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Friday, January 28, 2022

Review: Boarhammer – I: Cutting Wood for Magickal Purposes

Label: Self released

Date: December 3rd, 2021

It’s always nice to find a band debuting with a demo. They are still out there, but somehow swallowed in the massive pot of debuting bands starting with full blown productions, high stake full length albums and, more often than not, products that fail to impress.

Okay, Boarhammer also failed to impress me, but their attitude is absolutely correct. What’s more, I believe they have used this demo cassette to work out the issues that haunt each and every newcomer around. Hell, this is exactly what a demo is all about. Working out all the quirks that may occur and gaining experience, both in creative and recording aspect.

I’m left firmly believing there’s more to come from Boarhammer on some future “II”. In keeping with the title of the demo, once they’ve cut out the wood necessary, magick should happen.

But I’ve already made a conclusion here, without even digging around the forest where they are cutting.

Boarhammer is a German duo performing a mixture of old and second wave Scandinavian black metal. Occult, darkened and fairly dissonant black metal. In this particular case, you can almost disregard the geographical denomination. The duo chose to almost completely bypass their native scene. Thankfully, if you ask me, because there are very few bands out there in Germany that can rival the old greats.

Instead, Boarhammer went out of their borders for inspiration. Especially when it comes to the atmospheric and the mentioned dissonant approach to crafting black metal. Of the very first wave, naturally. Bands like Root, Mortuary Drape, Celtic Frost (particularly when the Germans delve within doom metal areas), Maniac Butcher and Master’s Hammer. Obviously, these guys know the story of European black metal rather well and aren’t afraid to put out their own view of it.

On the other hand, you can recognize the early (and the True) Mayhem in the “thrashier” pieces. Of course, I’m thinking of the period up the legendary “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”.

With those influences numbered, it is clear that Boarhammer opted for the old school approach to black metal. And that’s where most bands make the first and the biggest mistake, by thinking old school means raw, primitive, minimalist and utterly unimaginative. Well, not this time!

Sure, Boarhammer uses primitive and minimalist means, but does so with style. The demo is well varied, neatly thought-out and does not contain a six minute spinning of a single riff with two different drum patterns. That’s where my hope, from the opening of this review, stems from. These six songs are probably not the best you’ve heard in a genre like this, but there’s something that tickles the imagination constantly.

While on that, Boarhammer could do with a bit less of disrupting the flow of the tracks. A bit better connection between the various sections of songs would be very welcome. Some sharpening, production-wise, would also likely do wonders for this demo. There’s likely more of these faults to be noticed, but I don’t want to.

This is only a demo, after all. The place where a band gets a practice shot before hitting the big league. The potential is clearly on display. Now go and work on it. I’m looking forward to it.

By the way, if you’re wandering, yes, they did include a cover song on the demo. That’s another “mandatory” aspect of a demo recording. They’ve included Mercyful Fate’s “Black Funeral” at the very end of the demo, to show yet another possible road to incorporate in the massive crossroad that is Boarhammer.

Did I mention that the demo is released on a cassette? I did? Well, did I mention it is self-released and the band is pushing it all on their own? Yup, the glory days never quite faded for Boarhammer. Thank you for that!