Wow, HURTLOCKER is probably the biggest heavyweight that Napalm Records signed within the last few years and furthermore is the band a kind of novelty in the label’s catalogue. The Americans only stripe the Metalcore genre indeed; they rather play some kind of brutal Thrash Metal but the Austrian record label had never such a band to offer. But it was a good decision, in my opinion, and regarding the increasing popularity of bands like HATESPHERE, LAMB OF GOD, BYZANTINE, CANNAE or others, HURTLOCKER may be of the next big sellers.
The quality of this band is also witnessed by the fact, that HURTLOCKER had been supported by the well-known and dedicated Hardcore label Victory Records for years. But first of all, the musical direction of Grant Belcher (vocals), Tim Moe (guitars), Dan Mazella (bass) and Dan Ditella (drums) has a brutal and unmistakable language, which should convince all headbangers. As I mentioned before, “Fear In A Handful Of Dust” contains of two/thirds highly gifted and ultra fast Thrash Metal, citing genre leaders like SLAYER, TESTAMENT or EXODUS. But these elements are very well-combined, so HURTLOCKER never appear as pure plagiarism. In contrary, besides that Thrash side, they also integrate Hardcore influences a la HATEBREED and a decent dose Death Metal a la MALEVOLENT CREATION and their well-placed blast beats remind of the cult band ANGEL CORPSE. This is essentially brutal stuff, packaged in a killer production, done by none less than Zeuss (HATEBREED, SWORN ENEMY, THROWDOWN…).
HURTLOCKER prove with every single song their high technical skills and unlike other modern bands, they also play some guitar solos. Their debut album is intense and powerful and it shows a band, which could be seen as outriders of a new and enormously extreme Metal generation. There are exactly ten reasons on “Fear In A Handful Of Dust” to witness this thesis, but tracks like “Symptoms”, “Painted Red” or “I Am Everything… Nothing” show that already. This is a half an hour hellish ride through the most brutal landscapes in Metal and it’s remarkable and unforgettable. For me, this is one of the most devastating and best records in 2005 and it’s a must for all Metal freaks, who like it hard. I have no other choice to give them the highest rating. (Online December 30, 2005)