Hailing from the Death Metal-loving US East Coast, FISTHAMMER released their debut album “Devour All You See” to some positive acclaim earlier in the year. Although there has been debate regarding what exactly to call the particular style of this band, it's safe to say that they fall firmly within the Death Metal genre. Going for a jack-of-all-trades approach with their sound, FISTHAMMER bring in aspects of Melodic, Technical, Brutal, Old School and modern Death Metal, and while there is nothing here that has not already long been part of the genre's palette, fans of modern Death Metal will find FISTHAMMER to be just what they are looking for.
FISTHAMMER solve a problem I have had with quite a bit of modern Tech Death, in that far too often, bands will emphasize complexity and playing skill over engaging melodies and grooves. Not that crossing the boundaries between these subsets of the genre is anything new, but FISTHAMMER really incorporates aspects of these seemingly contradictory doctrines in equal measure. Beginning with the necessary superfluous 'introduction' track, “Devour All You See” comes roaring in with both cuffs swinging. “Razor Waves” is an excellent manifest of what the band is about, propping headbang-worthy grooves next to frantic guitar riffs and drum-kit abuse.
“Aten: Fear The Obliteration of Earth” showcases FISTHAMMER's use of the famous Oppenheimer quote, "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds." Hearing this, I reckon more than a few people hearing this will suddenly recall the ORIGIN song which uses it in much the same way, and if not ORIGIN, than one of the dozen other bands that have used it. Although musically solid, both in terms of performance and composition, this does bring FISTHAMMER's most gaping issue to light. They may be defined by their versatility within death metal, but nothing here feels particularly fresh to FISTHAMMER themselves. Even the vocals feel particularly faceless and indistinct in the slew of modern Death Metal. Of course, a lack of perceived originality does not keep “Devour All You See” from kicking ass. The band is all set to conquer modern Death Metal, and all they need is that fresh appeal to make it happen.
(Online May 11, 2012)