Darryl: Guitar & Vox
Engineered at Translator Audio by Andrew Schneider.
Mastered at New Alliance East by Nick Zampiello.
The Blanket engineered by Devin Charrette at Mad Oak Studios.
ENTERPRISES is the second time around for ex-Roadsaw man Darryl Sheppard and co. under the Hackman guise, their first since 2007’s THE NEW NORMAL. Fuzzy, instrumental stoner metal is the order of the day, with an order of small vocals on the side.
Despite my intolerance for instrumental albums, I quite liked the band’s last album as they got right to the point and battered you with riff after riff, almost daring you to try and look away. And, try as you might, it was not possible. Sure enough, ENTERPRISE starts off where its predecessor left off, as “Panama” is a wicked little kick in the balls of roiling riffs that any stoner would be proud to call his own. Interest successfully peaked, Hackman proceed to hammer away at your defences for the better part of an hour, taking all kinds of twists and turns. “Monoceros”, “Number Eight, No Bullet”, “Not Anymore and Never Again”; these songs just roll over you like freight trains. All is well with the world.
Unfortunately, this album suffers from what I call Planet Caravanitis. In other words, a whole lot of aimless dicking around in the name of atmosphere. Approximately half of these tunes are either too long or consist of quiet, introspective nothingness (“End of Men” & “C’est La Mort”). I mean yeah, these guys are talented – no doubt – but the writing seems to have taken a bit of a step back on this one.
Then again, keep in mind the source here – I typically can’t stand instrumental albums, so the fact that I’ve listened to this album many times is probably a testament to how good it actually is. Regardless, Hackman are worth a listen for any fan of stoner rock.
The follow-up to HACKMAN's debut 'The New Normal' is hard to digest. It's a heavy chunk of brutal repetitive riffs, that force their way relentlessly through your brain. The guitar riffs have immense penetration power while the loud production intensifies that effect. Again, the vocals on 'Enterprises' are sparsely used but very efficient. There are still traces of Karma To Burn, but in the meantime HACKMAN has carved out their own musical niche. The arrangements of the songs are much more diverse in comparison to the first album and 'March Into Victory' is a perfect example for that. While the first section of this epic song is more or less embedded in a traditional rock sound, the second part is located in the land of ambient, loops and noise. The acoustic intermezzo of 'End Of Men' is like a rest area in HACKMAN's maelstrom of thuggish, fuzzed-out power chords, before 'Number Eight, No Bullet' hits you like a ton of bricks. 'Tragedian' is more melodic with a slight reminiscence of the 1970's while the melancholy of 'C'est La Mort' is just heart warming. Pain and pleasure are closely linked in HACKMAN's world so that you can't have one without the other. Guitarist Darryl Sheppard (Milligram/Roadsaw) is pushing the band forward with his boundless energy, backed by a pounding, dynamic rhythm section. If you feel exhausted after listening to the here included ten songs just listen to the hidden bonus track at the end of the album. It's pure ambient noise that maybe will help the listener to relax after that merciless rollercoaster ride. 'Enterprises' is a disturbing behemoth and another quality release in Small Stone Records's discography.
The new record from Hackman starts with a stomping instrumental (not the best way to start an record in my eyes) before MONOCEROS follows. The band from BOSTON is very slow, heavy and their aim is only to put some heavy riffs through your speakers. MONOCEROS is very slow, Doom Metal as it best. Especially the drums are very heavy and the vocals are rough, deep and full of hate. MARCH INTO VICTORY (10:26 minutes) is the right name for that stomping groove monster. Again slow and very heavy. END OF MEN is an acoustic song before the mighty NUMBER EIGHT, NO BULLET shows the little bit faster side of the band. Again the vocals (for the second time) are screamed and rare. I like the slower stuff from Hackman more. BLUDGE and TRAGEDIAN are the same direction before the more Stoner Rock song NOT ANYMORE AND NEVER AGAIN will bang your head. It shows some progressive elements inside the song (especially the drums) and again the untypical vocals. WAR GONG is a long song with a good jam-line beginning, a lot of silence in the middle and some feedback/distortion at the end. If you like it mostly instrumental and the atmosphere from Neurosis, check this band out! Sometimes it is a bit too boring, but they really produce fat and heavy riffs and if you like that style – this will be exactly the CD for you!
