so for me after 3 days unstoppable playing of the album thats what I can say:
1 Fight fire- so strong start. the same as thedarkfourth I felt in love with it since the sampler. Simply awesome. Love the drumming. The best song of the album(but not the only one the best ;D)
2. Black mourning- really hooky tune but actually brings nothing new to PRR sound. though seeing it played live blown me away.
3 Patriarch- like it very much since Jamie posted it on fb. still on such background as other songs on this album is difficult to be great.
4. Last man, Last round- mind-blowing guitar riff. love, love, love!
5. Valour- loved from the begining, especially moment when Chloe joins Jon with vox!
6. Over the top- surprising keys at the start. Jon at his best vocally
7. Never divide- repeated very much, and liked the same. Chorus kills me each time I hear it!
8. Blitzkrieg- so hear it comes! I have no words to describe it. This song is perfection to me, I would extend outro after vocal part to kick ass even more! Together with nr 1 the best of Hammer and Anvil.
9. Open insurrection- true meaning of word 'progression'! so powerful and complete! after 1 and 8 ex aequo at the top this one is 2nd!
10. Armistice- the second part is much better for me. perfect as an album outro.
That is definitely the best album of 2010, and seem to be going to set up as nr one of all time. AVO to be passed
You can all breathe easy now, my long-awaited verdict on Hammer & Anvil is checking in. Are you all sitting comfortably?
I *LOVE* it!!
Without a shred of hyperbole, I genuinely think this is the best record PRR have ever made. It's certainly their most consistent... by a long, LONG way. Unlike The Dark Third and Amor Vincit Omnia, I don't think there's a single weak song on the record (yes, I'm looking at you Aeropause/The Exact Colour, and Victorious Cupid/Disconnect). On first listens, there don't seem to be the massive high points (Les Malheurs, Deus, AVO) that you get from AVO, but then you realise that's because the *whole record* is a high point. Seriously, there's not a weak second on the album, and the tone of the record feels more 'one cohesive whole of an album'-like than any PRR effort to date... it's almost like Kid A in that respect.
After several listens, I'm still trying to juggle what my favourite track is, and they all keep making damn good arguments for themselves:
Fight Fire is the most energetic, floor-stomping tune they have ever done: it reminds me (and a friend I played it to) very much of my perennial favourites The Music. The thumping yet funky bass line is like listening to Rob Harvey and co at their best, and that is a compliment I don't hand out lightly.
Every time I listen to Black Mourning, it seems to be the one that would be most likely to move down the 'favourites' list first, but then you hear that chorus (for the zillionth time) sing the "Down, down, dow-own" line and you fall in love with it all over again!
Patriach is a subtle starter, but builds up to a great crescendo in the chorus, and the harmonies are particularly lovely.
Last Man, Last Round was the first "ZOMG!" (excuse the internet-speak) moment on the album for me, and it is absolutely epic. A riff straight from the interface where the parallel universes of dance hell and rock destruction meet, it could take out entire cities if unleashed.
Valour is obviously just class from start to finish. Quality, dancey verses, and massive epic rock choruses. Particularly liking Jamie's wailing guitar parts behind the final chorus.
Over The Top is a little like Patriach in that it's a subtle starter, but I don't think it's a VC/Disconnect style dud. It's a catchy little bastard that creeps up on you by surprise, and the repetition of parts of the song reminds me of Klaxons - they use that device all the time and it is sneakily effective. In fact, I don't know entirely why because the sound is quite different, but something about this song reminds me of Klaxons' Forgotten Works... which is a good thing.
Never Divide is simply sublime and is my early runner for favourite track on the album. I fecking LOVE it when PRR go 'pop' - I think they do it as well as anyone else in the business - and even though there is enough going on musically to keep this artistically interesting in its own right, at heart this is just an amazing pop tune, and absolutely chuffing brilliant.
Blitzkrieg, like Last Man, was my second "ZOMG!" moment on the album... I bet plenty of people shared similar feelings about those two songs, thinking about it. Again, just a flash of pure genius - THIS is how good dance music can be, and it's a relief to see Jon pull this one out of the hat after the having a slightly hit-and-miss record on the 'all electronic' side of things in the past (I'm thinking the Cedo Simplex remix of Cupid, Disconnect etc here). The sung vocals part of the track could be massively incongruous in a song like this, but for whatever unexplainable reason it works perfectly in Blitzkrieg, and then sets you up perfectly for...
Open Insurrection. Or "How To Beat The Coopers At Their Own Game", as I'm starting to call it. Massive, massive tune that goes toe-to-toe with the most epic moments of bands like The Cooper Temple Clause and The Music (sorry for another comparison which no one else may get, but there are shades of The Music's brilliant "No Danger" in here). Builds up really, really well which is no mean feat - you can get it spectacularly right (see 65dos: "Debutante") or spectacularly wrong (see 65dos: "Tiger Girl"), and OI falls way over on the right side of the line in this respect. Really enjoyed the linked vocal passages to Blitzkrieg too.
And finally, there's Armistice. By all rights, I shouldn't even wanna be in the same room as this song, because it is Fleetwood Mac all over (to my uneducated ears), and I've never ever been a Fleetwood Mac fan - so sue me! But in the context of the album, the song works brilliantly well after the epic scope of Open Insurrection, and feels like a proper conclusion to the album - it plays a massive part in the cohesiveness of the record as a whole. And the heavy "deliverance, this is deliverance" bit towards the end is especially great.
Overall then, like many on here I suspect, I'm deliriously happy with how this album has turned out. It truly should appeal to a massive cross-section of the music-listening public: pop, rock and electronic/dance fans alike. I've thought this about every PRR album, but none more so than Hammer And Anvil. I only hope that an appropriate number of people now get to hear it, and give the band and this record the success they deserve.
Yeah I'm totally with you...I love The Exact Colour. That's been my problem with saying this is the first perfect album because I don't see TDT as having any dud tracks either, I like Aeropause too. I guess it's only really Disconnect I've ever had a problem with and even then, take off the first minute and I like the melody of the rest of it.
For me though, TDT has aged. I hardly ever listen to it now, I've got to be honest...I think I probably just listened to it too much, particualrly given the HUGE gap between its release and AVO. I think I probably just played it to death.
Won't start a big discussion on this because this is a thread for Hammer And Anvil, but my take on The Exact Colour and Aeropause is that they are decent but unremarkable tracks; 6/10 songs that kept some 8-10/10 tracks (In Aurelia, Intention Craft, Nimos) off the [UK] album. Reasonable songs but a waste of a tracklisting berth considering which songs didn't make The Dark Third. Never really liked Cupid too much (other than the "If we die like this right now" part which is, to be fair, top notch) and I think most agree Disconnect was a well-intentioned mis-step but a mis-step nonetheless. All the usual IMO stuff though.
Anyway, wrong album for me to get chatting on... anyone else feeling my 'Never Divide is the best' vibes?
I too love Never Divide, the guitar in the chorus is just... I haven't really got into Over the Top just yet, Give it a few more listens maybe. I love the riffage in Last Man. I get some strange sci-fi vibes from it too, which is cool.
Anyone else hope they're gonna start the scala gig off with Blitzkrieg? Since they've been using it to open Les Malheurs, perhaps the whole song will go before it. I can but hope.