If you haven't discovered them yet, Hammerforce are an independent power/prog metal outfit hailing from St Petersburg, Russia. These lads are no strangers to hard work. Keyboardist Nikita Merzlyakov & guitarist Ilya Kapralov had been playing for several years in power/prog band Legioner but wanted to take their brand of synth-driven music to the next level & prove the worth of Russian metal on a larger scale. And so the entity that became Hammerforce was born in 2006. Lack of equipment, time, money, & miscommunication threatened to derail things.
The boys were able to release first album Dice in 2009. However it's a difficult scene for metal musicians in Russia. That, combined with the stress of poor promotion & inner-band struggles, saw the departure of vocalist Nikita Valamin. It was a dark time for Hammerforce. For a period of time the band gave up playing live. Eventually Ilya & Nikita joined forced with vocalist Dmitriy 'Ian Breeg' Yanovskiy to work on new material. Nikita made the decision to produce, record, mix & master their next album. The end result was second album Access Denied, released 27 March this year via Metalism Records.
One of the highlights of the album has to be second track 'Templates For All'. There's a hint of early Judas Priest in there. Someone's been channeling Rob Halford with those soaring vocal highs! The track displays some excellent drum work, quite technical, fast & accurate.
Instrumental track 'Reflections', perhaps fifth track 'Fugitive' as well, were the only disappointments to the album. 'Reflections' seemed a bit out of place. Neither of these tracks displayed quite the same level of precision & artistry as the rest.
Overall, a respectable effort.
Recommended for fans of Dragonforce or Dream Theater.
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