Never underestimate simplicity. As UK bruisers Grifter so eloquently pointed out ‘the simplicity of the riff is key’ and this is a lesson that German metal band Eisenhauer have taken to heart. Simplicity is nothing to be scared of and, when coupled with a powerful sense of identity and a genuine enthusiasm for the genre, as exemplified here it can be a most potent weapon indeed.
A four track EP released at the tail end of last year, ‘horse of hell’ is Eisenhauer’s second effort and it does a near perfect job of banging heads with suspicious ease. Opening with ‘sail my soul’ there’s a strong element of Grand Magus to be found in the band’s elegantly wasted riffs and in Christian ‘Waxe’ Wagner’s melodic yet gritty vocals. Dishing out taut riffs that share heritage with Maiden and Priest and throwing in a few harmonies for good measure, Eisenhauer really can’t go wrong and if you share a love for traditional heavy metal then Eisenhauer will definitely do it for you. The title track is up next and, with its shimmering intro and Thomas ‘Ase’ Aschermann’s smooth bass runs, it immediately sets itself out as the sort of mid-paced epic that Iron Maiden do so well. Building over a number of minutes, the track lulls the listener into a false sense of security and suddenly explodes into life like a thunder clap, triggering a head banging frenzy and sending the blood surging through the veins. Next up ‘never surrender’ is, as you might imagine form the title, full-blooded, fist-pumping metal that makes you want to stand astride a mountaintop surveying the land below and planning your military strategy of domination (OK, that might just be me, but it’s a damn fine track). The final track, named after the band, emerges from a haze of feedback and throws a hint of Sabbath into the mix for good measure. A pounding performance from Johann Bechteler proves to be both understated and heavy as hell and the doomy sound works well as a finale for this all-too-brief EP. Interestingly the chorus recalls nothing so much as Rammstein, with the slow riff and Teutonic delivery, but overall it’s heavily influenced by NWOBHM and classic metal fans will find plenty to admire.
‘Horse of Hell’ is a great EP with classically styled, Dio-aping artwork, hard hitting riffs, solid production and memorable riffs. This is definitely one for the denim ‘n’ leather brigade to savour and it certainly gave my neck a good workout!