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American Draft - "Hawk" (CD)

American Draft - "Hawk" CD cover image

"Hawk" track listing:

1. Hawk
2. Diet of Worms
3. Dragon
4. Wind
5. Moule Roujon
6. See Ahre
7. Tree of Woe
8. Rise Of Man

Reviewed by on August 11, 2010

"Overall there is not much to praise or even remember about 'Hawk.' As a whole it leaves much more to be desired when compared to the genre’s other acts."

Instrumental metal is usually known for its long, sweeping, epic compositions that take listeners on amazing journeys using sound to tell the story. Bands like God Is An Astronaut, Explosions in the Sky, and Pelican do this extremely well with the peaks and valleys crafted into their sound. American Draft, however falls a bit short of creating the same sort of magic with their second album “Hawk.”

“Hawk” begins with the title track, a simplistic song centered around a single melody and tone that never varies much and really goes nowhere. With the exception of an interesting technical guitar solo near the end of track, there is nothing that makes the song stand out, setting the mood for the rest of the album. The song remains with the exact same riff throughout the entire depressing, gloomy track. “Hawk” is a forgettable song and is not the best way to kick things off, let alone be the album’s title track.

The following track “Diet Of Worms” changes style completely from the previous song, taking on an early 80s thrash persona. Some intricate guitar work makes things slightly more listenable but still refuses to go in any direction and build upon the song’s impressive first few minutes. The song ends in an unfulfilled fashion with a boring one-note breakdown. Fans of Megadeth might find more to be enjoyed with the song’s thrashy edge, but it is the only track on the disc with any such vibe.

“Dragon” is the first and only song on the album to feature any sort of vocal and yet again the attempt to change things up fails to impress. About three minutes into the hardcore tinged experimental track a preteen punk squeal breaks through the guitar fuzz and really acts more along the lines of comic relief. "Dragon" should have been a B-side.

While the majority of the material presented on “Hawk” is far from memorable, there are certain moments that do provide an almost enjoyable listen. “Tree of Woe,” one of the later cuts off the disc, does bring to mind acts like Pelican. The song moves in and out of thrashy riffing and melody driven sections which allow the song to take on an identity of its own without feeling forced or overly pretentious, like much of the rest of the album. The song’s sudden ending has a negative impact on what is the best song from “Hawk.”

Overall there is not much to praise or even remember about “Hawk.” As a whole it leaves much to be desired when compared to the genre’s other acts. With “Hawk” being the band’s second full-length release, there is much more room for growth and American Draft could very well become a dominating force in the coming years with a little focus and the finding of their true sound. That is if “Hawk” can be pushed under the rug long enough.

Highs: A cool moment or two that brings to mind bands like Mastodon and Megadeth.

Lows: Pretty much every song lacks direction and flow.

Bottom line: An instrumental metal album that makes you wish you were listening to something else.

Rated 1.5 out of 5 skulls
1.5 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)