Hammer Switch is a five-piece high-octane dynamic rock band hailing from Cronulla, Australia. The band has been dropping the hammer and flipping the switch for a little over a year now, and this only leaves me further impressed by the mammoth sound they’ve managed to craft in such a short time as a collective. This is a band comprised of friends both old and new, which is exactly how music should be created. It shouldn’t be forced; it should be the coming together of ideas posed by a few close friends.
They share decades of music passion and expertise, which is the thing that drove them to create a sound which brings together all the best parts of rock music over the past few decades. This is a group of people who just want to turn their dreams into a reality, and considering what they’ve created in a short time together as a band, I wouldn’t be surprised if they achieved all they wanted and more. They deliver local shows today, but who’s to say they won’t be selling out arenas tomorrow? They definitely have the right sound.
Their short five-track EP Unchained opens with “Changing Gears.” A belting riff tears through the silence, as does the sound of an engine revving, before a screeching, fast-paced solo and thumping beat joins the riffing to create a chaotic sound. It’s the raw, husky and arena-esque vocals which carry this song to the dizzying heights of old metal greats such as Iron Maiden, however. This feels nostalgic and yet, instrumentally, draws from elements of new-age metal bands over the past two decades. It’s a combination of all the best things from every era of rock music, but this is a band that has discovered the key to success; it doesn’t lie in imitation, but raw passion and an energetic delivery of the music they’re writing. Hammer Switch manage both of these things.
“Boiling Point” is driven by the classic loud-quiet dynamic which has led so many old rock greats to success. A slow, throbbing beat and a warbling, clean guitar arpeggio in the verses are both joined by the vocalist’s restrained singing, much like a tiger in a cage. He unleashes the full potential and rawness of his energy during the choruses, which are driven by distorted power chords packed full of brutal force and occasional bursts of tearing, biting guitar solos. A wailing and dizzying guitar solo dances back and forth, running off into the depths of infinity as every other instrument in the mix takes a step back.
“Misplaced” is driven by a clean electric guitar arpeggio and the most emotive vocals present on the entire album, as the singer pours his heart out, penning the lyrics: “Since you’ve been gone / I’ve been missing you, baby / The smile on your face / Makes me know you feel the same.” It’s soothing and melancholic, but also dark and twisted. There’s heartbreak, sorrow and angst oozing out of every inch of this track, but it’s packaged in a soothing, melodic and understated package. This all builds into an electrifying turning point as brutal, distorted power chords burst unexpectedly out of the mix and the vocalist tears into the upper reaches of his range.
This is a band which offers everything. Raw, guttural vocals, screeching electric guitar solos, metallic and alternative atmospheres, but also timid and restrained ballads at times. It’s an EP of beautiful melodies, but also one of relentless, brutal passion. If you’re looking for a combination of the two, you won’t find it better encompassed anywhere other than this EP. If Hammer Switch can do this in five tracks, I’d love to see what they could do with an entire album.
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