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Himsa Summon In Thunder

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Friday, December 28, 2007 @ 0:31 AM


Century Media

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Seattle’s Himsa have been kicking around the thrash metal/hardcore scene for almost a decade, yet have largely remained on the fringes despite a comparatively listener-friendly sound. Having guitar players (six) and drummers (three) come and go at a furious pace probably hasn’t helped the band build momentum – nor did the Avenged Sevenfold-like gothic tinges of earlier works like 2003’s Courting Tragedy and Disaster.

But with their fourth, and strongest, full-length Himsa may now have all the pieces in place to make a genuine statement. Summon In Thunder sees original guitarist Sammi Curr returning and the band streamlining its sound to more full-on thrash, with just a hint of hardcore fits and starts to lend some extra muscle. Both prove to be smart moves.

Thunder, the band's Century Media debut, is a stampeding work that sprints right out of the gate with the pummeling "Reinventing The Noose" and rarely lets up. "Haunter," "Big Timber" and "Given In To The Taking" proceed briskly, interrupted ever so briefly by, for example, "Haunter's" hulking breakdown where singer John Pettibone gets all Cookie Monster to match Curr and Kirby Johnson's mammoth riffs. Johnson and Curr also give things something of a Swedish-style twist with their tamden guitar flourishes, notably in the fantastic "Big Timber," "Den of Infamy" and "Hooks As Hands," or the grand intro to the epic "Skinwalkers."

Granted all that's not exactly reinventing the wheel, but here it's a tactic that is quite effective. The band employ these elements sparingly, allowing the brutal catchiness, complexity and velocity to work together instead of butting heads or sounding like a mishmash - something that can't be said of many of their brethren.

Where Himsa do score extra points for originality is in the spooky lyrics Pettibone scripted to the aforementioned "Hooks As Hands," the title track and "Curseworship" which evoke so much more than the usual personal torment - even though his vocals are pretty much the standard bellow. Take a gander at the wickedly cool and inventive video for "Big Timber" sometime and you'll see these guys are more about nature's wrath than catharsis.

It's worth sitting through all the crap on Headbanger's Ball to see "Big Timber's" merry band of Sasquatches meet their grisly demise at the hands of an angry forest after said Bigfeet pick the wrong trees to chop down to make their instruments. Never have puppets, construction paper and pipe cleaners been used with such creepy effectiveness.

* * * 1/2


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