Led by guitarist Darryl Sheppard, late of Boston’s Milligram and currently a utility guitarist in Roadsaw, Hackman pays homage to the almighty Riff. (Hence the band’s MySpace handle being “hackmanriffs.”) With few vocals to get in the way, Sheppard and his rhythm section just let fly with crunchy, fudgy guitar licks – even solos are few and far between. On the one hand, it’s refreshing to hear this kind of hard rock boiled down to its essence – it’s the riffs we tune in to this stuff to hear, after all, and Sheppard plays ‘em like he was born to do it. On the other hand, several of these songs sound more like sketches, meant to be fleshed out later on, and in that sense I don’t know if stoner rock really needs its own Guided By Voices. But this album has given the world Bludge, as fine an example of what makes stoner rock endure as anything, and it’s sure to be a favorite of woodshedders everywhere. (Yes, kids, there was interactivity before CD-ROMs).
- Michael Toland
This is a great album to start your workday. At least for me it has been.
I’m lucky enough to sit in my own office so I can listen to music all day and not really bother anyone. However, super fast stuff will drive the lady in the next office nuts and if I play anything too loud the people in cube-land will start to complain that they can’t hear themselves talk about sports. As the work day progresses and everyone’s productivity increases, I can turn up the volume and tempo if I want. Most mornings I’ll start with something like Horace Silver or BB King, but I’ve also found that Sleep’s “Dopesmoker” is great to stimulate the brain into functioning.
This new Hackman album Enterprises is sort of like that.
When the Ripple asked me if I wanted to write up some new releases rather than the usual Mountain/Grand Funk oldies I said what the hell. I’ll only write about what I like and now I like Hackman. I had heard the name and knew they were from Boston but nothing else. The one sheet and bio from Small Stone Records says that Enterprises was recorded in Brooklyn. Hey, I live in Brooklyn! But probably not in the part of town where this was recorded. That’s good, because I wouldn’t want anyone making this kind of a racket in my neighborhood.
This record is loud no matter what volume you play it at. The opening song “Panama” is thankfully not a cover of one of my least favorite Van Halen songs but more like a variation on Black Sabbath’s “Hole In The Sky.” On the first spin of this record, it wasn’t until the 2nd song “Monoceros” when the vocals kicked in that I realized Hackman is mainly an instrumental band. Their riffs and jams are super heavy but very well written so the lack of vocals keep the songs compelling. A lot of bands that attempt this style of music wind up sounding like an extended Sleep soundcheck while they wait for the soundguy to turn on the PA system and put up some vocal mics.
There are 10 songs on this record and they flow together really well. “End of Men” is a two minute acoustic (eeek!) guitar interlude in the middle of the record that makes the heavy stuff sound even heavier. It gives the album some light and shade that many heavy bands avoid. It worked really well for Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. The sound on this thing is HUGE. The bass is filthy, the drums boom and the guitars crush. The vocals, when present, are hoarse, shouted statements of discontent (such as “I don’t want it/you can keep it” over and over). The song “Bludge” has samples of what sounds like a bunch of drunk rednecks arguing at a party at 3AM right before the cops show up.
You can just put this record on and be transported to the riff filled land for about an hour and not be interrupted. There’s also a great hidden bonus track after a few minutes of silence at the end of album that’s mainly ambient guitar noise. I wish I had the time to get baked and listen to this really loud on my home stereo but that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon. I would strongly recommend that you try it and lemmy know the results.
What is the one thing that we like about heavy music? The answer is easy: The Riff. New England's Hackman truly shares our sentiment and has decided to strip down everything else that comes in the way. If you always expect riffs in your music to have vocals and lead instruments to take its essence and steal the show, this clearly isn't for you. If on the other hand, you're the type that's already pretty damn kicked about this Karma to Burn reunion, you definitely must give these goons a shot.
With guitars and rare vocals supplied by Darryl Shepard from the awesome Milligram and Roadsaw, and a superlative rhythm section made up of bassist Jase and drummer Owen, these guys on their second album have achieved more than most other stripped down two/three piece bands could. Enterprises boasts of consistency, variety and working best within the self-set limits with no signs of monotony. The break-your-neck southern style uptempo grooves, the doom & gloom vibe, the chilled out, lethargic approach to songwriting, and churning out one catchy part after the other - it's all ingrained in your head by the time you're through with a couple of listens.
