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HANOVER FIST


HANOVER FIST 

"HF III"

By Dark Starr

I have to admit that I never heard of this band before. They originally came out in the mid-90s, but honestly, their sound seems rooted in older eras, at least as represented here. This album seems like a lot of it is tied to the NWOBHM sound. After the death of their drummer, they broke up for a few years, but are now back, and this new set is on fire. I hope they continue putting out music because this is such a strong CD. 

The opening "Outta My Head" is incendiary. I dig the killer riff that opens it, and it's a smoking hot number that really pounds out with style and fury. It's a great opener. There is a raw edge, and this makes me think of NWOBHM styled metal. 

With some real raunch and roll in the mix, "Jukebox Dancer" is another killer metal tune. The riffs aren't as magical as those on the opener, but this still rocks like crazy. The guitar soloing is particularly tasty. 

A lot of times the third slot on a metal album is devoted to a ballad. Well, "Cats and Dogs" is not a ballad, but it is much slower than the previous tunes. It still has plenty of true steel in the mix. I really love the guitar sound on this, actually. "Dreamin" almost seems like it doesn't really fit the set - yet it does. It's more of a power-pop tune. It makes me think of bands like OFF BROADWAY, CHEAP TRICK and ENUFF ZNUFF. 

They waste no time getting back to the fierce with "Room with a View." There is a punky edge to the song, but overall it really feels like NWOBHM. It is raw and has some killer riffs. "Captain" is a tune that makes good use of the contrast between faster and slower sections. It's a nautical number that is one of the highlights of the set. Everything about it just works so well, from the lyrics to the song structure and guitar solo. 

An unusual two-fer, "Sweet Leaf" / "Peace Pipe" is next.  As you might imagine, they start it with a cover of the BLACK SABBATH song, right down the opening cough. They play it pretty straightforward and faithful. They turn that out into a cool psychedelic rock metal sound with original lyrics after the first verse, but come back to the chorus and second verse from there. The new verse that comes after the second SABBATH one has a rap metal vibe. They continue the mashup concept by bringing it back to the original for the instrumental break. They take this sort of bybrid concept through the duration, and it's an intriguing blending. 

I really dig the main riff on the screamer titled "Risky Business." It isn't anything earth shattering, but it is a powerhouse metal tune. It's one of the highlights of the set. I'm reminded to some degree of a cross between NWOBHM and METALLICA. "See You Again" is next, and there is such a great classic metal vibe to the screamer. I love the guitar fills, but the whole song is just plain effective. it is another standout. 

I love the mean guitar sound on "Quest." The tune has a bit of a thrashy element to it, but probably leans more toward doom metal. They have definitely hit the best part of the album by this point because this is another standout.  The next number on the disc is a cover of the SCORPIONS'  Blackout." They deliver a solid version. It's a bit rawer than the original, but fairly faithful beyond that. 

"Buzzsaw" has such a great doom metal sound. It's a mid-tempo number that just oozes old-school BLACK SABBATH sound. There are some interesting changes, and it is a killer tune.  While not a big change, "Neurotica" is another effective metal stomper. The cut earns a parental advisory. A galloping guitar riff starts the closing, "Mean Ole Axe" a bit like a metal version of old-school QUEEN. The tune is very much a callback to the days of NWOBHM. It's a solid, if not standout, tune.