Every once in a while a band will break through that just feels as if it should have always been there. North Hammer are new on the scene and their latest album Stormcaller is also their very first. Smashing a great wedge between bands like Wintersun, Norther, Ensiferum, Tyr and Moonsorrow, North Hammer are holding their Extreme Folk Metal high like a badge of honour. North Hammer being both a nod to Thor’s Hammer and the North or Winter themes common place in Metal according to the man behind the Hammer – Andrew James.
Stormcaller sounds polished and well thought out from the get go. Launched up melodic guitar riffs upon energetic drums and excitingly aggressive rasped vocal stylings and quickly an epic sense of victory takes hold. Managing to keep this atmosphere constant is no easy feat for a band and North Hammer manages to keep a good balance throughout. Powerful pieces of Metal are partnered with atmospheric folk melodies to give peace as a calm before a storm. This just gets the energy tense and even higher to launch into another powerful moment for the album.
Managing to make the songs powerful, distinct and melodic can be quite a challenge. This shows a maturity to the album which is surprising on a first record. Songs such as ‘A Soldier’s Song’ and ‘Written in the Stars’ manage this within one song managing to push the epic edge to their sound. But this doesn’t stop other songs from being headbangers and moshpit marches. ‘North Hammer’ is like a call to arms for all Metallers and holds nothing back.
In many ways the album opens on its high with ‘Avatar’, a song that perfectly moulds violence with the melodies of the guitar that knows when to speed up and keep things slow and underpins the entire album – it perfectly sets it up. But to say that this track dwarfs the rest of the album would be doing Stormcaller a disservice. There is plenty to keep the album interesting, noteworthy and keeping with you. For a band to start things off on such a high note with such an album is a rarity and therefore, there will be a lot more from the violent hammer from the northern lands recalled through Canada’s very own North Hammer.