Saturday, June 18, 2011

Forgottem Gems: Hammerhead-Will To Survive

Cult Metal Classics

Best-known for their rare 1981 7" "Time Will Tell / Lonely Man" cult NWOBHM band Hammerhead were formed in the late 70's in Workington, Cunbria, U.K. Other than an appearance on the 1984 It's Unheard Of compilation (Sane Records) with the excellent track "Lochinvar" the band's official output was limited. Their story begins in 1977 when a young guitarist by the name of Buzz Elliott was spotted by guitarist Brian Hodgson at a show. While Brian Hodgson had a three-piece band already (under the Hammerhead name) it wouldn't be until a few months later when Buzz Elliot joined that things would finally take of. Along with bassist Steve Archer and drummer Baz Ellwood this U.K. band would become well know on the concert circuit for their high energy shows. With a sound that was more hard rock and melodic than their NWOBHM companions Hammerhead put of hard rockin' shows. As the band had been influenced by acts like Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Status Quo their sound was more rounded. While the band was only active until 1984 their legacy lives on thanks in no small part to their finely crafted songs. This 2005 remastered compilation collects Hammerhead's misc. singles, one compilation cut and live material along with other never before released material. Since most of the band's early material was written in the mid 70's Hammerhead were more leaders in the NWOBHM movement than followers. Hammerhead stood alongside acts like Praying Mantis in crafting music that was full of harmony and heaviness. My favorite tracks have remained the catchy "Ton Of Bricks", "BJ Special" (live cut) and "Lonely Man" though this is one collection where from start to finish everything sounds good. With all of it's bonus material Cult Metal Classics has put together a nice tribute to this underground band. With lyrics, rare photos and a bonus video of "Lochinvar" Hammerhead gets the royal treatment. While this a worthwhile addition for NWOBHM fans young and old alike its also chock full of tunes that your everyday hard rock fan will enjoy. Hammerhead has been enjoyed not only by yours truly but by my wife and kids. Even my father-in-law (who grew up on U.F.O. and the like) appreciates the finely crafted guitar rockers found within. With it's lead guitar work and Buzz Elliott's addicting voice Will To Survive has quickly become one of my favorite NWOBHM releases. Honestly it's one of my favorite albums period. Highly recommend.


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