Oslo power trio, Hammok, have firmly thrown their hat in the ring for AOTY and it’s only bloody March! Look How Long Lasting Everything Is Moving Forward For Once is incredible.

Release date: March 1, 2024 | Thirty Something Records | Bandcamp | Instagram

That might be a bold claim, but this is a bold album. From its unapologetic fusion of mathcore, post-punk, and indie rock, to its hook-laden choruses punctuated by fits of sonic rage, to even its ten-word title, Look How Long Lasting Everything Is Moving Forward For Once is here to make a statement. Those in the scene would be remiss not to notice, and objectively wrong not to scream its praises.

The title track opens with a moment of noise just long enough to say amen before splattering into the chaos that follows. Fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan will feel right at home. The storm suddenly passes and only manic guitar chords with chant-like vocals remain. The song erupts again and the listener is met with bombastic drums and chord changes covered in vibe. All of this is within the first minute of the album!

A strong opener is only part of what makes a great album. There must be bangers. Hammok know this and that’s why “Seance” is loaded in the track-two position. Synth bass and drum machines immediately begin stretching the album’s audio palette and provide an eerie, anxious energy for the track to get going. 30 seconds in, he screams, ‘And when I close my eyes, I feel it coming through’. What comes through is perhaps one of the best riffs to ever be played on a Gibson Melody Maker. The chorus is just as infectious! At a run time of two-and-a-half minutes, this is a great song to have on loop for a tick.

“Nothing’s Never Better” and “Wannabe (Billboard No. 1)” showcase the band’s post-hardcore and alternative influences. Both tracks brim with emo-tinged despair and lyrics that hang around in the brain-quarry long after the dust settles. A line in the former, ‘Wake up your family/It’s your turn to go’ lands with grim fashion, and the refrain in the latter of  ‘I worship cannibals’ drives home the point Mad Max style. It’s a one-two punch that fans of Birds in Row will enjoy as much as fans of bands like Petrol Girls or Gender Roles.

From here, the album steers back into some more mathcore and noise rock territory. “H.F.D” is vicious, verging on brutal when the breakdown in the bridge comes heralding in. Then, “Brainrotdesperation” has a driving energy comparable to “Seance”, but the ghost behind the steering wheel is far more unpredictable. The car flips off the road in slow-mo and the band accompanies the moment with a chill vibe that’s sure to elate fans of Exotic Animal Petting Zoo.

The passion continues burning wild and hot on “Opportunity Erased” and “Trap Door”. Both songs boast catchy hooks and blistering intensity. But before any ear fatigue could find a footing, “Post-Wannabe” chills things out for a minute to prep the listener for the epic “Eat You Alive”. When the track reaches its pinnacle, there’s something Deftones-esque in the section that goes, ‘Jesus christ I hate you so much/I want to see your world burn/You make me sick/Fuck you and fucking die’.

“Terror (Forever Lasting)” begins as an unlikely closer for the album with its cheery acoustic guitar chords, but in under a minute the song finds the band in the dirty, bloody scarred trenches again – the terror welling up inside until it boils over. ‘Pushing everything/That′s all we’ll ever do/It’s exactly what you feared for’ leads the album into its inevitably bleak closing moments.

With Look How Long Lasting Everything Is Moving Forward For Once, Hammok have crafted one hell of a record. It is sonically from a place of love for the scene, but it largely rejects the trappings and tropes associated with these niche genres. The auditory alchemy always feels in service of the songwriting first. And just as performing music with this level of complexity and emotion is impressive for a three-piece, it’s even more so that Hammok have forged such a unique sound in 2024. This is an album that would look tidy on any AOTY list.

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