HAMMER (UK) – Contract With Hell 1985 [digitally remastered +1] HQ *0dayrox Exclusive*

HAMMER (UK) - Contract With Hell 1985 [digitally remastered +1] lossless full

As requested by one of our contributors, here’s the rare, now hard to find remastered reissue – first time on CD – of 1985’s ”Contract With Hell”, from British cult act HAMMER. Not to be confused with the heavy metal/hard rock band Hammer from the West Midlands or Hammer from Edinburg, this HAMMER was previously known as HOLLAND, until they were forced to change their name after a Canadian band with the same name threatened to sue them.
The band started operations in the early Eighties in the effervescent NWOBHM scene, however HAMMER were a different beast, much more melodic and including keyboards performed by lead vocalist Dog Wilkinson.
The five-piece recorded some demos – one of them included into this CD as bonus track – and finally in 1984-85 had the chance to record this full length album “‘Contract With Hell”. As happened with many metal bands in UK circa 1985, the sound is very accessible and melodic.
What sets HAMMER and ”Contract With Hell” apart from the mid-Eighties British Metal bands is the profuse inclusion of keyboard flurries, at places even sounding pretty AOR. Think TOBRUK, BRONZ, even PRAYING MANTIS and first EUROPE.

Indeed, many of the songs here are elaborated pieces of melodic hard, found in the professionally cushy “Satellite”, the main rhythm in “Try It”, the title cut, and “Hey You”, a blushing, throbbing, catchy tune that from a metal standpoint displays a very VAN HALEN 1984-ish fade to pop.
Keyboards flutter, glimmer, and warp here, floating an atmospheric crosswind of plunky TOBRUK and caressing EUROPE, making a play out of the gate with the tempestuous “Caution to the Wind”, a gliding tsunami of a song with a chorus so airborne it can be seen circling Saturn now.

Even though “Try It” is a little light in its rhythmic stride, it does kick up some dirt while running through its chorus, meanwhile “Hard Hittin’ Woman” is a propulsive and quick-time energy track that helps cook the stronger sinew of “Prayer of a Soldier”.
”Contract With Hell” ends with an eight minute detonation of elegance, the slowly spun yet dramatic finale “Across the Line”, one of those strangely sad, epic stirrers that’s lonely in an early ‘80s Whitesnake vibe, cool keyboards coloring it a soft celestial hue while the Glenn Hughes-y vocals of Dog Wilkinson take on an equally rock-anchored Dave Coverdale naturalness – easily a fave track, on the scorched heels of “Caution to the Wind”.

HAMMER were a very good band. The musicianship in ”Contract With Hell” shines like gold – tight, professional, and technical without becoming overbearing as guitar team Bob Henman / Kenny Nicholson weave emotively powerful solos throughout the songs (especially toward the end of “Across the Line”).
And there’s Dog’s strong vocals specially cooked for this type of metal, and his keyboards… mysterious and magic keys very mid-Eighties.
A rare, quite unknown band / album for old-school Brit metal / hard rock fans out there. Only at 0dayrox
Highly Recommended


01 – Caution To The Wind
02 – Try It
03 – Hey You
04 – Contract With Hell
05 – Hard Hittin’ Woman
06 – Satellite
07 – Prayer Of A Soldier
08 – Across The Line
09 – Hard Hittin’ Woman (’82 Demo)

Dog Wilkinson – Vocals, Keyboards
Bob Henman – Guitars
Kenny Nicholson – Guitars
Graeme Hutchinson – Bass
Marty Day – Drums


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