The band can do straightup songs just like anyone else in the business, but they frankly peak with something like March into Victory, stretched over 10 minutes this is a more atmospheric, epic and more dynamic and doom-fueled take on things and elevates this band into achieving pure tonal and sonic perfection. Diversity seems to be the general idea here, and there are acoustic arpeggiated passages like the interlude track End of Men to give the listener a breather before the next heavy motherfucker comes in and tears a new one. This is a very solid album from Hackman full of heavy fuzzed-out guitars, distorted rumbling bass and big hitting drums showcasing the power of The Riff. Especially watch out for the bonus guitar-and-bass track hidden right at the end, once the last song War Gong gets over. This kills.
- Srikanth Panaman
As if to prove a point about their first album, 2007's The New Normal, not being the end result of a casual linkup which just so happened to be captured on tape (it was that spontaneous -- for good and ill), Boston's Hackman wasted little time producing a follow-up in the curiously named Enterprises. More significantly, the predominantly instrumental power trio -- vocals do crop up, but sparingly and often indistinctly -- managed this quick turnaround after only recently taking on a new drummer (the one-named, Owen), also bringing on producer Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Pelican, etc.) to help out on what ultimately amounted to a much more interesting collection of songs. These songs broke down pretty evenly into the familiar and unfamiliar, in contrast with that first album. On the one hand, recognizably hypno-riffed escapades like opener "Panama," the stutter-paced "Bludge," and the first half of 'War Gong" (the second is made up of ghostly feedback) recalled instrumental stoner legends Karma to Burn, minus the creepy Deliverance vibes; on the other, stylistic detours ranged from the mournful acoustic reverie of "End of Men" and swirling chimes of "C'est la Mort," to the Southern-flavored doom grooves of "Tragedian." Of the cuts graced with actual vocals, the sludgy "Monoceros" showcased forceful but mostly unintelligibly hoarse shrieks from main man Darryl Sheppard, while the altogether brief "Not Anymore and Never Again" came off like twisted hardcore, and the uncommonly intense "Number Eight, No Bullet" was as close as Hackman got to composing a conventional ‘song' (albeit a pretty scary one). Finally, there was the extended rumination of "March into Victory," which, at over ten minutes in length, simply spun its wheels a little too long before getting to the interesting bits, comprised of mysterious (but effective) mumbling over slow-strummed, warped arpeggios. On the whole, though, Hackman took a major step forward with the greater diversity and inspiration to be found on Enterprises, likely meaning that they'll have a lot less to prove with their third album.
- Eduardo Rivadavia
Hackman's new album starts you off with a 4+ minute stomping, grooving, heavy-as-fuck instrumental, dominating all, and setting the tone for the entire album. Crushing, miserable, mostly instrumental, doom. Mmmmmmmmmm. Can I get some Karma To Burn with a side order of Neurosis? It's hard to face, but this newest offering from Hackman just may be even better than their debut. This time around they had producer Andrew Schneider at the helm, and it's a surprisingly thick and heavy sound for the trio. This album is perfect for a cold, dark, winter in the Northeast. Hackman, yet another local band to watch out for... holy shit, does New England have a doom scene? Ooohhhh, it just might.
Sometimes I hear a record that coincides perfectly with everything that’s happening in my life (at a particular time.) The songs are engraved in my head and play as a driving force that keeps me moving forward. Difficult situations are handled more easily with these mental soundtracks. With that being said, the new Hackman record “Enterprises” is my current power source.
“Panama” starts the record off right with heavy riffs and rock solid pummeling. This song could have fit nicely on their debut “The New Normal” with its KTB feel and consistency. The song fades out into the monster doom of “Monoceros.” This slow driver reminds me of Godflesh for some reason. Darryl’s vocals are pissed and shouted and they compliment the heavy main riff perfectly. “March Into Victory” is a 10 1⁄2 minute mother that starts with a heavy freight train of driving riffs and crashes into slower clean guitars with some spoken words and heavy accented bass. The song shifts into a bizarre transcendental ending.
The recording courtesy of Andrew Schneider is perfect. Darryl’s guitar sound is dirty and gritty and clean where it needs to be. Jase’s bass has the right blend of distortion while maintaining the heart pounding low end. The new drummer Owen seems to be the perfect fit with his s t y l e of syncopated beats and heavy drumming. Hackman have conquered the “almighty riff” with precision on every damn song. Some other notable mentions are “Bludge” , “Tragedian”, and the closer “War Gong.” The devastating and nasty “Not Anymore & Never Again” brings the fury of hardcore (real hardcore!) to the table.
If the Hackman’s first release “The New Normal” was a taste of what this band was all about, then “Enterprises” would be the rest of the meal. This is one killer release! For fans of heavy RIFF rock and doom, this is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
- Mark Richard (Backer)