Album Of The Day: Hammers Of Misfortune ? The Metal Blade Reissues

Kategorie: Roadburn Festival
geschrieben von: Roadburn Festival geschrieben am: 24.08.2010 um: 03:10 Uhr

Lovingly pinched from Hellbound: San Francisco?s Hammers of Misfortune have recently signed to Metal Blade, and as a result, the label has reissued their entire back catalogue in hopes that it will get the due recognition it missed the first time around. With no expectation and no foreknowledge of the band, I tossed myself in at the deep end to review these four reissues and wound up discovering something completely fresh.

The Bastard (2001)

Starting out your canon with a concept album is inherently bold. Starting out your canon with a concept album that effortlessly blends elements of classic NWOBHM power metal, gentle-madrigal folk, black / death metal, traditional doom, and prog? that doesn?t only take some balls, it takes exceptional talent. But The Bastard does exactly that without a hint of a misstep.

The concept (let me see if I got this right) is a three-act tragedy about an illegitimate son confronting and defeating the tyrannical father / king who abandoned him at birth and taking up his reign. Along the way are oaths of vengeance sworn in Hell and a Blood Ax is thrown in for good measure ? got that so far? All of which would be a moot point if the musicianship wasn?t completely stellar. But not only does the music manage to blow your mind with its sheer diversity and intricacy, it?s also cohesive and damn if it isn?t catchy in places.

Mike Scalzi voices the main character here, and my first impression is to automatically compare this to Slough Feg, but of course there?s going to be a common influence between ?Feg and HoM ? both Scalzi and John Cobbett pulled double-duty in both bands at the time, and as chief songwriters, how could the similar influence not rear up? The soaring operatic vocals of bassist Janis Tanaka are breathtaking, and Cobbett?s guttural turn at the mic voicing the tyrant king is also noteworthy.

The guitarwork is impeccable; light-handed with the solos but that?s not a complaint ? a lesser progressive band would have simply soloed all over the map to impress you. But the idea is for this album to be taken in as a whole, and not just the sum of its parts, so singling out standout songs is pointless here. My recommendation is that you take the entire album in, in one sitting; you?re an active participant as the listener and this is not background music. Also, though I was listening to a digital advance, it is my understanding that the album?s artwork paints a clearer picture of the storyline, something to consider as you undertake a listening session here. Highly impressive, I can?t wait to see where they go next. (8)

Continue reading: Hellbound Welcome to the Archives HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE: The Metal Blade Reissues.

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