Monday, August 22, 2011

Get into: Pagan Hammer

Pagan Hammer sounds basically like an Americanized version of Ukrainian melodic black metal, but it also sounds basically nothing like that, so describing what it sounds like is rather challenging. It comes off as droning and modern, but not even remotely attached to the sweatercore post-black metal scene, and it's ambient and archaic without really throwing back to traditional black metal at all. Calling it "black metal" is itself something of a stretch, because it's not as though this music ever references Mayhem or Darkthrone to any great degree. What this really sounds more like is Animus- with a lusher production style and a more overt sense of riffing, but Animus nonetheless. It has a similar quality of black metal stripped of the heavy metal and thrash; the very idea of tremolo riffs and binary programmed drums are given a character of their own through the writing.

The production style of all of Pagan Hammer's music is essentially the same: thick, powerful streams of guitar and bass with drums and vocals so reverb-drenched and pushed in the background they just seem to whisper around the edges of the songs. The effect: music composed of simple yet surprisingly elegant, droning melodies cut from a melodic sense somewhere between Summoning, Burzum, and Amon Amarth. Though in construction this is similar to Animus, the pure sound resemblance goes to Branikald and the Blazebirth Hall scene in general; the Slavic references in Pagan Hammer's music are distinct and undeniable, and yet there's an intrinsically American quality to the songwriting which makes it intensely unique.

As for what makes Pagan Hammer's music so awesome and endlessly fascinating to me- I'm not really sure. It's a core of songwriting that feels so natural and organic that it's easy to fall in love with. Similar to a band like Dub Buk, who also don't have any elements you can define as distinctly DIFFERENT from any other band in black metal, Pagan Hammer uses the rather steady, rounded, straightforward nature of its music to create entrancing and impossibly memorable compositions. There's not much to say, really- you have to hear it for yourself.


  1. Love the thick, low-end string sound. And the alternation between "riff 1" and "riff 2" is heavy as hell. for my money, though, this is unlikely to be "sold by Aquarius inside of a year," just because it's too good at doing the things that make black metal threatening and inaccessible. even though the vocals are in the background, this is TOUGH music.

  2. Hmmm, not sure whether or not I like this Pagan Hammer stuff. It sounds sort of underdeveloped to me. When a band plays a really stripped down style of music, they have to be doing something really special to keep my attention.

    Speaking of hammers, when are you guys gonna do another hypehammer or whatever you call it? I love those.

  3. Very nice. I remember in the nationalism post you said that these guys were one of the only American nationalist bands, and it shows, there's really this uplifting sense of pride that bleeds through in the riffs, and even though it's not particularly dark or dreary, there's something about it's that's just friggin HEAVY.

    Oh, and completely unrelated, but Noktorn, when (if at all)are you gonna write the follow-up to the tour diary post? I was rather interested in that and I was looking forward to the whole story... Sorry if I'm being an impatient bitch, though.