Sometimes, I think it might be a good thing if the people who believe in God (that is to say, the mentally ill) were to turn their attentions to the blasphemy of the metal community and bomb the shit out of Bloodstock. Not that I have anything against Bloodstock you understand, every time I’ve attended it’s been a first rate experience. No, what I’m getting at here is the saturation of the scene. You could literally listen to a band like Fuckhammer every day for the rest of your life and not have listened to half the bands there are that are like Fuckhammer. In light of that the instant destruction of a good two thirds of the UK’s metal community might unclog the arteries of the scene, currently furred by the myriad uninspired bands that impede the flow of decent music. Destroy and rebuild, as they say.
The flip side is the argument that the sheer amount of average or copycat bands forces those with the ability to do so to come up with something either truly fresh and original or a superbly composed and flawlessly written example of its genre to gain true recognition and rise above their contemporaries, i.e. the sheer saturation of the scene forces constant improvement from its elite practitioners, bettering metal as a whole. Whatever the case may be, it should be clear to you by now, dear reader, that Fuckhammer represent, at the very best, the shoulders that the elite of the scene stand on to get where they’re going, rather than a musical force in their own right.
They play a strange hybrid of genres. The music says sludge but the production and vocals say death metal, and they way they’ve combined the two aren’t really doing them any favours. The clinical production and triggered drums, while inarguably well-mixed, rob the sludgy riffs of the raggedness and well… sludge that they need, while the simplistic nature of the music only highlights the artificiality of the production. What’s the point in having a clicky, triggered kick dominating the mix when the kick isn’t really doing much except sitting on the one and three of the beat? Clinical production in metal is a developed response to complex music. Tech death and widdly power metal need it so the listener can easily pick out superhuman flurries of notes and hyperseed blastbeats. Doom and black metal by contrast trade more on atmosphere than technique and are denuded of their mystery when over-produced. Unfortunately for Fuckhammer their chosen combination of genre tropes leaves them sounding less like a really heavy sludge band and more like a really boring death metal band.
Hammered to Fuck is a short CD, clocking in at a bite-sized 15 minutes, but because of what I’ve said above I still found it out-staying its welcome a little bit. The real tragedy here is that Fuckhammer aren’t actually a bad band. They’re tight, and a lot of the riffs groove hard. They’re just not really doing anything to distinguish themselves from the pack. Combine this with their unfortunate production job and you have a CD that most people probably won’t get much from. If you’re a real sludge completionist it might be worth your time. But to anyone else, I’d recommend going to a Fuckhammer show instead, as the visceral aggression of a live performance will undoubtedly suit them better than the confines of the studio.