Wolfbastard – Hammer the Bastards


The gloomy pits of Manchester are the breeding ground for punk/black metal trio, Wolfbastard. Members of Foetal Juice and Burial adorn their ranks, so it should come as no surprise that this talented group can pull the best elements from two opposite scenes of the underground. Hammer the Bastards is a whirlwind of anarchistic chaos and is sure to send your grandmothers to the crypt.

The record opens with the track, ‘Can’t Escape the Grave’, a not-so-gentle reminder of our human mortality. Listen to the rapid guitar riffs and the aggressive ear-smashing drumbeats. Try to resist those vulgar vocals as they kick down the door in rebellion and establish a punk snarl. It’s a perfect addition to a rotting teenager’s music collection, but it also speaks to the scene veterans and boomer crowd as well. ‘Black Friday’ delivers a call to arms with a long high-pitched scream before your ears have a chance to rest. This one injects a slow gloomy bridge to break things up before catapulting back into the hate-fuelled madness.

It’s clear Wolfbastard also have one eye on the loyal audience of The Misfits. Title track, ‘Hammer the Bastards’, includes samples from the Amityville Horror and couples them with an assertive rhythm guitar to introduce a unique freshness to the band’s obsessive perfections. The message to this tune is clear and catchy and projects a mood we can all relate to in today’s day and age. That as a society, we are sick and tired of being hammered by the bastards in charge. By contrast, ‘Buckfast Blasphemies’ shifts the album’s tone into a bouncy and lighter-hearted direction. The lyrics here jump off the page due to their chaotic and mischievous nature.

Fun and frolicking might define the more enjoyable moments of this record, but ‘Morbid Fucking Hell’ takes a more despondent lyrical theme, expressing the frustrations of existing in those claustrophobic situations that turn us into cynics. The bridge shares similarities with Marduk in its fast guitar riffing and anxiety-enduring drumbeats. Wolfbastard are not afraid of the old school, either. ‘Nun Krüsher’ takes a transgressive approach to the lyrical themes, much like Mayhem when it comes to heaping opprobrium on the church, something which this reviewer finds unoriginal and somewhat of a gimmick. Wolfbastard already possess a modicum of originality in their musical style, so why spoil it with cliché-ridden lyrics?

While technically sound, Hammer the Bastards seldom explores different variations of structure, and you may ask the question, “Where are we going, if we’re already there?”. Nonetheless, most tracks throb with a comedic undertone and are not afraid to take a shot at the “blegh” inflections that scar modern metal. There’s no doubt this is the here and now, but let’s hope the next album explores new territory without sacrificing the raw genus of what makes Wolfbastard such an enjoyable band.

MM


Verdict


Release Date: 14/01/2022

Record Label: Clobber Records

Standout tracks: Black Friday, Hammer the Bastards, Buckfast Blasphemies

Suggested Further Listening: Impaled Nazarene – All That You Fear (2003), Nachtmystium – Assassins: Black Meddle Pt.1 (2008), Amesoeurs – Amesoeurs (2009)