Wolfbastard – Hammer The Bastards
Release Date: 14/01/22
Running Time: 31:28
Review by Laura Barnes
Quick! Grab a hammer, a beer, and a Molotov cocktail, ‘cuz it’s time to go on a rampage! Oh, and don’t forget to grab a coat – it’s mighty cold outside. Not the icy cold of Norwegian mountaintops, mind you. This is the pissy chill of a Manchester night. This is a uniquely British cold.
Hammer The Bastards is Wolfbastard’s third offering of Crust Punk Black Metal goodness and my oh my, what an offering it is! In an era in which Black Metal seems to distance itself from its own hellish roots with the gentle sounds of pseudo genres such as ‘Blackgaze’ and ‘Post-Black Metal Jazz Fusion’ (sorry, White Ward – you know I love you, really), Wolfbastard’s back-to-basics approach is like a breath of fresh, poisonous air. “Hammer The Bastards” is just over half an hour of sheer fist-pumping, head-banging, bloody adrenaline. If you haven’t yet been able to go to a gig since lockdown ended, then just give this album a spin: you will be instantly transported to a basement show in the grottiest pub you have ever seen. Your arm will be bruised purple, and your brow will be drenched in sweat. It will be the most fun you’ve ever had.
‘Buckfast Blasphemies’ is easily the most ‘live’ sounding song on the album. Here, Wolfbastard have accomplished a nigh impossible feat: they have made black metal catchy. This is followed closely by ‘Fear the Exxxekutioner’, a total satanic moshpit of a song that finishes with a fantastically unhinged guitar solo. These songs – alongside other crowd-pleasers such as ‘Pissing on the Sacred Ground’ and ‘Black Friday’ – are a testament to Wolfbastard’s unique frenetic energy. As soon as one song ends, you are flung headfirst into another with little more than a rugged bassline to make sense of your descent. However, whilst these songs are undoubtedly a total fucking hoot and a half, it is actually on the occasions where Wolfbastard break from the formula in which they really shine.
Title track ‘Hammer the Bastards’ is unquestionably the best song on the record; it is also the most unusual. At three minutes and thirty-four seconds long, ‘Hammer the Bastards’ is the longest track on the album, and it earns each and every second. Rather than diving immediately into chaos, ‘Hammer the Bastards’ takes it’s time, gradually building tension with a chilling intro that is overlaid with a sample of a priest giving a fantastically bleak sermon. Once the intro comes to its blood-curdling end, Wolfbastard go straight into what Wolfbastard do best, but this time, something feels different. This time, there is an emotional cutting, a sharpened edge that is perhaps less present on other tracks. When the guitars take charge right before the final chorus, it is, of course, completely fucking buckwild, but there is also a sense of compelling sense of desperation lurking just below the surface. The same goes for a later track on the album, ‘Morbid Fucking Hell’. When vocalist Dez cries out ‘This morbid fucking hell / Tearing at my skin / Ripping up the flesh’ it is positively hair-raising. Wolfbastard’s trademark fury is strangely complemented by this level of hopelessness, allowing the band to reach new emotional heights. With these two songs, Wolfbastard not only showcase their well-established Black Metal chops, but also offer a brief vision of where their music has the potential to go in the future.
All in all, this is not only a rock solid Wolfbastard album, but an important contribution to the wider British Black Metal and Punk scene. Wolfbastard have taken two distinct, controversial genres and fused them together to create something that manages to be both unique and fun. With tracks ‘Hammer the Bastards’ and ‘Morbid Fucking Hell’, Wolfbastard demonstrate just how much emotional depth they care capable of, and I look forward to this being explored further on future albums. In the meantime! Listen to “Hammer the Bastards”! Or else!
‘Black Friday’ Office Single Stream
01. Can’t Escape the Grave
02. Black Friday
03. Hammer he Bastards
04. Buckfast Blasphemies
05. Death Creeping in
06. Drag Me To Hell
07. Fear the Exxxekutioner
08. Morbid Fucking Hell
09. Nun Krüsher
10. Returning Evil
11. Pissing on the Sacred Ground
12. When Will It End
13. Graveyard Slag
Dez – Guitar/Vocals
Si Fox – Bass/Vocals
Dave Buchan – Drums
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