Review Summary: While it's not as mature as their later discography, Ham Fisted is still a good place to start for people looking to get into Local H, or people who just wants some enjoyable post-grunge.
By 1995, grunge basically died. By that, I mean listeners stopped really caring for it and looked for other genres to flood the rock radio waves, such as alternative, and post-grunge would not become popular until the mid 2000's. Because of all this, Local H's debut Ham Fisted
was a commercial failure, which is pretty sad, since it is a great record.
is one of the nastiest records Local H has ever put out, but also their most immature. Musically, the record mostly focuses on loud guitars in drop d-tuning that bashes through your skull, but with an added layer of catchiness that makes you want to listen to it on repeat. Take "Cynic" or "Mayonnaise and Malaise", for example: They're both very thrashy and rude, but Local H somehow manages to make surprisingly catchy hooks to them. The only issue with most of these songs are the lyrics.
Lyrical themes include failing relationships, being unhappy with your job, and going out to cheap sports bars only to get into a fight with someone. However, most of these themes are treated somewhat childish, as evident by "Bag of Hammers", where front man Scott Lucas shrieks "I'm No Baby"
and how you should "Fall back into your tar trap"
, which just sounds stupid. Although, the lyrics can be pretty harsh at times, such as the "I'm a hack, but you're a smoker's cough"
line form "Sport's Bar". However, once you get past these tracks, you are rewarded with two of the best songs from Local H's discography, "Chicago Fanphair '93" and "Strict-9".
"Chicago Fanphair '93" starts off furious, fast, and loud. However, around 30 seconds in, the song completely changes, becoming a folk-pop tune. A very good one, at that. The song, as it goes on, switches back and forth with these two styles, eventually merging the electric guitars from the punk chorus with the melody from the folk verse. After that behemoth, we get "Strict-9", which would have to be the most thought out track off of Ham Fisted
. Starting off with a nasty, grimy riff, and keeping your attention throughout. The best part would have to be the middle section, all the guitars have been lowered in the mix and slightly delayed, then, out of nowhere, the song blows back up and plays the same nasty riff from earlier, making "Strict-9" is one of the most memorable tracks by Local H.
While it's not as mature as their later discography, Ham Fisted
is still a good place to start for people looking to get into Local H, or people who just wants some enjoyable post-grunge.