We all have one. The popular kid in high school who tormented you. The person that cheated on you. The coworker who took all the credit for your hard work. Everybody creates their own revenge fantasies. Each of us has at least one sworn enemy about whom we’ve harbored thoughts of exacting our revenge upon, even if we’d rather not admit to it. Even more so, every one of us is that person for somebody else. We are all guilty.
Not to be taken for granted, The Last Hangmen have taken this several steps further. In their debut album, “Servants Of Justice”, the band stands in as judge, jury, and executioner. In fact, the entire album seethes with a malicious intent which blasts through your speakers to grab you by the neck and mete out unholy punishment. Lying somewhere in the realm between thrash metal, power metal, and melodeath, these German metallers rely on sheer force; from the wall of guitars and furious blast-beats to the rasped, screaming vocals, it is clear that mercy is not on the agenda for today.
The album deliberately sets out to conjure the image of old-style public executions, and even the album art depicts such a scene. The instrumental intro/outro tracks go beyond mere filler to create a setpiece that recalls a slow, dreary march to and from the place in which many have met their ultimate demise, with the tracks in between offering a lot of good, solid riffage. And yet, as satisfying as the album is, there isn’t enough complexity for my taste. Subtlety and interplay are somewhat lacking between the instruments, which is a shame because this kind of music usually prides itself on having a kind of call and response that weaves in and out of each song. In addition, the lyrics certainly leave something to be desired, excepting the track “Knocking Tombstones Down”, which is my favorite track on the album.
In all, “Servants Of Justice” is a very enjoyable disc and one I’d easily recommend to my fellow metalheads. The Last Hangmen have proven themselves capable. Now they must refine their art in order to carve out something that is uniquely theirs. I look forward to hearing how they evolve in future releases.