Review: Jerseyband’s Forever Hammer EP

Jerseyband: Forever Hammer EPJerseyband: Forever Hammer EP (8/16/12)

“Not Hammer”

Jerseyband: “Not Hammer”

When we last heard from “lungcore” septet Jerseyband, the NYC ensemble had self-released Beast Wedding, a monster of mutated metal that conjoined Meshuggah-like “djent” with unwieldy horn-formed power chords. (Read more here.) Now the unheralded group is back to launch hammers into space with Forever Hammer, a four-track EP that reveals yet another side.

Though elements of jazz have appeared on past albums, they’ve been fleeting. More commonly, the horns have been de-facto math-metal riffs, circling and looping in complex sequences. Forever Hammer, however, is book-ended by “Tosm” and “Not Hammer,” a pair of tracks that are more overt in jazz influence — at least of the skronky variety. Each ends with wailing, free-jazz sax solos, and “Not Hammer” in particular is the most improvised that we’ve heard a Jerseyband horn.

“Together Forever” is even heavier on the brass, leaving the guitar, bass, and drums to play minor (and mostly undistorted) roles, but it still only falls partially under jazz. As horns stab in syncopation and the clean-channel guitar builds the tension, the song transforms to full djent metal with a horn accenting atop.

Bafflingly enough, Jerseyband remains without a label — perhaps too brassy for the metal labels, too heavy for the jazz labels. Forever Hammer might not be the best start for the uninitiated, but it’s still a mammoth piece of space debris, hurtling with ever-increasing speed. Grab it or get out of the way.

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