Bloody Hammers have restored my faith in modern metal. Not only do they play a modern style of “doom metal” better than most of the few bands today (well at least the ones that I’ve heard) that play that style, but they also sound like themselves while doing it. The world is full of Black Sabbath imitators, very uninspiring stuff unless you’re actually Sabbath (I use Black Sabbath, of course, because they are the original “doom metal” band.)
In actuality, Bloody Hammers do have a very classic metal sound. They do mix Sabbath influences with Alice Cooper, in the way just about every song sounds like you’re at a horror show. Just the song titles alone, like The Town That Dreaded Sundown, the opening track to their new album Under Satan’s Sun. Adding to the spooky title is an excerpt of “The Hearse Song” right at the beginning, which starts the album off right. It’s only about twelve seconds, but that twelve seconds alone gets you in exactly the right mindset for the album.
But that’s just the first twelve seconds of The Town That Dreaded Sundown. The song itself is slow and heavy, just what you’d expect from a doom metal band. It’s not so much a riff heavy song, but regardless the music is catchy, and Anders Manga does a great job hooking listeners with his vocal melodies. The most unique element of the song, as well as others on the album is the sound of piano being played. It adds an element to the music that makes the song more worth listening.
Spearfinger seems to turn up the music a little more; things are a bit louder, a tad faster, and all around more intense. Where the opening track sounded rather relaxed, Spearfinger is much more in your face. This time the song is more riff heavy and you notice more than just the vocals and the piano. The album’s title track Under Satan’s Sun also has a faster pace from the rest of the album, though it’s not as in your face.
The album only gets darker with the stand-out track Death Do Us Part, which isn’t quite as loud (except for the chorus) but there is still a sense that something is creeping up on you when listening to it. The organs in the song help with that, while the guitar riff to start off the song makes it feel like I’m standing alone in the dark, even though the music video depicts something far from that.
The horror show continues with The Moon-Eyed People. When this song starts off, I hear alternative metal influence, but that quickly subsides back into the bands doom metal sound. The song has a Sabbath-ish riff. Then there is Welcome to the Horror Show, which brings perspective on the concept that the band is trying to make a horror show in album form. Of all the songs on the album that follow this horror show gimmick (I use the word gimmick positively) this track really makes me believe there is some actual influence from old horror movies in the bands song writing, rather than just being another Alice Cooper.
Bloody Hammers do a pretty good cover of Alice Cooper’s Second Coming on Under Satan’s Sun. They make the song a bit heavier, the original song is from the early 70s, when it wasn’t a custom in heavy metal to have loud guitars (actually the guitar playing in the original version of the song were considered loud back then) and it featured many Alice Cooper trademarks like going from soft to heavy like the turn of Jekyll and Hyde. Aside from adding much more distortion to the music, Bloody Hammers also replace the sounds of piano in the song with keyboards, which helps make the song their own. Those who don’t know of the original song before listening to this version would likely think it’s a band original.
Two of the most stand-out tracks come at the end of the album. The fastest song on the album is Dead Man’s Shadow on the Wall. It has a groove/southern metal sound to it, probably there are elements of the fictionalized old west in the lyrics, so to make the music effective with the lyrics, southern rock/metal was the best way to go. I must say they do an effective job, and have a truly stand-out track thanks to it. Then there is The Last Alarm, which has moments of fast pounding heavy metal, but for the most part is bass driven, slow and deadly. In just under four-and-a-half minutes, the song takes you for a hell of a ride.
The album ends with The Necromancer. By the title, I was hoping the song was a Rush cover, but I was wrong. Instead we get one last look in to the scary world of the BloodyHammers, with another in your face heavy metal track. It may not hook listeners the way other tracks on the album have, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is as good of a track as any to have ended the album with.
I would say that Bloody Hammers are a perfect mixture of Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper, but I would also say that they are definitely their own band, and aren’t trying to be a second coming (no pun intended) of either of the two bands, but rather a first coming of themselves. Some of the songs can be a little too power chord friendly, which takes away from the noticeability of the music at times. Usually it’s saved by the piano/organ moments of the songs. That’s really the only remotely negative thing to say about the album. I not only feel as though this is one of the best albums to come out so far all year, but one of the best pure metal albums released in recent years.
“Welcome to the Horror Show” – I can’t remember the last time I had such a hard time deciphering one highlight from an album. In the end it made sense to be Welcome to the Horror Show. As I mentioned numerously, many of the songs sound like they could come from horror movies and this song only verifies that intention by the band. But aside from that aspect, the music of the song speaks wonders for the bands influences and their originality in taking elements of their interests and turning them in to music, and doing a heck of a catchy job at it.
9 (Out of 10)
|The Town That Dreaded Sundown||4:50|
|Death Do Us Part||4:10|
|The Moon-Eyed People||5:53|
|Welcome to the Horror Show||4:39|
|Under Satan’s Sun||4:16|
|Dead Man’s Shadow on the Wall||4:25|
|The Last Alarm||4:29|