Review Summary: Even though now defunct, Himsa can be content to have released their most accomplished album to date, a swan song not only for them, but also for the metalcore genre they were often associated with.
With ‘Summon in Thunder’ Himsa, once again, keeps in front of the common metalcore crowd, with their preference to evolve at their own pace, rather completely switching sounds from record to record to gain the approval of the Myspace auidience, completely shatter the walls between the metal and hardcore genres while injecting this rubble with sheer brutality, giving Himsa the sound of a ferocious, caged animal trying to escape from confinement,
With vocalist John Pettibone’s imposing barks, yells, shrieks and growls giving off this impression, as well as having more authority then most metal or hardcore bands have in their entire discography, leaving audiences wondering how his throat can even summon such thunderous vocals (no pun intended).
However, even with the vocals of this album being the main reference point throughout, instrumentally this band is no slouch either with them fitting in quite well with the feel of the album, as well as stepping up a notch from previous efforts ‘Courting Tradegy And Disaster’ and ‘Hail Horror’
With guitarists Sammi Curr and Kirby Johnson being the standout, having really improved, filling the album with individual riffs and original solos, they bring the metal to the album (just check out solo near the end of ‘Skinwalkers’), instead of the generic drop-C riffs that most current metal bands use in their quest to sound ‘br00tal’.
How about the contributions of bassist Derek Harn? Well as you might expect, it’s basically non-existent (thanks for starting that trend Adam D.) and when heard, either is following the drums or the guitars, but in the context of this album, isn’t the easiest thing to do.
The drumming however is a different story, with it being possible to give the elderly heart attacks and make small children explode. Even though drummer Chad Davis enjoys his double bass, he also enjoys throwing in enough originality with his drumming to give each song his own individual feel and that is enough to be commended.
From the opening of ‘Reinventing the Noose’ to the final moments of the title track, Himsa keep the pedal the metal, with the near-doom ‘Den Of Infamy’ being a welcome diversion and the acoustic opening of ‘Skinwalkers’ being the exceptions.
The smash-and-grab attack of ‘Ruin Them’ is a prime example of this with the drumming, guitarwork and vocals all fitting together to deliver one of the most brutal songs on the album as well as reaffirming Himsa’s status to deliver crazy pit action wherever they perform (not that it needed any reaffirmation though).
Tracks such as ‘Big Timber’ and ‘Unleash Carnage’ are straight-ahead examples of what Himsa is about
: metal. Their mixture of metal and hardcore is infectious, with the sheer amount of brutality and lashings of melody throughout makes this album more enjoyable than most 'heavy' albums around these days.
While this album does has some flaws, such as the melding of some songs in the middle part of the album due to a similarity in sound, the approach Himsa has taken towards their metal sound, combined with the variety Himsa also employ throughout this album have paid off dividends for them, creating a commendable, well-rounded album.
Throughout ten years under the ‘Himsa’ moniker, the constantly changing lineup has introduced new ideas into their musical identity, resulting in a band whose individual approach to 2000’s metal has resulted in them releasing their best album in their careers.
‘Summon in Thunder’ was the sound of a band realizing their own impressive sound and could have been the start of finally reaching out of the underground obscurity this band was often afforded.
Since this being a first review and all, any feedback would be appreciated.