Hammerlock - 'Clipping The Wings Of A Hawk' (Colorado Mountain Goat/Cockroach Media) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Thursday, 14 February 2013 04:00

hammerlockclippingwingsWith the band's online presence almost supernatural, discovering Hammerlock has been some kind of soul cleansing, old school exercise. Picking at the bones of information, a mention here, a sighting there, has only added to the sense of excitement that we all once felt when discovering a band/album and digging for whatever information we could find on them, rather than having it rammed into our faces as is deemed the norm by modern rock acts.


No, Hammerlock does things like they used to be done; make a great album, if you like it, great, if you don't, fuck off. The band's sound, as their attitude, is retro-fuelled and it makes for great listening on the Oakland outfit's seventh long player, 'Clipping The Wings Of A Hawk'.


Fusing '80s hardcore, '70s rock and a love of country music, and doing it in the grimy confines of a sweaty garage it appears, Hammerlock cite the likes of Motorhead, Rose Tattoo, English Dogs, Merle Haggard and GG Allin as major influences and, somehow, the three piece (two guys, one gal) formed in 1995, manage to work an ounce of each into their simple, yet simply outstanding, sonic assault fashioning a mighty blunt......instrument that'll knock you upside the head.


'Clipping The Wings Of A Hawk' features ten tracks, and no messing around. This is garage punk and rock smeared with delicious slide guitar that would be the ideal soundtrack to a bone-crunching, tooth-snapping barroom brawl in some small town epicentre of sleaze, trash and infamy. I've seen the new album described as "brutal and catchy" - sounds about right. Imagine a honey trap where a way-too-beautiful-for-you young lady entices you outside where a gang of ne'er-do-wells are waiting around the corner to kick the naivety right outta your head just because they don't like the look of you. Now imagine that captured in an unwashed liquor bottle. That's Hammerlock.


Feedback introduces the album, broken crockery ushering it out, bookending an album that offers no excuses, no compromise, just a record from a band who play what they like in their own inimitable style. From opener 'Fool's Highway' to closer 'Dishes Are Made To Be Broken' Hammerlock knock out no-frills tuneage that, while having an unwashed toe in cowpunk territory, will appeal to fans of both the all-out greasy glunk of the likes of Nashville Pussy and the ballsy swagger of The Four Horsemen and Raging Slab.


Songs like 'Reality Overload' bring that hardcore infuence to the fore, but cover the speakers in Lemmy-style warts while doing so, 'I Hate The Poor' motoring along like an out of control muscle car. 'Another Man's Rage' explodes over a cool country vibe and is possibly the perfect example of Hammerlock's sound fusion - roots rock having its arm twisted behind its back by a nasty piece of work; imagine The Black Crowes going Motorhead rather than Deadhead....then you'll be about 10% there. 'Nowhere To Hide' is flavoured in the same way, and pretty much describes the Hammerlock listening experience: this is gutsy, sun-bleached rock 'n' roll played by a band who don't appear to give a fuck about being pigeonholed or genre specific, preferring to simply play what they feel, what glorious noise they channel, and hope clued-in mofos take to it. I have, so should you.


The title of one of Hammerlock's previous releases sums up this album and band way better than I have tried to do in six hundred words - Anthems for Outlaws.