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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ragehammer - The Hammer Doctrine

Artist: Ragehammer
Release Title: The Hammer Doctrine
Year: 2016
Label: Pagan Records
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal
1. First Wave Black Metal
2. Unleash the Dogs
3. Wróg
4. Warlord's Fall
5. Knives
6. I Am the Tyrant
7. Pure Hatred
8. From Homo Sapiens to Homo Raptor
9. Spotkanie z Diabłem (Krzysztof Klenczon i Trzy Korony cover)

The debut full-length from Polish black/thrashers Ragehammer offers a hugely enjoyable take on the style with all the full-on promise from their early days realized in the flesh. The basic riffing style is full-throttle and viciously savage thrash metal at it’s heart, utilizing the intensity and aggression at full chaotic bents and dive-bombing along throughout the album here which generates a relentless energy rattling through frenzied arrangements that takes their thrash roots at the fullest. It’s energy is given a fuller sheen with the dirty black metal rhythms that take on a far greater appeal here due to the seamless meshing with the thrash riffing which leaves this one overall feeling absolutely devastating with the savage thrashing riff-work taking plenty of dirty rhythms that has so much connection together which fully makes this one seem incredibly old-school in approach. Alongside the rather ravenous rhythms brought up here, the band also manages to dip rather nicely into the past with their rather fine ability to carve out a solid mid-tempo style that charges along quite nicely here since this one does tend to ease up on the throttle here. As it does go for more of a charging attitude during those sections, these charging attitudes tend to speak to more of the old-school approach on display with the ravenous, frenzied riffing being offset by the tight chugging for a stylish counterpoint and making for an even more dramatic break against the thrashing, giving this a strong and impressive overall sound. The album only really stumbles in a few small areas, mostly the cover track at the end which feels too simple and different from the rest of their original material but it’s still a walloping, dynamic debut.

The first half here gets this started incredibly well. Opener ‘First Wave Black Metal’ takes a thumping mid-tempo series of riff-work before racing along to furious filthy thrashing riffing and speed-drenched rhythms as the up-tempo series of frantic drumming and ravenous riff-work brings the speed along through the solo section swarming through the final half for a spectacular opening impression. ‘Unleash the Dogs’ features a slow dirge of pounding drumming and a churning series of riffing that fires through blistering thrash riffing with frantic drumming careening throughout the unrelenting riff-work as the ravenous patterns build in speed and intensity throughout the finale for a truly ripping highlight. ‘Wróg’ fires through furious, frantic drumming and stellar thrashing riffing with full-throttle tempos charging along through a series of dive-bomb pattern rhythms offering frenetic razor-wire patterns carrying plenty of speed and intensity reaching a feverish pitch in the final half for another explosive and chaotic highlight. ‘Warlord's Fall’ uses ravenous drumming, tight razor-wire riffing and blistering rhythms to careen through a frantic series of mid-tempo patterns that nicely drop off into a series of stellar swarming sections plodding through the middle before firing through the finale for a highly enjoyable offering. ‘Knives’ takes swirling riffing and steady charging drumming along a thrashing mid-tempo series of spindly rhythms featuring plenty of thumping patterns holding the steady paces along through the sprawling sections in the mid-section as the pounding drumming turns into a series of ravenous rhythms along through the final half for a strong overall effort.

The second half here is just as explosive and intense as the first. ‘I Am the Tyrant’ features swirling mid-tempo rhythms and utterly relentless drumming marching along to a feverish tempo with plenty of dirty thrashing riff-work careening along to the rumbling bass-lines as the savage, driving patterns keeping the energetic tempos along into the finale for another strong highlight. ‘Pure Hatred’ utilizes ravenous swirling riff-work and pounding thrash drumming winding along through a series of intense patterns while the rhythms soon drop off into mid-tempo charging paces with plenty of pounding swirling drumming bringing along the frenzied chaotic thrashing into the final half for a dynamic and impressive effort. ‘From Homo Sapiens to Homo Raptor’ uses utterly ravenous thrashing and plenty of explosive drumming raging along through the up-tempo paces with the swirling patterns rattling along to the razor-wire riff-work careening along through the blistering full-throttle tempos racing through the finale for a truly enjoyable and raging thrasher. Finally, the Krzysztof Klenczon i Trzy Korony cover ’Spotkanie z Diabłem’ uses the punk-lined rhythms and blistering energy quite well with the frantic off-the-rails intensity and speed carried over quite nicely and feels at home with their other work if only the simplistic material didn’t stand at odds with their other thrashier work, but is still a solid and engaging lasting impression.

There’s a lot to like here with the album’s viciousness and intensity running quite heavily here as the heavy thrash influence takes centerstage in creating a fantastic energy that makes this a wholly appealing effort that will undoubtedly appeal to old-school thrash or dirty black metal.

Score: 96/100

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