CLOWNHAMMER – CLOWNHAMMER (Shredguy Records)

Review by Stefan: A few weeks ago, I wrote down my thoughts on Detroit, Michigan based The Sean Baker Orchestra’s “Game On !!” effort and was quite impressed with the final result. Read all about the discussion at: http://cdreviewst.metaltoinfinity.be/the-sean-baker-orchestra-game-on-shredguy-records/  Sean is a genius guitar player, I’m a huge fan of all the matters shred guitar tactics so it was a pleasure to have a talk with the man himself as can be read at: http://interviews2016.metaltoinfinity.be/the-sean-baker-orchestra-a-talk-with-sean-baker-guitars/ I heard about the band Clownhammer (featuring Sean Baker) and knowing that the man’s guitar actions are phenomenal good, I took my chances and asked Shredguy Records’s CEO Michael McDowell for a promo CD to review. Due to our longtime collaboration and passion for shred guitar music, it wasn’t a problem to deliver me a physical copy. Arrived a few days ago, I opened up the package and start listening to all of the songs right away.

Well, I got mixed feelings about the entire album which is loaded with 8 vocal songs and one instrumental. The production was done by Shredguy Records’ CEO Michael and Curtis Wray and in my opinion the sound quality might have been a little clearer, I hear rather a dull sound to be honest. It’s heavy, it’s quite melodic, it’s groovy, quite brutal/aggressive at some moments as well…. Like to define this self-titled effort as a modern type hard rock/heavy metal product not really able to grab me by the throat.

My high expectations were not immediately filled during the first spin, I missed the good oiled, full technical shred guitar movements equal to those audible on The Sean Baker Orchestra’s “Game On !!” album. Clownhammer have a second guitarist on board named Alfredo Riojas and from an effort featuring two axemen, I expect some more firework in regards to the solo arrangements mainly. The instrumental ‘Down With The Clown’ is my favourite for sure, just because the this one offer me some smooth heavy metal shred guitar thrills while Mr. Baker show what perfect axe attack is all about !

You will not hear me say that the vocal songs are bad, on the contrary ! The guitar riffs are so damn groovy laden that sometimes I’m getting bored. You have to know that I’m absolutely not into groovy inspired metal bands so you should not look further for the cause of this statement, It’s just a matter about my personal taste of musical. Some of the songs are too monotonous while some others sound very well done, especially those including loads of varying, yet unexpected moments. Clownhammer is an American band that is really able to take you by surprise and let me introduce you to a real good singer called Bill Jones. For sure, he’s the right guy on the right spot… he has a wide and varying vocal range, from the brutal/aggressive type vocal use to the clean and normal singing service are offered with a lot of elegance, all piece of cake for Bill. The drums of Clint Sabon to sound devastating and the bass lines of David Donigian are heavier than a ten ton truck passing by !

Songs like ‘Streets’ , ‘United’ and ‘Wasting Time’ come on strong in a way where the cheeky vocals are alternating with ordinary vocal lines, and where the guitar shred get a more dominant role. Hell no, you won’t hear me complain if there’s some shred actions present in the game… something I miss during other songs honestly.

There is no question of total disappointment here, I only have a mediocre feeling in regards to the total whole package. More musical variation, more shred guitar movements and in some way a better sound quality had made me a little more enthusiastic. Fans of American styled, groovy kind of modern hard rock and heavy metal in the vein of Down, Soulfly, Fireball Ministry, Mastodon, and relatives can immediately consider a purchase. Not exactly my favorite style of bands but what the hell, who am I to judge someone else’s taste of music?! During a review you write down about your own feelings regarding a certain effort and that’s what I did. For me an insufficient performance… for you perhaps a revelation type of album.

Check ‘m out at: https://nl-nl.facebook.com/CLOWNHAMMER-940042652788340/ , a place where music meets the beauty of the feminine, whether or not scantily dressed/painted like evil looking clowns… a caress for the eye, you’ll see and agree with me!  You can order Clownhammer’s self-titled album here: http://shredguyrecords.bigcartel.com/

My rating: 81/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

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