Hokum - No Escape - Independent 2006
Running Time: 27:37
This band of thrash-happy Germans is quick to embrace the roots of oldschool
metal, but shows some growth from their 2005 EP, First Blood. Downbeats and choppy riffing are what it's all about in 'Manticore', the verses faltering a little, relying on catchy Death Angel-isms for the chorus. I generally like to hear a bit more vocal variation than 'Manticore' gives me, Benjamin Geppert being clearly of the Chris Barnes School Of Delivery. 'Silent Assassin' varies wildly, from mid-paced crunch to heavy groove, while the first two minutes of 'Face The End' contain some of the most catchy music to be found on No Escape. Geppert's monotone growl fits this material well, and 'Face...' is probably the time when the vocals and music gel most effortlessly. Bassist Jonas Fischer has a steady technique, and (unless I miss my guess) an appreciation for funk and jazz styles, which comes through in his playing on the odd occasion. The straightforward march of 'The God Within' injects hardcore gang vox in the chorus, but manages to do so without detracting from the perception of Hokum as a metal band. If you were to slow down sections of 'The God Within', it'd be easy to see some Obituary in the sound of Hokum, albiet slightly more varied than the Floridian foursome's mammoth sluggish assault. 'The Loving Father' and 'The Beloved Ones' make up the concept piece, 'Goats Part II', which pulls no punches in its treatment and description of child abuse. Beginning with a deceptively mellow intro, 'The Loving Father' soon rages into the heaviest moment of No Escape, then into a 70s-inspired guitar solo, courtesy of the capable Michael Vogl. Skinsman Peter Reiter is all over the place in both 'The Loving Father' and the amped musical homage to Megadeth's Peace Sells...But Who's Buying that is 'The Beloved Ones', displaying both power and a sense of not overplaying.
While the debut was a more bare bones affair, No Escape is the sound of a band stretching its own boundaries in search of that one thing that will differentiate it from the norm. I'm not saying they've found it, but I will say that if things keep improving at this rate, after a couple more releases, Hokum should ready to do some damage.