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Into the Vortex

Hammerhead

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Album Review

If Hammerhead's debut was to alternative rock what Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was to independent film — a harrowing glimpse into the cold, hard heart of darkness — Into the Vortex is more like Quentin Tarantino's equally violent, but more sophisticated Reservoir Dogs. On their sophomore release (not counting the live EP, Evil Twin), the band applies a greater degree of finesse to their bloodthirsty din. Although the record pummels as hard as their 1993 debut, Ethereal Killer, vocals have become a bigger part of the equation and the pace isn't quite so unrelenting. Comparisons to fellow Amrep outfit Helmet, before they went off into a more metal-oriented direction, would not be misplaced. The song "All This Is Yours" has come to define the now-Minneapolis-based trio with lines like, "I wash my hands of this dirty world/It makes whores out of pretty girls." Guitarist/vocalist Paul Sanders sounds as if he's channeling the Laughing Hyenas' John Brannon (one of the top throat-shredders of the 1990s, if not all time). Other numbers, like the opening track, "Swallow," explore the roots of violence ("My mother she hates me/Turned my father against me"), while "Zesta" ("Live alone/Die alone") is nihilism boiled down to its purest essence. "Galaxy 66," on the other hand, proves that these three ordinary-looking Midwestern cats could kick the jams out just as hard without any lyrics at all (and without getting too "proggy" in the process). Into the Vortex indeed. ~ Kathleen C. Fennessy, Rovi

Customer Reviews

set your phaser to kill

this band gurgles with misanthropy. check out 'swallow', for instance; a song about parricide in which the protagonist makes a pact with a bullet. had 'brest' been played on the radio, an international workers' revolution would have happened in 1994. paul erikson's vocals on 'starline locomotive' sweeten the deal a tad, but don't be fooled. he isn't a nice man at all. either is jeff moridian, jr.; probably the most intense drummer you've never heard of. i definitely recommend 'into the vortex' for anyone who feels the urge to check hammerhead out. it's not their best, but unarguably the most accessible by, arguably, noise rock's finest.

HAMMERHEAD

THESE FELLOWS FOUND A CRACK IN THE SPACE TIME CONTINUIM AND SPLIT IT WIDE OPEN WITH SPACE SOUNDS OF FURY AND ANGST AND BEAUTY AND PAIN. i love them

A cosmic freight train hitting you in the ears...

Hammerhead is one of the great lost souls from the AmRep period of the mid '90s, and I was sad to see them go...Into The Vortex is their great effort, although all of them should be checked out. Brest, Double Negative...they're all awesome. It was great to see them back in '95, and it was seriously the loudest show I've ever seen. It is sad that they're gone, but be sure to Google "Vaz", as the drummer and lead singer have continued on in the venue of NYC.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

With power and intensity to spare, post-punk hard rock trio Hammerhead could as easily have been called "Sledgehammer" (even if a heavy metal outfit from England hadn't beat them to it). Paul Sanders (vocals, guitar), Paul Erickson (vocals, bass), and Jeff Mooridian Jr. (drums) formed the group in Fargo, ND, around 1990, and moved to Minneapolis, MN, just a few years later. Amphetamine Reptile, which is also located in Minneapolis, released all of their recordings. The band has cited Taxi Driver's...
Full Bio
Into the Vortex, Hammerhead
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Customer Ratings

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