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Hauk - "To Hear the Trumpets Call" (CD/EP)

Hauk - "To Hear the Trumpets Call" CD/EP cover image

"To Hear the Trumpets Call" track listing:

1. To Hear The Trumpets Call (7:17)
2. Love Song #4 (Burn Rome) (4:39)
3. Lamentation (5:08)
4. Raven Wings (Thrasing Ravens Mix) (4:35)

Reviewed by on February 2, 2009

"Hauk has more in common with Blue Oyster Cult than Amon Amarth, but hardcore fans of folk metal or people who want some Asatru influences in their music might find something to enjoy."

Heavy metal tends to be a highly emotional genre as the music provokes strong feelings in a listener because of its energy and intensity. Emotionally charged experiences are highly personal however, so one man’s life changing song is another man’s idea of a bad joke. Sometimes the elements just don’t come together as well as they could have, despite the band member’s best intentions, and the music that seemed like such a sure fire success in the writing stage comes off with less than stellar results after recording. Asatru based act Hauk has birthed such a creation with the EP “To Hear The Trumpets Call,” which tries it’s best to prepare its audience for Ragnarok in proper heavy metal fashion, but ultimately falls well short of the goal.

“To Hear The Trumpets Call” consists of two new songs, a re-recording of a previously released track, and a thrash influenced remix. Because of the lack of new content, and the fact that most of these songs can be found on the band’s MySpace page, the EP is probably aimed more towards new fans who want to find out if they like Hauk’s sound or not. The opening title track starts off with a good deal of promise, even if it is overly formulaic in its march-to-war approach, and has the strongest Norse atmosphere. The epic feel of preparing for war works for a few moments, until the keyboards are introduced. On all of these songs the keyboards always work at cross purpose to the guitars. Rather than injecting a melodic interlude or having the keyboards follow the same melody as the guitars they instead have an upbeat and almost cartoonish feel while the guitars are trying to rage on and get people ready the coming battle. The guitar parts can be quite compelling on their own for those who prefer the earlier style of traditional metal. They aren’t going to bowl anyone over with their technicality, but they do have a certain fun energy that will at least get the toes tapping, if not quite the heads banging.

The production doesn’t help much as it’s incredibly muddy. All of the instruments can be heard, but they are muted enough to make it obvious that production wasn’t a high priority. Whether the vocals help or hinder the music will be up to the individual listener. They are all entirely clean and understandable, and actually fit the guitar sound well, but the range and tone leave something to be desired. It’s not for lack of trying, as the front man is obviously giving it his all and has a good deal of passion, but the subject matter of the songs really could use a more experienced vocalist.

“Love Song #4 (Burn Rome)” comes as a bit of shock because it’s such a huge departure from the previous song. Gone are the battle cries and oaths to Odin, to be replaced by a love song that came two decades too late. Anyone who feels that 80’s hair metal is a legitimate form of music, and gets all hot and bothered by the idea of raising a raven crested sail and heading off to burn Rome for a lover, will have found a hidden treasure. Anyone else will find the whole affair too cheesy to be credible. The final song “Raven Wings” introduces a few innovations not found on the earlier songs. The thrashy tone and addition of a female vocalist for a duet in the chorus make it much more enjoyable and give it the potential to get stuck in someone’s head.

In a press release the band touted the EP as “the soundtrack to Ragnarok.” Well, not quite. Hauk has more in common with Blue Oyster Cult than Amon Amarth, but hardcore fans of folk metal or people who want some Asatru influences in their music might find something to enjoy.

Highs: Musicians have a lot of passion for what they are doing, interesting final remix

Lows: Vocals aren't appropriate to the music, keyboards don't work with guitars, bad production

Bottom line: Asatru based folk metal fans might enjoy this; anyone else need not apply

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)