Given this combination of development team, sample‑base and technical features, it’s perhaps no surprise that Hammers sounds very impressive. Given that a snare has been included, alongside the bass drum and roto toms, you could use Hammers to provide the core of an acoustic drum kit for rock projects. Used with some of the processed mics, you could easily go into a Nine Inch Nails industrial rock sound. Equally, because the depth of sampling provides an excellent dynamic range for all the drums (they sound great when played softly), the underlying sounds could sit quite happily within a conventional orchestral setting. However, when your playing starts to get into the higher dynamic layers, the sounds can get huge; trailer composers are going to love Hammers.
It’s hard to pick a favourite or two because there really isn’t a weak link. However, to take a single example, the Toms are particularly impressive and, because they include solo, two‑player, four‑player, rollers and brushes as techniques options, you can coax a huge range of different sounds from them. Solo via the Close mic can create a very intimate sound. Add in a blend of the overhead mics and you get a real sense of the space in which the drums were recorded; it’s powerful stuff even before you add more players, some of the processed mic options or a dollop of reverb. The brushes are also excellent and have a real sense of character.
With the exceptions of the ‘solo open’ articulation for the bass drum (which rings out beautifully), everything is kept very punchy, and this obviously suits Hammers’ role as a source of ‘action’ drums. While you can dial in intimate, the bass drums can go massive, the surdos are impressively beefy, the roto toms, frame drums and darbukas are clear and have plenty of character, and the scrap suitably quirky. The standard of sounds is first class across the board.
The loop‑based content is also very good and provides some instant inspiration for new musical ideas. Usefully, the performance intensity across the loops is varied and this makes it easier to combine loops from different drum types without things necessarily getting too full‑on. That said, you don’t have to layer too many loops to build a complete performance, especially if you want to annotate that with some single hits to provide accents.
Using the mod‑wheel gives you real‑time control over the dynamics of the loop performance and is really effective. The low‑pass filter is also effective in this regard, but works particularly well with the impressive loops from the scrap/metal instruments. These are just the job for creating tension and automating the filter lets you control just how that sense of tension builds.
The conventional loops are great. However, for me, the stars of the loop content are the warped versions. Whether it’s for adding a sound‑designed element to your latest industrial project or creating the perfect electronica‑based rhythmic pulse to a dark drama, action or horror cue, the warped loops have plenty to offer. In addition, the ability to blend between the different warp styles for each loop adds a whole new dimension to the content and lets you ‘sound design’ additional dynamics and variation into your mix. The concept is clever, the execution is slick and the sounds are super‑cool.
In use, Hammers can most certainly hit hard. It can deliver an impressively big and dynamic sound and the only catch for the composer will be ensuring the rest of your sound palette can keep up. Usefully, the UI’s Toolbar includes data on CPU, disk usage and RAM usage, and while I happily managed to construct a suitably bombastic drum track from four instances of Hammers, if you want access to all the single drum presets and both loops sets in a single project, that’s going to require a pretty substantial host computer. That’s perhaps to be expected — such big sounds obviously derive from a big sample set — but it is obviously a practical consideration for potential users.
These samples would grace even the biggest of Hollywood blockbuster scores... and I would hazard a very safe guess that that is exactly where you are going to hear them very soon.
Perhaps the other obvious comment is that Hammers’ pricing — which I think is perfectly fair given the quality of the instrument — means it is most obviously aimed at busy media composers. I’m not sure I’d choose Hammers as my first serious drum library if I was interested in scoring for film or TV but, if I was looking for something to complement a more conventional orchestral drum/percussion library specifically to get a harder‑edged sound for action, horror and epic trailer use, then it would make an excellent choice. And, while there are plenty of established drum libraries that might also perform such a role — Damage 2, Stormdrum 3, Saga, 8dio’s Epic series, Drum Fury, amongst others — Hammers is right up there with the very best. These samples would grace even the biggest of Hollywood blockbuster scores... and I would hazard a very safe guess that that is exactly where you are going to hear them very soon. Big, bold and capable of being brutal, this is top‑class stuff.
- Sounds fabulous.
- Very flexible ambience options.
- Excellent loop content for instant gratification.
- 100GB download.
- Decent host computer required for more than a few instances.
Spitfire Audio and Charlie Clouser have created something pretty epic with Hammers. Action, horror, drama and trailer composers ought to lap it up.