Breaks Loose

Thijs Bruyns (bs, voc), Ray van Wijngaarden (dr), Bart van Rixel (git), Alex van Die (git)

format: CD Tracklist:
  1. Discovery
  2. One By One
  3. High Score
  4. Chinatown Braindamage
  5. Low Rider (bonus)
  6. White Hot Steel (bonus)
  7. Run For Your Freedom (live) (bonus)
  8. Steel (bonus)

recorded: 1984-91
re-released: 2006
country: Holland
label: Rusty Cage Records
#: RCR-0002
edition: 2000


There's no denying the cult rep of these guys. Having started out in the very early 80's and never really calling it quits despite a less than meager list of releases, you have to give them some cred for staying true to form through the many years. Hell, they even made a co-op album with US cult band MENTORS in '99 under the MENTORHAWK moniker and if that isn't proof of utter koolness I don't know what. Since I like to think that Metal is the last genre on earth that could get by on 'cool' alone I can't really end this review here, so let's hear what these guys were all about...

Even with such a pounding, catchy opener as "Discovery" I couldn't help being just a wee bit disappointed after my first listen. I've got a soft spot for MOTÖRHEAD-worshipping Metal, and while Bruyns mimics the vocals down to the last creek of Lemmy's iron jaws I still find the music a bit too amateurish compared to contemporary masters like KILLER(Bel), VULCAIN or DUM DUM BULLET. After a couple of rounds on the stereo it's however clear that "Breaks Loose" is a grower, mainly thanx to the less motörheady NWOBHM-like parts, like the great melancholic chorus of "One By One" and tasty guitar harmonies in the instrumental "Chinatown Braindamage" and on the superb bonus track "White Hot Steel" from their '82 debut demo HAMMERHAWK truly shows they could swing the classic Heavy Metal power chord if not with great musical skill so at least with great spirit. As for the last 2 bonus tracks I must confess this is the only later recordings by the band I've ever gotten a chance to give a proper listen to. Live track "Run For Your Freedom" sound like a natural, metalized progression from the EP and demo material and by 1991, when the closing number "Steel" was recorded for a local compilation album, HAMMERHAWK had clearly profiled themselves as a solid, raw Power Metal/Hard Rock force to be reckoned with.

The only half-serious criticism I can come come up with concerning this release is that the CD format would have allowed more bonus material. From a band with a career this long there surely must be more recordings on the shelves just waiting to be dusted off.

Listen to this record here. (provided by the Vibrations Of Doom webzine)

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