Ever wondered what would happen if in some freakish futuristic experiment scientists created a musical genius with the madcap stylings of Mike Patton *with the indelibly British eccentricity of *Matt Bellamy *or *Damon Albarn?
Nah, me neither. But should your curiosity get the better of you, I'd suggest you lend your ears to 'Sword of Fire'. Crafted through the deranged, whacked-out vision of Nutty Professor-type kingpin Ben Smith, this is a new dimension to the Airhammer that first assaulted us with their 'Re-shaped Whilst Damp'3" CD in 2002. Having evidently let his creative juices run wild the past three years, 'Sword of Fire' is a hugely entertaining, albeit rather disturbing, journey through his psyche.
Think of it as a rock opera of sorts, your narrator/protagonist Smith a born storyteller with an apparent personality disorder. Along with fellow Airhammer Aaron Elvis he tells each tale with the wild-eyed enthusiasm of a young Rik Mayall, entirely fictional to everyone but himself, adapting the music with a peculiarly proficient flair.
Thus, you're taken on a journey from the strings-laced hillbilly romp of 'On my Farm' through to the finger-clicking jazz of 'Funny Thing That', the 1950s doo-wop of 'Don't Play Me For a Fool' down to the more sombre, lovelorn crooning of 'My Sweet Heart'. That they have a song called 'Reality's Hear' (synth-strewn hair rock) amongst such incongruous compositions is perhaps telling of their own creative make-up, yet on the strength of these songs reality to Airhammer seems nothing short of enchanting to outside ears. Even outlandish prog legend Arthur 'God of Hellfire' Brown shows his face towards the end of this 16-track marathon, on title track 'Sword of Fire', the song more akin to the metallic prowess of *Iron Maiden *than Brown's psychedelic ideals.
Of course, certain Patton watchdogs will no doubt be a little wary of their schismatic approach but it's Airhammer's remarkable talent and endearing qualities that overshadow such comparisons, making them compulsive listening for any Patton obsessive, Secret Chiefs 3 fanatical, Les Claypool worshipping oddball.
8Mat Hocking's Score