Fisthammer: Devour All You See

Without ripping up the blueprint for the genre US melodic death metal band Fisthammer have unleashed a debut album that twists and turns with eager pleasure to inspire and excite.  Devour All You See may not break down walls and venture into new plains but there are not many releases that invigorate the appetite and fuel the need for technical melodic extreme metal as much as this does. It has all the right ingredients to thrill and a skill to use them in an imaginative and creative manner, really all one needs in a great album.

Formed in the chilled twilight months of 2008 Fisthammer have consistently gained strong attention in their home of Philadelphia and beyond with their early three track demo and subsequent six track EP as well as many impressive tours throughout the US. Now with Devour All You See their debut album recorded at Atrium Audio with Carson Slovak, the quartet of guitarists/vocalists Max Svalgard and Kevin Welch, bassist David Jordan Bressler, and drummer Danny Piselli look set to make a wider mark and dent in metal as their release reaches and violates many more ears around the world.

Devour All You See is a nicely varied album, the band mixing up the intensity, pace and attack from song to song ensuring an album that is unpredictable and intriguing. It frequently breaks down the ear with a monstrous assault but just as often enflames it with well crafted scorched melodic invention and impressive technical ability. It is a release that sparks up a firm focus every time it attaches itself to the ear and though it stays within the established walls of death metal it offers an originality that makes it stand out.

Opening with the dark haunting of Intro / The Final Hour of Darkness and its ominous atmosphere the album truly wakes with a vengeance as the following Razor Waves explodes in the ear. The track digs deep and grips hard as riffs flay the flesh and acidic guitar play intrudes on the open wounds. With beats carrying as much firepower as a machine gun the song leads the senses into a meld of intensive and melodic power, all harsh and all very appetising.

The whole album attacks with the same venom and intent but with distinctly varying ways. The challenging Aten: Fear The Obliteration Of Earth brings a groove that twists and teases feelings into misshapen grinning victims; it pretty much continues the approach of its predecessor just to greater heights and glory. Then we have the likes of the excellent Bullet Rape, all persistence and insistence that one succumbs to under its razor sharp drilling of the senses through blistered melodies and unrelenting energy, and the more deliberate and attentive pace of Doom Of The Gods, a song that offers a more expressive and  thoughtful expansive exploration of the emotions. Both tracks as varied as they are powerful, and the evidence of the craft and imagination the band possesses and if there is one slight moan they do not necessarily bring out enough upon Devour All You See.

The constant across the album is the guttural venomous vocals which growl and prowl every corner of the songs. Though they do not bring much variation in delivery it actually works really well against the constantly changing sounds and directions of the music behind them, with tracks like Harvest and the mighty Zombocalypse just two fine examples.  The last of these two is an unrelenting intrusion that manipulates and teases with a groove that picks and pinches the senses eagerly and with venom, the best song on the album.

Devour All You See is an inventive and imaginative album within a defined sphere and also a very satisfying one. Fisthammer have a strong future ahead and from the evidence of the album death metal also some exciting moments ahead too.

RingMaster 20/03/2012

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