RAMONDA HAMMER - HRS NO. 16

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Really, really good music to (die a little to) listen to. Let’s face it. Shit’s fucked. Ramonda Hammer gets it, and their response is to embrace the ebb and flow with a little bit of their own. The four piece calls back to the best of grunge, combining mood and melody with moments of unabashed frustration. Peppered with softer interludes, the band sludges, riffs, and grinds its way through dissonant ballads to make those moments of listening be a little less fucked.

About two minutes and fifteen seconds into “Too Much Too Recently,” Devin Davis releases the beast with a hell of a shout. The sentiment is fully understood when the band revisits the chorus lines of “it’s over now, and I can’t help wondering how many times before.” After a heavy final chorus, the outro vacuum seals all the energy before it. The switch creates a sobering realization that so much force and energy inevitably dissolves into something quieter. It has always and will always happen that way.

“Destroyers” begins with low, driving drums and bass, while the lead guitar cuts over the top with deranged sweeps that resonate over the steady progression. This shifts to a poppy melody…then they drop the hammer. Bass and guitar shift to heavy riffs, and the drums switch to a straightforward smash and crash to hold it down. In classic Ramonda Hammer form, everything builds up into a massive frenzy of complicated energy that resolves into something more soft and subdued. The moves from frenetic to subdued create a complex picture of fight and surrender, of the two being one in the same or interchangeable. It’s all a matter of perspective I suppose.