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Album Review

Hammerhands – “Largo Forte” [Album Review]

Hammerhands stopped Toronto in its tracks three years ago with their debut full-length Glaciers. Since then they’ve been cultivating another album filled with some of the most sinister music today that also manages to be entirely listenable and a joy to watch live. Check inside for our review of their latest full-length.



There are few moments when you get to legitimately say “Oh, shit!” in music. Okay, maybe a lot more than a few. But when it happens to bands you’ve known personally over the years, the times become much more rare.

Largo Forte is one long “OH FUCK” that continues along it’s 6:66 run time. The first thing that becomes apparent are the sinister grooves that are appreciated currency for fans of Isis, Pelican, and Young Widows. But whereas those bands meander in and out of heaviness, this manages to explode in and out of those modes, while seamlessly integrating a Tom Waits sensibility through bridge parts that has actually brought shivers down the listener’s spine during this masterpiece of an album.

The full-length comes three full years after the GTA-bred outfit stopped everyone in their tracks with Glaciers, a monolithic album that gained the band a great deal of notice. A fact that becomes even more impressive when one considers how little touring the group were able to accomplish during that time span.

Though it doesn’t appear likely this may change and that this album will have to do in terms of catching their performance, this is not a problem when one is given an recording with this much power and force. Even when it delves into more down-tempo territory such as on “High Plains”, it is a massive sonic experience, an accomplished resident bar band if the premises were squarely in the deepest parts of hell. This impressive musicianship extends to various parts of the album, such as the keys under the hellish groove of the eponymous title track, or the saxophone work on “Darkerness”, bringing to mind both Cursed and Idylls respectively.

I’d compliment Largo Forte some more, but frankly I’d rather just go and listen to it, and so should you. Thank me later.

Largo Forte Track Listing:

01. Eighteen
02. Thunderchunk
03. High Plains
04. Largo Forte
05. Mezzo Grave
06. If You’re Not Part Of The Party, You’re Part Of The Problem
07. Where We Go
08. Darkerness
09. The Hardest Thing

Run Time: 49:16
Release Date: September 15, 2016

Check out the song “Largo Forte”

Director of Communications @ V13. Lance Marwood is a music and entertainment writer who has been featured in both digital and print publications, including a foreword for the book "Toronto DIY: (2008-2013)" and The Continuist. He has been creating and coordinating content for V13 since 2015 (back when it was PureGrainAudio); before that he wrote and hosted a radio and online series called The Hard Stuff , featuring interviews with bands and insight into the Toronto DIY and wider hardcore punk scene. He has performed in bands and played shows alongside acts such as Expectorated Sequence, S.H.I.T., and Full of Hell.