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Hard And Heavy (2014)
Rating: 7/10

Canada’s Gatekrashör is one of those bands that before you slap it on the turntable, you know what you’re gonna get. This ferocious quartet is the sort of band that spends all of its time standing around a rusty old cauldron and throwing in several key ingredients – alcohol, studded wristbands, leather jackets, chains, blood and a strong musical influence of Sodom, Motörhead, Bathory, Venom, Bulldozer et al.

Gatekrashör’s sound and look is carved very much from the mid-80s and it doesn’t try to be anything else. Although the guys formed in 2008 they are clearly obsessed with the above mentioned objects and sounds to the point of obsession. There’s nothing wrong with that if it sounds okay, though, and this debut full-length rust-bucket from this combo isn’t bad at all.

Okay, so it’s all very much predictable, especially when you hear the likes of ‘Heavy Metal Rangers’; a dirty ravenous anthem which ploughs through the brain like a drill making lyrical references to the likes of Hellhammer, Bathory and those delightful “sodomaniacs”. Yes, we’ve heard it all before and yet we still bloody fall for it.

Vocally, Speed Metal Enforcer (aka Dan Neild) is the archetype spitting frontman that you’d expect to steer such a wayward, eroded ship. His tones are like a horrid mix of just about every thrashing maniac from the 80s as he barks his way through ten metallic hyper blasts that flit by in the blink of an eye.

There’s nothing overtly memorable about this style of chainmail metal; it’s blunt and to the point as the likes of ‘Force Of The Blade’, ‘Motorbike Maniac’ and ‘Sign Of The Gatekrashör’ come hurtling by with a frothing beer in hand and pungent smell of damp. If you grew up on a diet of Possessed, Razor et al then it’s only natural you’re going to love this sort of battering ram of vicious metal. Steel Avenger’s (aka Matt Reis) guitar sound is both mucky and malevolent, hinting at a punk attitude as it comes grinding through the ears like a piece of barbed wire inserted in one hole and then pulled through the brain and out of the next orifice. Jackhammer’s (aka Riley Jackson) drums are equally lethal, working in tumultuous tandem with Speed Deceiver’s (aka Shawn Vincent) bass. And yet for what this sorry mess lacks in frills and originality it more than makes up for with energy and passion for the 80s.

This isn’t fancy or clever metal and there are countless bands doing this sort of retro style of hammering, but then again there always has been and so although it will take a steel wall to stop these guys due to their nostalgic, stubborn nature, they may have trouble reaching the surface of the waters they inhabit because there’s just so much of this metal clogging up the nostrils. Gatekrashör may benefit from applying a few tweaks here and there, but as debut albums go this is one sure to start a few riots.

Neil Arnold

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