Between Hammerbox's self-titled debut album in 1988 and its sophomore effort of 1993, Numb, some major changes took place in the rock landscape. In 1988, grunge was something that had only an underground cult following, but when Nirvana and Pearl Jam exploded commercially in 1992, it became clear that grunge bands could achieve superstar status. Major label A&R execs who once dismissed grunge bands as being "not commercial enough" were suddenly going out of their way to sign them. On Numb, one can see the similarity between Hammerbox and fellow Seattle grunge/alternative rock outfits of the time. But at the same time, Hammerbox has an appeal and sound of its own. Hammerbox (which boasts an expressive and passionate lead singer in Carrie Akre) can be quite forceful and metallic, although tracks like "Anywhere but Here," "When 3 Is 2" and "Simple Passing" also demonstrate that the band also has solid pop sensibilities and a strong sense of melody. For Hammerbox, melody and aggression prove to be strong companions on this often engaging, if a bit uneven, CD.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson