Album Review: HAMMERHEDD – Nonetheless


Hammerhedd: Nonetheless

February 24th, 2023


Emerging extreme tech metal savants HAMMERHEDD have announced the follow-up
to their debut studio album, 2020’s ‘Grand Currents’. The fraternal Kansas City-based outfit
will release their sophomore LP, ‘Nonetheless’, on February 24, 2023. There have been very few bands that made me do a double-take upon hearing/seeing them; high pitched singing coming out of the caveman-like Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria, angelic then shit-blistering guttural vocals over jazz chords from Tatyana Shmailyuk and company of Jinjer, and today I’m pleased to say that the boys in Hammerhedd have managed to curb stomp me into a realm of chunky peanut butter riffs and joy by exposing me to their latest onslaught of djent-meets-sludge magic.

Having released their previous album, Essence of Iron, in 2018; Hammerhedd look to unleash their sophomoric premiere this February 24th. The album is called Nonetheless, and it is nothing less than a ripper. The upcoming release from the Ismert brothers is chock full of weirdly wonderful time signatures, robust rhythmic riffery, and very vicious vocalizations (yes, I’m aware of the alliteration; no, I will not apologize for it). The album opens with “Pioneer To Be”, a tremendous initiation into what is an impressive overall feat of ferality in sound. It slowly builds and takes the listener on a journey through a droning rhythm and a riff that builds toward a climax with the accompaniment of harsh vocals by singer/guitarist, Henry Ismet, that are reminiscent of Gojira’s Joe Duplantier. It eases you in before the oddly timed yet wonderfully weird “Tunnel” pummels you like a wound-up whack-a-mole aficionado on a crack bender.

Third track, “The Richest Man In Town”, gives shades of Fear Factory before diving headfirst into a bluesy jazz guitar break with enough soul to resurrect BB King for one more jam session. It builds back up into proggy djent chugs while the vocals burst in like the Kool-Aid Man through a brick wall. There’s a nice short transition piece that builds into a chuggy “Meshuggah in slow-motion” A rhythm that makes one’s cranium go up and down involuntarily. This track, “Snakes At Bay”, is followed up by the title track, Nonetheless, which puts the listener in an uneasy trance that they can’t help but to enjoy.

The trance continues in “Fruition” as the brothers send you into a haze of Gojira influence with dual vocal patterns, rhythmic riffs, and a booming bottom end that leaves you wanting more. However, the wanting waits when the song abruptly ends and you’re met with the haunting piano piece, “Down The Hall And To Your Left”. The tones begin to melt into each other as “Synthesis Pt. 1” gradually emerges and a rhythmic riff reminiscent of a lost Tool catalog shakes the speakers. The track builds with tribal Soulfly tones until it evolves into the even proggier “Synthesis Pt. 2”, which pulses in your head like a heartbeat before devolving into the closing soundscape; “Lost”.

This is a group who has a bright future ahead of them as they gradually grow in popularity. Nonetheless will surely propel them into the eyes of more metal fans that love smooth songwriting coupled with rhythmic risk-taking. It’s worth mentioning that these brothers have chemistry that we see throughout the album. that keeps their formula tight with precise bass-playing from Abe Ismet and kick work from drummer Eli Ismet; and with many years ahead of them, there’s no telling how much tighter they will get as a unit.

There’s plenty of time for them to ride out their entire young adulthood in a sprinter van or tour bus roaming the roads of the world and playing for ravenous raging regional fanboys and girls, because while this band is already rock-solid, they’re only getting started. Personally, I can’t wait to see where they are five to ten years down the road. If the sky’s the limit, they’ve already burst through the stratosphere.

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