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Hammercult


 
When Yakir Shochat approaches a project, he does so with uncompromising energy and total passion because for the vocalist of Israeli metal newcomer act Hammercult, life is too short to go about things in a half-hearted way. “In my opinion, there’s only one way to make your dreams come true,” he explains, “and that’s with lots of commitment and soul instead of false compromises and questionable ideals.” Shochat’s straightforward approach has already paid off: only three years have passed since he founded Hammercult in October 2010, and already he, guitarists Arie Aranovich and Guy Ben David, bassist Elad Manor and drummer Maayan Henik have stirred up the international metal scene. They won the Metal Battle at the legendary Wacken Open Air in August 2011, brought out their debut album Anthems Of The Damned on Sonic Attack in April 2012 and are now set to release their second studio recording, Steelcrusher.

“That day in summer 2011 marked a decisive step in our career,” Shochat recalls Hammercult’s triumph in Wacken. “We came out top against 29 other bands, and winning gave us the self-confidence we needed to consistently follow our chosen path.” Just how consistently is about to be proved impressively by Steelcrusher, because again the five musicians from Israel have relied not only on yet another variation of the classic thrash metal theme but have added a fresher, more contemporary and forward-looking perspective to the genre. Shochat: “A lot of other young thrash acts simply emulate their idols, but we play thrash the way it should sound today: extreme, ultra-hard and enhanced with other stylistic devices such as death metal, punk, black metal and hardcore. It’s like a mixture of old Running Wild and Kreator on steroids!”

When Shochat talks about the title track, he describes it as “heavy, crunching and full speed ahead”. “It’s like getting hit in the face with a mighty storm of steel. Brutal, epic lyrics and riffs delivered with that ultraspeed that Hammercult are known for! It’s an anthem of praise dedicated to that incredible force known as the human soul and its willpower!” ‘Burning The Road’ is no less imposing, a real metallic anthem about the freedom of riding down the roads, full speed ahead, against the wind and against the grain. Shochat: “It’s burning the tires and going full throttle – pedal to the metal!” ‘Liar’, on the other hand, with its comparatively moderate tempo seems unusual for Hammercult: “On this one, we decided to play a little more slowly and simplify things. While this song is 100% Hammercult metal, it’s a little tribute to early 80s punk songs and attitude. I fucking hate liars – and that’s what this song is about! Life is no playground, it will kick the shit out of you any chance it gets, but you have to get your ass up and fight back!”

There can be no doubt: Hammercult are hell-bent on stirring up the international metal scene and stick by the directives set by their hard-as-nails debut album. They were supported by Chris ‘Zeuss’ Harris (Soulfly, Hatebreed, Agnostic Front), who mixed and mastered the album, and Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), who contributed a furioso guitar solo on ‘We Are The People’. Shochat is confident that Hammercult have the perfect record company by their side to back them in their ambitious goals: “Lots of important metal bands signed with Noise Records in their early days. That’s why we’re particularly happy that Steelcrusher will be out on Sonic Attack, Noise founder Karl Walterbach’s current label. So as fans of that great Noise era, we’ve come full circle in that respect.”

Yakir Shochat and his four band colleagues are especially proud of the fact that they have succeeded in enlisting the legendary cover artist Andreas Marshall (the Berlin-based artist has worked for Blind Guardian, In Flames, Running Wild and Hammerfall, among others) for the Steelcrusher artwork. Andreas Marshall professes to be highly impressed by the Israeli band: “I really like Hammercult’s amazingly dynamic music,” he explains. “In addition, I really enjoyed working with Karl Walterbach again, for whom I designed my first metal covers many years ago. Hammercult are a cool band, very fresh, and they have a fantastic image.”

You can’t but agree, particularly when you hear Shochat’s description of the philosophy which spawned Steelcrusher: “With that power, everything is possible. Flesh can overcome steel, and mind can overcome matter!”
 
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