Andrew Sutherland is certainly a talented chap. His project, North Hammer, sees him play all of the instruments on the album as well as write all the songs. I’ll be honest, when I come across a one-man project such as this, I approach with caution. I’ve found previously that albums as such can soon become monotonous largely due to a lack of input and ideas from other sources. Thankfully, Stormcaller succeeds in being an energetic metal album that fans of Amon Amarth and Wintersun will do well to listen to.
The production is very good and allows North Hammer to gallop through 10 tracks of melodic death metal tinged with folk metal. Sutherland doesn’t fall into the trap of many by keeping the track times relatively short, in fact, most songs are kept to between 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 minutes in length. It’s a case of less is sometimes more.
The opening track, Avatar, sets the tone for the rest of the album. The song has some impressive leads, a melodic chorus and a galloping, driving rhythm. The folk metal elements are much more pronounced on the second track and remain a feature on several others. This is the sort of record you listen to as you roar into battle, your axe in one hand and your shield in the other. Magic Mead is another highlight, with its opening riff enough to send Amon Amarth diehards into a state of rapture, this song really gets the blood pumping. Stormcaller isn’t going to change metal history, and I’m okay with that. It is a punchy euro-style metal album that features some great songs and a top production. Well worth your time and coin. Follow me now as we ride into Valhalla to the sound of North Hammer!
Thanks to Asher Media for a digital copy of the album for review \,,/
NORTH HAMMER – STORMCALLER Release Date: March 16, 2018
Available On: All digital platforms
For fans of Ensiferum, Amon Amarth, Wintersun, Aether Realm
• All songs performed by:
Andrew Sutherland, Doug Helcaraxë Nunez • All songs written by: Andrew Sutherland
• Produced by: Andrew Sutherland
• Mixed by: Diego Fernandez
• Mastered by: Lasse Lammert
• Album Artwork by: Grave Dealer Art, Logo by Wappenschmied, Layout by Eric Dieterich @ Solomon Media • Member of SOCAN
• Canadian Content (MAPL)
• Album Band Line Up:
Doug Helcaraxë Nunez
Live Band Line Up: TBA
2018 – Stormcaller
“The hard-charging melodic death metal of this song is itself heroic in its atmosphere, its darting, folk-influenced riffs, galloping rhythms, fiery soloing, and soaring keyboard melodies summoning mythic images of striving and triumph. While its musical antecedents are indeed clearly identifiable, it’s nonetheless a pulse-pounding, heart-swelling track, and one that proves to be very catchy as well.”
No Clean Singing
“Andrew James’ one-man project from Edmonton, North Hammer enters the heavy metal fray with the crushing debut “Stormcaller.” Especially for a first release, this album is intense, heavy and filled with high quality Ensiferum worship riffage. But North Hammer is not just a clone or a tribute, the sound of the band is clearly defined within the first few tracks and continues to develop and surprise throughout the album.” – CROM Metal
““Wanderer” begins with a Bathory-esque chorus in front of tender acoustics to further exploding into melodeath territories. Riffing comes and go in form of a melody that interwines the next segments of the track, which concludes with a great solo and a nice double bass storm. The composition is dynamic and moving enough, thanks to the mix of the Quorthon worship and the swinging melodic death metal influences.” – Toilet Ov Hell
“Metalheads who are down with the likes of Wintersun, Ensiferum, Amon Amarth, Aether Realm, and/or Blind Guardian should find something to like here.” – PureGrainAudio
“For a debut, this is an outstanding album that is full of ferocity. It is fast and loud. You can imagine the headbanging that would go on at one of their shows.” – Baby Dolls And Razor Blades.
North Hammer = Andrew James
Photo Credit: Diego Fernandez, Editing by Eric Dieterich of Soloman Media
“Thou camest near the next, O warrior Thor! Shouldering thy hammer, in thy chariot drawn, Swaying the long-hair’d goats with silver’d rein.”
From ‘Balder Dead’
The huge success of the ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ movie isn’t just down to dazzling effects and star- power. It is because it draws deeply from the primal wellspring of Norse mythology. In these parlous times, the tales of Thor, Odin, Loki, Freya, and Valhalla, all strike a deep chord within people’s souls.
And in the case of Andrew James (of Edmonton’s Eye of Horus’ and ‘Shotgunner’) and his new one-man band North Hammer; that chord is a guitar chord!
Andrew draws inspiration from the mighty Quorthon; for Andrew is not so much a one-man band as a one-warrior metal machine. Andrew wrote and recorded the guitar, bass, vocals, and orchestration for North Hammer’s forthcoming ‘Stormcaller’ album.
Inspired by Wintersun, Ensiferum, Amon Amarth, Aether Realm, Blind Guardian, ‘Stormcaller’ is a 21st century continuation of the work of Norse bards who inspired the ancient poem above, Andrew describes North Hammer’s sound as “melodic death metal folk riffs!”
Andrew explains the significance of his band’s name. “The ‘north’ part was a representation of the common theme winter that comes up in metal music, including folk metal. It is also a reference to my native Canada. ‘Hammer’ is a reference to Mjolnir, Thor’s Hammer!”
Andrew hopes it will be well-received by fans.
“The experience I’m trying to give the listeners is that of a fellow fan. I want people to be euphoric for other bands that mean something to them like Ensiferum, Wintersun and Amon Amarth. To connect personally with my music and realize that I love and worship these bands.”
While North Hammer is a studio project at the moment, Andrew plans to put together a band of top-notch like-minded musicians.
“Fans can expect a strong performance of kick-ass musicians night-after-night!”
North Hammer’s “Stormcaller” is due out on March 16, 2018 and will be available at all major online retailers.