The album cover provides a good clue: Iron Storm Evocation is raw, primitive, and thoroughly necrotic. It’s also one hell of a hell-ripping ride.
The album is the full-length debut by Finland’s Neutron Hammer, the culmination of nine years of effort that included a demo and two EPs. It doesn’t boast zooming technicality, ground-breaking creativity, or melodic hooks that you’ll be humming days later, but for this kind of music who wants or needs that? What Iron Storm Evocation brings is 40 minutes of blasphemous black thrashing death mixed with venomous black ‘n’ roll that’s a shitload of evil fun. It exerts a kind of animal magnetism that has brought me back to it repeatedly over the last month.
With few exceptions, the music barrels ahead at high speed with high distortion, and although the production quality isn’t really lo-fi, it’s close enough to coat everything in grime. The dominant musical style is blasting blackened thrash with rapid-fire chords and hammering percussion, sometimes blazing away with enough speed to fuse everything into the proverbial wall of noise. But no song on the album is really all one thing.
Even on the tracks where rolling hellfire is king, you get changes in rhythm and riffing that bring the beats of old-school punk, crust and d-beat, Motörhead on an open throttle, and pretty close to straight-up rock, without ever losing the authentic air of thoroughly blackened filthiness. There’s a dose of Venom and Hellhammer, an injection of of Impaled Nazarene and Nunslaughter, and even a bit of Discharge, to go along with the hailstorm of infernal thrashing.
As mentioned, Neutron Hammer don’t ease up on the throttle very often, but there are exceptions. With less than a minute left, “Devastate Ritual” drops into a ghastly stomp, and the album’s closing track (“Menstrual Mass”) is mid-paced, verging on death/doom, right up until 1:20 remaining when it accelerates into a thrashy, punk-flavored romp. (“Menstrual Mass” is the one song most unlike the rest of the album, so it’s interesting that it’s one of only two that have been put up for streaming before the release date.)
The death metal feel in the music comes primarily from the vocals: Kaosbringer is a near-ringer for Martin Van Drunen of Asphyx fame. His echoing howls are downright bestial and he elevates into demonic shrieks that could bring the dead bolt-upright in terror. Even when the music shifts into those catchy black ‘n’ roll beats, his vocals (most of which you can understand) still drench everything in ghastly depravity.
I guess it’s fair to say that despite the almost ever-present fusillades of satanic blasting, this album is also retrograde, in the sense that it pulls heavily from a long-ago era when extreme metal hadn’t yet separated itself out into the more distinct genres of thrash, black metal, and death metal, and when primal punk chords still breathed in the music. That variety in the music, and the palpable air of authenticity, is a big part of why I’m digging this album so damned much.
Here are the two songs that have premiered so far:
“War Fucking War”
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Iron Storm Evocation will be released on September 3 by Primitive Reaction and can be ordered on CD or vinyl here. The cover art is by the Reverend Kriss Hades, guitarist for Australia’s Sadistik Exekution. Neutron Hammer’s Facebook page is at this location, and they have a Bandcamp page with previous releases that you can reach via this link.