HAMMERSTAR “Hammerstar”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Damn! True metal fans, get ready to make some room in your collections for HAMMERSTAR! These guys are honest about paying tribute to the greats like PRIEST and MAIDEN and they really excel at hitting that mark. Sure, there are many bands floating around in the so-called “NWOTHM” movement, but very few have the heart and quality that I hear on this debut.

Yes, this can be considered a “tribute” album, but HAMMERSTAR give it their all and the result is an album that had me banging from first to last. The musicianship is top notch at all levels and the record has a great, rich production that just pops for every instrument. Lead singer Quimby Lewis, formerly of SKULLVIEW, has an awesome voice in the Dio/Dickinson vein and if you really want to dig deep into classic metal roots, he also sounds a lot like the late, great Carl Albert of VICIOUS RUMORS. That’s high praise coming from me and if you got a first name like Quimby, you sure as hell better have some lung power. Lead guitarist Johnny Frankenshred also has an eye-rolling name, but his fingers fly across the frets and every song on this album has scorching metal solos of the purest steel.

HAMMERSTAR don’t piss around with a lot of semi-ballads and overblown power metal stuff. They go for the throat with fast, crunchy tunes like “Midnight Ride”, “Soul Reaper”, “Path of the Brave” and so on. The first 9 out of 10 songs all thump like lost tracks from “Painkiller” and “Piece of Mind”. On the last song “What Have I Become”, they finally ease up a bit to give us a METAL CHURCH-style power ballad of high quality.

When you do an album that’s such an obvious tip of the hat to the greats, you need to take care you put out a top of the line product. Have no fear with HAMMERSTAR! This is metal in the truest sense.