Released by: Independent
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal
Ilya Kapralov (guitars, bass, composer)
Nikita Merzlyakov (synths, producer)
Ian Breeg (vocals, English lyrics)
Aleksandr Zhuchihin (drums)
Ilya Mamaev (guitars)
Kate Sergeeva (Russian lyrics)
1.I Am I
2.Templates for All
6.Earth Is on Trial
7.No Place for the Old Men
Russian band Hammerforce was created 7 years ago in Saint-Petersburg by keyboardist Nikita Merzlyakov and guitarist Ilya Kapralov. In 2009 Hammerforce released its debut album “Dice”. After a long hardworking time and many problems left behind, the second album “Access Denied” was released on 27th of March, 2013.
I was shocked by this first album “Dice”, it became the best Metal release of the Russian band ever! The new album “Access Denied” continues in the same way: Modern Progressive Power Metal with a lot of electronic samples (“Power/Progressive Synth Driven Metal” as the band claims). And I am not opposed to this because it is driven, intensive and complex music with powerful electronic background which make their sound different from many other Power Metal bands. Almost the whole album is fast, melodies and rhymes are constantly changing, everything is bright, catchy, powerful and technical. Aggressive modern Power elements are harmonically combined with Progressive things, heavy Metal riffs mixed with keyboard parts.
The band sounds quite unique and fresh however some associations with Russian bands Catharsis, Arctida and Nefelim could be found. Parallels with Italian Arachnes and Eldritch exist also but Hammerforce uses much more synths. The new vocalist Dmitriy Yanovsky sings more variably than previous singer and uses screaming (both high-pitched and closed to harsh) from time to time.
All tracks are amazing and outstanding however “I Am I”, “Fugitive” and the more calm instrumental track “Reflections” are slightly weaker. The others are true masterpieces and I enjoyed them very much as it’s intensive and invented music full of awesome melodies.
I was afraid that the tempo would be slower than on “Dice”, with many mid-tempo songs but fortunately the musicians decided to keep this speed, may be very slightly settled it down. All lyrics are in English again and it is very good to my mind. It is not typical for Russian bands but Hammerforce dared to do it and I respect this choice (However Russian version of the album are also planned to be released). By the way the album lyrics were devoted to modern social problems. Why sing about dragons or the devil when you can focus your efforts on helping real world issue and how to get better?
The production is superb and it is also amazing because Nikita Merzlyakov decided to produce, record, mix and master the second album by himself at his private studio as his sound production abilities had increased significantly since the first album.
I am pleased very much with this album, the guys have not disappointed me and I am proud that Russia has its own very talented and superb Metal band, the band that does not simply copy Russian idol act Aria (as it usually happens) and does not clone any other foreign collective. “Access Denied” is the real candidate to be the best Metal album of the year. If you like original and fresh Power Metal this release is right for you!
Written by Egor “EG Power”