German power metallers Hammer King are set to release their fifth studio album this week, Kingdemonium. We managed to get a sneak preview so read below to see what we thought of it!
The album starts off strong with ‘Invisible King’. An awesome power metal riff is backed up perfectly by some solid drumming. It drops down to drums and bass for the verse, the powerful, higher vocals fitting great over the top. The guitars come back in for the pre, harmonies adding perfectly to the vocals and it all having a huge, epic sound to it.
It then opens up even more in the chorus, it reminding me of Iron Maiden’s ‘Longest Day’ in that the pre is big enough to be a chorus on its own, but the chorus itself takes it to even huger heights. The call and response backing vocals in the chorus make it even catchier, too. We of course get a fantastic guitar solo because power metal, it also reminding me a lot of modern Maiden. The a double chorus takes us home. A simple, straight to the point, awesome rock song. Playlisted!
Another single, ‘Pariah is my Name’, is up next. After another fun, epic metal riff it boarders on thrash territory for a fast verse. It reminds me more of Sabaton when they speed up. The pre feels like it’s building to something huge again but instead it drops back a bit, hitting hard with a straight-forward chorus. It’s still catchy as anything thanks to the great vocal melody and heavy instrumentation. A great riff follows out the second chorus and again leads to a fantastic technical guitar solo. The short bridge leading into the final chorus was also awesome, adding in some chanted vocals that would go down a storm live. Hammer King are two for two so far, another great song playlisted!
‘We Shall Rise’ opens on an extended, awesome harmonic guitar riff. It then heads into exactly what you’ expect from power metal, and it’s awesome. This is similar to the opening track in terms of structure, building more and more epicness throughout the track. The chorus is catchy as anything, especially with the ‘rise’ chants. Pointing out the awesome guitar solo feels redundant at this point but yep, there’s one here too! The rest of the track is again awesome power metalness through and through.
‘Live Long, Die Nasty’, alongside ‘Guardians of the Realm’, ‘Mark of the Beast’, ‘Other Kingdoms Fall’, ‘The Four Horsemen’, and the title track all follow similar formulas. Don’t get me wrong, they are all great songs. Songs that I’ll be listening to a lot still moving forward. They just all abide by the typical intro, (verse + chorus)x2, bridge/solo, chorus end, structure. Lumping them all together as they are all fantastic songs, especially the album closing track. It simply makes this review a nicer read so you aren’t reading the same thing over and over. All good songs, I’ve just already said what I’d want to say about them in previous paragraphs.
‘The 7th of the 7 Kings’ opens straight into vocals, a beautiful clean guitar behind them. The band wear their Maiden influence on their sleeve as this whole thing reminds me so much of Moonchild. And of course, for those who don’t know, go look up what album said song opens. It explodes into a HUGE metal riff after the opening verse before dropping back a bit again for more vocals. The drums and bass were a nice touch this time though, adding some dynamics and layers.
The epicness of course builds through a catchy-ass pre until an absolutely massive chorus comes in. Both sets of vocals, the lead and backing, are catchy as hell and make it all sound Homeric. The duelling lead guitars were fantastic, as were the operatic-style vocals in the background between the solos. Yes, solos. There is more than one and they’re all awesome. The outro is amazing too and I know I’m using the word too much but this whole track gives a new meaning to the word epic. Power metal done very right. Playlisted.
Finally we have the prog track of the album, the near 8-minute epic ‘Age of Urizen’. Opening on a short acoustic guitar riff it soon drops into a huge heavy one. It stays quick and heavy for the riff, again the backing vocals adding an epic edge to it with all the ‘oo’s and ‘oh’s. The chorus opens up into slower, effortlessly catchy vocals.
After a short bridge out of the second chorus we get an amazing duelling lead guitar line, the harmonies sounding excellent. The band do a good job of filling out the sound behind it too, a lot of bands leave it to the low bass and it sounds like a big empty gap, but here it filled out well. The soloing continues for a bit, making me not at all jealous of their talent. We then get another verse and chorus before a catchy-as outro takes us home in style. This didn’t feel like 7:30 at all. It followed the typical structure but gave everything such space to breath that it felt massive. Good stuff!
Overall: This was awesome! Being so up and down with power metal I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did, but I loved it. The band are all insanely good musicians and their songwriting is off the charts. I’m going to have to check out their older stuff now and hopefully they tour in the UK sometime soon!
The Score: 8/10
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