“Terrörhammer have proven that they possess the capabilities and chops to rival some of the larger names in the genre. While not utterly ‘crushing’, and never intended to be, it is a great throwback-style speed metal release that offers floods of riffs and enough diversity to eliminate the element of repetition.”
Under the Unholy Command
Catacombs of Pandemonium
Necro Speed Megalomania
Blood for the Countess
Dawn of the Pentagram
Church of Sodomy
Hailing from Serbia, Terrörhammer formed in 2010 and released their first promo in 2012. From there, an EP and a single were released, culminating in 2015’s Under the Unholy Command full-length. While Under the Unholy Command is often labeled as a ‘blackened’ thrash or speed metal album, it’s more reasonable to simply describe it as speed metal. While borrowing generously from the template forged initially by groups like Venom, Sodom, and Motorhead, Terrörhammer still maintain a unique personality and are aptly capable of writing surprisingly diverse and catchy music.
Intro track aside, “Necro Speed Megalomania” bursts out of the gate with a fifth chord driven riff made rhythmic through palm-muted staccato notes fixed to a central tone. Largely chromatic in composition, the uptempo punk-style drumming serves accordingly; as a pace keeper and a whip that continues to add urgency behind the main riffs. Vocalist Pentagramator provides what is essentially the only ‘black metal’-influence on Under the Unholy Command; his tight-throated raspy vocals. A very traditional ‘verse/chorus/verse/~’ structure is utilized, reaching conclusion through an anthemic verse driven by a blaring mid-range chord-driven riff that leans more towards punk than metal.
“Final Opression” continues the traditional ‘verse/chorus’ idea but hits slightly harder than “Necro Speed Megalomania” courtesy of more direct musical focus and “Blood for the Countess” is driven by a central riff that is as much Venom as it is early Iron Maiden.
The music takes a shift at “Hell Commando”, which is driven by a mid-tempo blastbeat and animated by a riff that can remind listeners of Sarcofago’s “Satanic Lust”. Another shift in musical execution comes with the following track, “Dawn of the Pentagram”, which sees a more punk-leaning speed metal execution on par with Toxic Holocaust.
“Graveyard Witch” is another big turn in songwriting. Less a speed metal song and more of a straight sleaze-rock exposition that can fit them into the same category as acts like Midnight, “Graveyard Witch” features traditional rock-style verse structure paired with powerful and catchy chorus lines.
“Atomic Overload” and “Church of Sodomy” both return to the faster, heavier speed metal approach to songwriting. “Church of Sodomy” closes the album with some heat by being the fastest song on Under the Unholy Command.
The production across Under the Unholy Command features an updated sound with crunchy, dynamic middle range guitars and a flatter, more mid-range bass drum sound. The gritty bass guitar lines are clear and made all the more prominent by the often-simply structured guitar riffs, allowing plenty of room for the bass to thrive.
Terrörhammer have produced a catchy record with Under the Unholy Command, one that would appeal to fans of groups such as Toxic Holocaust or Midnight. Listeners looking for something that is more acutely a true representation of ‘blackened’ thrash such as Aura Noir or middle-era Absu should take into consideration that Under the Unholy Command leans firmly on the side of traditional speed metal and punk and not so much on the side of black metal and thrash.
Under the Unholy Command is an excellent release coming out of the Serbian scene. Terrörhammer have proven that they possess the capabilities and chops to rival some of the larger names in the genre. While not utterly ‘crushing’, and never intended to be, it is a great throwback-style speed metal release that offers floods of riffs and enough diversity to eliminate the element of repetition.