Killhammer – nifty as all heck.

Killhammer - nifty as all heck.

Sean Pruett-Jones, Staff Reporter

When I heard my first Mystic Prophecy song, “Ravenlord,” while attempting to write a boring essay, I head-banged so hard I had neck problems for a week or two.

The Ravenlord album was, and still is to this day, one of the best power metal albums I’ve ever heard, with Metalium-inspired riffs, and some slower, heavy-as-lead songs.  So, when I heard about the new album Killhammer dropping September 27, I was excited enough to buy it upon release.  It certainly sounds like the Mystic Prophecy I know and love and I am happy to say that Killhammer is a killer (hah, get it?) power metal album.  Is it a work of musical genius, the standard for power metal bands for years to come; a masterpiece?  Lord, no, far from it, but it’s still a solid production of some good power metal.

Killhammer is without a doubt heavy.  With the cover being a gnarly demon-looking dude, horned helmet and all, emerging from a flaming portal along with dragons and crows, wielding an enormous skull hammer in his right hand; and the somewhat stereotypically named metal songs like “Hate Black” or “Set the world on fire”, this album feels heavy enough to almost make you fall victim to the Killhammer itself.  Mystic Prophecy has certainly gotten less thrash-y since their Pre-Ravenlord works, but it hasn’t lost any of its intensity.  Their slower, more melodic power metal is easy to follow along with and rock out to, and the solos are still sweeping, fret board-flaming, and great fun to wag your tongue out and air guitar to. Some may think that the shift to slower, less thrash-y power metal is a downgrade; that it loses some of the intensity that the band had Pre-Ravenlord, but this is not the case.  No matter what changes they’ve made from the original Mystic Prophecy style, Killhammer will still have you tearing a rip in the fabric of the universe due to head-banging too hard.  Riffs straight from the depths of Hades in songs like “Killhammer” or “Children of the Damned” will not leave you wanting.

Mystic Prophecy is really flipping heavy; I just can’t say that enough.  I can go on and on about how much I walked through RB’s halls banging my head and throwing out some air guitar to Killhammer. I was actually very pleased with the intro to “300 in Blood”, because it really shows off the rocking guitarists shredding skills right off the bat and does take a slightly different approach for a few measures, before getting back into good old Mystic Prophecy material.  On the outside, it’s great stuff.  On a deeper level though, it’s very lacking.  Every song follows a very basic routine, of intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-solo-chorus-outro – basic song structure, very basic, frequently dull.  This was the same problem on Ravenlord, but even then it wasn’t as noticeable.  One of my least favorite parts was how the intros of “Angels of Fire” and “Armies of Hell” were nearly identical.  By the end of Killhammer, the songs were all sounding too similar for me, apart from a few exceptional riffs, like on “Hate Black”, “Children of the Damned”, and “Killhammer”.

If you want power metal that’s far more creative, innovative, and actually better, then you’d be better off spending your time on Sonata Arctica’s The Days of Grays or Gloryhammer’s Tales from the Kingdom of Fife. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still hear Killhammer, though. You shouldn’t really let the repetitive song structure draw you away; Killhammer is still a killer (hah, same joke) power metal album that will keep your head banging through the night with awesome, awesome, awesome riffs.