anthems that are guaranteed to have some of us-I mean some of you, YOU throwing some TV’s out some fifth-floor windows (my lawyer says I can’t do that anymore…). And look at that cover art fer fuck’s sake! So, what are we waiting for? Let’s dig in!!
The first track that truly spoke to me was “Ready to Roll” which goes heavy on the melodic to mass the thrashing intensity. Guitarists Guy Ben David and Yuval Kramer weave such a web full of riffs, runs, and solos, and when my good friend and vocalist Yakir Shochat steps up to the plate this one goes to 11! It’s safe to say I knew this would be my favorite ten seconds in with next song “Raise Some Hell” a close second. Maayan Henik’s drums sound super-crisp and clean, especially his ride cymbal. You can also hear the deep bass lines of Elad Manor clear as day here, something that can be lacking on a lot of modern thrash records.
The Hellride continues with “Blackened Blade” a feisty tune with a shout-along chorus. Shochat has never sounded better than he does here right in the heart of the album. And that’s not to say the first few tracks aren’t great because they sure as fuck are. But it just seems that from tracks five through eight the guys hit their stride and are locked in a zone few if any can touch. “Let It Roar” the last one in this quadruple-play is relentless and sports maybe THE best HAMMERCULT solo ever laid down on record. Just…wow!!
“Rise of the Hammer” differs in tempo and is very heavy and ominous-sounding; a great way to kick things off and get fists pumping. It is followed by “I Live For This Shit” a song destined to be an anthem not only for this band but metal fans the world over. Never afraid to touch on sensitive issues, Shochat mines socio-political territory with “Spoils of War.” And that’s fine because being Israeli born and raised he’s lived through it so he can sing about whatever the hell he wants. “Altar of Pain” is not only another instant classic, but also one that the band should really consider using as the second song in their live set. That fucking guitar intro coming out of an opener will open up pits the size of the grand canyon!
Speaking once again of guitars, man alive this duo of Ben David and Kramer continue to deliver, this time with “Blood and Fire’ which simply soars. Then comes “Saturday Night Circle Pit Fight” all piss and vinegar and THEN closer “Road to Hell” floors it one last time and drives you through a plate glass window! Built For War is a goddamn thrash metal masterpiece and you can take that to the bank, people. Yakir and the boys have done it once again and you all need this one in your lives. If you don’t already know the name HAMMERCULT, I suggest you educate yourself, and quickly…your ears will thank you.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM