Each week we bring you Meet The Band, spotlighting a new or up-and-coming artist. This week’s featured group is Hammer King, whose sophomore album King Is Rising was just released. Vocalist/guitarist Titan introduces us to Hammer King.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Hammer King.
Titan: The legend says that the band was formed in 1978 by the Hammer King. We actually started working in 2014. Our debut Kingdom Of The Hammer King was released in 2015 and that’s when we started playing shows as well. Our mission was to release the second album within 1.5 years, and proudly that’s what we do now with King Is Rising.
Describe the songwriting and recording process for King Is Rising.
I always say that the songs are written by the Hammer King. And that’s practically true. When we get together at Castle Rockfort, our rehearsal space, we usually either talk business, prepare a show or work on new stuff. Sometimes there is a little piece of music or a riff and we start fooling around with it. Whenever we like the direction the jam session takes, we push “record” as the demo device is always set up.
This way we gradually shape the King’s songs and after half a year we begin working on a real detailed demo including the solos, the lyrics, the choirs and everything. We are quite organized and focused. I can’t remember when exactly we started working on new music after Kingdom Of The Hammer King, but it must have been quite early. It was during our fifth show that we premiered “King Is Rising” and “Kill The Messenger.”
How has the band’s sound evolved from your debut album?
We have tried to stay true tot he sound of Kingdom Of The Hammer King and still I feel that we have some greater variety on King Is Rising. We have more fast-paced tracks, we still have the epic stuff and the traditional metal anthems. I think that we are a bit more confident in the King’s sound and style now and our very detailed demo we did before the album certainly helped a lot.
Is there a lyrical theme or concept?
We keep telling tales about the Hammer King and King Is Rising leans towards war stories. “Battalions Of War,” “For God And The King” and “Kill The Messenger” all deal with war, but that doesn’t make our albums concept albums..
Was the album title an homage to Judas Priest’s “Judas Is Rising”?
Not all. We love Priest, but the song started as a jam session. I accidentally sang “Gods of war, the King is rising…” and it sounded killer. We later got the song “King Is Rising” and we didn’t like its chorus, so we took this chorus from the jam session and had a great song within a couple of moments. The middle melodies are also from that jam. We used all its parts but the main song idea!
What are your expectations for the album?
We believe in the album and the response has been great so far! We hope to sell more albums then last time around and the sales of the debut had already been really great. We are in touch with booking agencies and we wish to play even more shows.
What has been your most memorable Hammer King live show?
Börsencrash in Wuppertal 2015 was stellar! We played with Wolf, Stormwarrior, Scanner and Enforcer. It was sold out and super professional. Great festival and a night of the Gibson Flying Vs!
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We will play the Burn This Town Festival in Rome with Sacred Steel and Battle Ram. More festivals and club shows are already booked. We will be busy, but we are also in contact with booking agencies. Hopefully we will have a strong partner to get more shows.
What was the best concert you’ve attended as a fan?
Seeing Saxon in Belgium from the side of the stage after a lengthy chat with Nigel Glockler. Nibbs Carter came to me to say “good show, man, good show.” What an honor. I highly respect Saxon, they have worked very hard to get where they are. And Biff Byford has constantly improved as a vocalist in the last 20 years. He is 65 now and kills everyone. Living legends, they are!
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Currently Saxon and the Beach Boys.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Thank you very much for your support! Spread the word, share the video, come and see the shows. God bless the King, may the King bless you!
(interview published November 12, 2016)