Ethereal Killer

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The debut full-length from midwestern power trio Hammerhead is the musical equivalent of John McNaughton's infamous post-modern slasher pic, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. All 10 songs are uniformly tight, fast -- and full of murderous rage. Jeff Mooridian Jr. pounds away on the drums as Paul Erickson rumbles along on bass, and Paul Sanders rips squeals and buzzes out of his poor, defenseless guitar all the while spitting out lyrics about "American Rampages" and "Vegas Incidents." The effect is a little too organic to qualify as noise-rock (which often incorporated drum machines/machine-like drummers) and too raw to qualify as heavy metal; death metal fans, however, may approve, although that's yet another label that doesn't quite fit. Ethereal Killer isn't nice and it isn't pretty and, at its worst -- or is that its best? -- it's all a little unrelenting. That would appear to be the point, and Hammerhead is nothing if not direct -- kind of like Henry, come to think of it (as chillingly portrayed by actor Michael Rooker), who lives to kill and kills to live.

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