Home > TheRest > Hammerhead – Into the Vortex

Hammerhead – Into the Vortex

Amphetamine Records, 1994

Apparently there are eight bands out there that have been named ‘Hammerhead’, though I’m sure only one of them released records that had killer retro sci fi covers.  The group’s photos on the insider cover make them look rather grim in what appear to be futuristic spaceman uniforms, yet that sullen look combined with the festive cover art made the record a bit of a mystery.  The band’s name does look sort of surfish, but the way that astronaut guy is running away from it I had a feeling these guys might be loud.  Then again, astronaut guy could hate country music and that’s why he looks so fearful.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, I had no idea what this was going to sound like.

It turns out that Hammerhead sounds like the typical rough around the edges hard rock band, though unlike the groups that tend to smash it out all the time, Hammerhead have enough creativity to make the music a little more interesting.  “Swallow” is an introductory track that lays out the noise and shouting, but it’s ultimately not a strong tune.  It’s when “The Starline Locomotive” comes on where Hammerhead begin to show what they can do.  It has a menacing bass intro by Apollo Liftoff (aka Paul Erickson) before Interloper’s (aka Paul Sanders) guitar wavers in.  The calm build up to a heightened conclusion show that Hammerhead aren’t in any hurry to get a song over with and prefer to draw the listener in to their sometimes melodic noise.

Other songs that stand out for me is the droning yet angry “All This Is Yours”.  The lyrics sounds as if the author is infatuated with a female celebrity from an old magazine, which I guess is understandable if it’s all about Farrah Fawcett or Cheryl Tiegs, right?  “Brest” is one of the more aggressive songs that has an utterly merciless showing from the drummer Isolation DH-9 (aka Jeff Mooridian Jr).  The heavy instrumental “Galaxy 66” is a nice break from the raspy vocals, but it merely is a setup song for the long “Journey to the Center of Tetnus 4”.  Unfortunately, “Journey” is seven minutes of solid hard rock with poor wordless vocals.  Regardless, it’s a pretty good send off for a decent rock record.

Go listen to a few tunes from Hammerhead at their Last.fm page.

I’ve heard a lot of hardcore bands over the years and many of them sound very similar as to go forgotten.  Even though Hammerhead contain a lot of qualities of those dime a dozen artists, their periodic forays in tempo variation, as well as their cover art, makes them stand out a little more.  Hammerhead put out one more record after this one before calling it quits, but it apparently was one of their better ones.  If you like what you hear from this record, or wish to find some older hardcore albums to mix up the modern playlist with, go pick up “Duh, the Big City” if you can find it.

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