|Review: Hanker - Web Of Faith|
|Web Of Faith|
Label: Skyscraper Music
Year released: 2004
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: October 12, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Web Of Faith
Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (24 Votes)
Ahhhh, Hanker. At long last they've got a real production job by a for-real metal producer, and this has all the hallmarks of a breakthrough album. I'm taking my life in my hands writing this, as this here is our webmaster's fave band. And while I don't have much bad to say about this, I'm not raving either.
Well, this is no "Dead Ringer", but I just have to accept that Hanker have moved away from that style, and they aren't coming back. So this is another album in the Iron Maiden/old Helloween vein of "Snakes And Ladders", and it is a definite step up. For one, the band finally has a really good guitar tone and a pro-sounding mix, which punches the album up a notch and gives it real crunch. You really can't argue with the guitarwork on this CD, as it is really just excellent. There are some killer riffs and harmonic leads on every song. And as always, there are no fucking keyboards to dilute the metal. Most of the tunes here are midpaced, and I think a certain lack of variety in tempo hurts the album a bit, as most of the songs are at pretty much the same speed, which makes them tend to blur together on a casual listen. Some folks have complained about the drum sound, but I guess I'm not a nitpicker about drums, as I really didn't notice anything bad about it. The snare is a little clickety in places, but not unless you are listening for it.
My real beef with this album is on the vocals. And not because Pascal is a bad singer, as I know damned well from previous albums that he is really good. But the vocal lines on "Web Of Faith" are only rarely exciting. "Stigmata" has some good bits, and "The Huntsman" has a catchy chorus, but overall these vocal melodies are just not that memorable. They also have a Maidenesque tendency to repeat the chorus too much, so that even the good ones get stale, as on "Inside Me", "Let Me Out" and "Point Of No Return". Even this could be overcome, but Pascal just doesn't sing like he means it on this CD. He sounds kind of bored, and the recording on the vocals is way back in the mix and sounds hollow and thin, so it just kind of enervates the whole performance.
So I like this CD, and for old-fashioned Heavy Metal fans this is a worthy purchase, but I just know Hanker can do better than this. I know they are not going to go back to their older sound and produced anything as weird and cool as "The Dead Ringer" again, but if they are wanting a more commercial sound (which I certainly do not blame them for) they need more variety between songs, more catchy vocal hooks, and a production job that doesn't make the vocals sound like they were recorded in a shower stall. Fortunately this is worth it for the stellar guitars alone.
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