Intended exclusively for distribution to radio stations and other media agencies as a promotional device for the Rollins Band's major-label debut, The End of Silence -- which is quite easily one of the most caustic, uncompromising, and brilliant albums recorded in the 1990s -- enough copies of this disc found their way into the consumer underground, and thus a cult item was born. Hammer is a disc prized for its scarcity, as well as the five previously unreleased tracks contained within, two of which are brief Rollins spoken word pieces. Hammer begins with two tracks culled from a 1990 radio performance at JJJ studios in Sydney, Australia, where many notables have cut tape, including Radio Birdman, whose own JJJ studio material is highly sought after. Both of those tracks, "Earache My Eye" and "Do It," surfaced years later on the Live in Australia album, and they are of excellent quality. Track three is perhaps the most unique, and finds the first Rollins Band incarnation jamming live onstage with the Butthole Surfers, working up a bass-driven assault further shaped by Rollins howling and Gibby Haynes' contorted mega-phone chatter. Andrew Weiss' bass playing throughout is absolutely mesmerizing. Prior to the concluding spoken tracks, which seem to fill up disc space more than illuminate Rollins' worldview, is a lengthy studio version -- presumably an End of Silence session track -- of the Suicide standard, "Ghost Rider," suitably massive, a slow, heavyweight, uphill crawl. Not an easy disc to locate, but worth it.
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AllMusic Review by Patrick Kennedy