German quintet bring the old school thrash Seps style
It's always interesting to revisit a review when an artist's latest release comes across my cluttered desk. Case in point - Germany's Hokum. Their 2006 EP, No Escape, floated my boat helped in part by what I thought was a sound influenced by the 80s and 90s early death metal scene. But what I'm hearing with their debut long player, Ï€, is more akin to 80s thrash with death metal influenced vocals. The change in sound can be linked to the line-up changes with new vocalist André Epperlein having a big affect on this shift along side rhythm guitarist/vocalist Benjamin Geppert, lead guitarist Michael Vogl and bassist/vocalist Jonas Fischer. Keeping things in check behind the kit is new drummer Nicolai Retzlaff and his dynamic playing on Ï€ is another factor to Hokum's new found direction.
It only takes a matter of a few seconds to realise that the band's roots have either shifted or become more defined. Collapsing Synapse is clearing heavily rooted in '80's thrash. It's not just the riffs either. The production sounds like a slightly more polished version of the 1989 classic Sepultura album Beneath The Remains. That alone should prick up more than a few ears. The biggest difference between Ï€ and Beneath The Remains is Epperlein's vocals are slightly harsher and more death metal sounding than Max Cavalera's was back in the day. But everything that is on display here, from the simple jarring chorus of Live To Suffer to the thrashy Into The Wall and the groovier Sloth just ooze late 80s Brazilian thrash - they are by no means a poor man's 80s Seps, but man, it's hard not to draw the comparison.
The groove continues with the epic eight and a half minute The Dawn Of Change which flows effortlessly through a number of change ups and rhythms and features some effective clean backing vocals behind Epperlein's growl. The duo of How Long and The Key are quite a shift of gears as both move into more progressive territory whilst the band still retaining their thrashy edge. The instrumental title track, Ï€, rounds out the album and is more hard rock than thrash throughout but is still a more than worthy way to wrap up a fine debut effort.
Hokum have stepped up to bat and put on a damn fine show of it with Ï€. It may only be eight tracks, but it's forty two minutes of bloody good thrash with a few splashes of variety thrown in to keep it up vibe and interesting. If this sounds like your thing, then you'd be well worth checking these guys out