Canadian doom/noise-rock outfit HAMMERHANDS share new single ‘Pleasure Island’
Canadian quartet HAMMERHANDS have been grinding since 2013, having performed with the likes of Sons of Otis, Telekinetic Yeti, King Buffalo, and the Great Sabatini, the band have built a solid following by fluidly integrating elements of doom, stoner rock, and noise with a penchant for technical and thematic constructs that yield relentless heaviness. Now, three years on from their critically acclaimed album ‘Largo Forte’, they are ready to release their third full-length album ‘Model Citizen’.
Gone are the drawn-out soundscapes, the long overtures, and bleak commentaries on existence seen in their previous works; instead, ‘Model Citizen’ churns out an anthology that explores characters in different walks of life. The scope is a polarizing collage that ranges from mundane labours, to the plotting and execution of cursed crimes. These tropes are then paralleled with multi-vocal meandering sermons and subterranean growls.
‘Model Citizen’ is an album that is as intriguing as it is perilously unrelenting. By exploring a range of tonalities, tempos, and raw soundscapes, HAMMERHANDS are able to traverse a number of musical territories. The opening track from the album ‘Pleasure Island’ perfectly exemplifies this, demonstrating the best of the bands unruly, bludgeoning guitar tone, whilst also creating a technically composite and solid rhythmic approach, which brutally rolls out alongside an almost blues-noise strut, leaving the listener feeling transcended.
It’s easy to draw comparisons to the heavier elements of the band’s crushing sound, but it is conversely evident that the band take influences from much further afield, by crafting structures that tend to lean more into the avant-rock realm. Whilst ‘Model Citizen’ still holds its doom and sludge roots proudly on its sleeve, there are also moments that are reminiscent of the likes of Oxbow, The Jesus Lizard, Swans and even Tom Waites buried into this, but not deep enough to be fully submerged, and reworked into something altogether more sinister.
What remains constant throughout is HAMMERHANDS’ staple of thick-as-molasses riffs and thunderous percussion. The monolithic expanse from their debut ‘Glaciers’ and the hazy frontiers of 2016’s ‘Largo Forte’ prevail, but HAMMERHANDS have a newfound maturity in Model Citizen’s lyrics and themes. This album is a runaway train – hurtling heavy with cargo and no brakeman in sight.
1. Pleasure Island
2. MAXIMUM Beta
3. Do It Right
4. I’m Not Here
5. Too Many Rivers
6. Dad Sludge
7. That Awful Sound
8. Not in the Cards
9. Bastard Jesus