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Hammers of Misfortune - 17th Street CD (album) cover


Hammers of Misfortune


Experimental/Post Metal

3.73 | 18 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Hammers of Misfortune are a band I have always liked for many reasons since 2003's "The August Engine". They fuse very strong metal riffing with inventive time sigs and some excellent keyboard work. The lyrics are a real drawcard for me as they are uplifting and thought provoking always. They have an excellent lead guitarist with John Cobbett and the organ of Sigrid Sheie is terrific. The sound reminds me of Riverside or Sky architect. The vocals of Joe Hutton are easy to understand and very well executed. Other musicians make up the soundscape including Chewy Marzolo on drums and Max Barnett on bass. Leila Abdul-Rauf is a fine guitarist and vocalist too, balancing all the male vocals. Sigrid Sheie also plays flute in places and sings. It is a grand metal sound that is generated, though the lineup has changed slightly adding extra members.

On this album "317" the title track is majestic and slow until we get to some very fast riffing on the wonderful '17th Street'. Sigrid's vocals are very noticeable and I hoped later we would hear more of her. There is a great doom metal crawling riff, so simple and effective. I loved how it just locked into a riff and kept the signature throughout and yet remained so completely compelling.

'The Grain' is a progressive ever shifting metal track with a terrific melody and very accomplished lead break. I love the riff on this just hammering along. The chorus is catchy too, though sung too often. The conclusion of this is organ shimmering over piano phrases. 'Staring (The 31st Floor)' is a short metal blaster, chopsticks piano over outbursts of distorted guitar. Nothing against Joe, but please let the girls sing for a bit and this is just non stop vocals and the melody is rather mediocre at best.

'The Day the City Died' follows with a fast tempo, and some nice time sig changes. A nice harmony between the male and female vocalists. This sounds lot like Symphony X in places. 'Romance Valley' is more fast metal to bang your head in to the wall to. Followed by soft slow meandering 'Summer Tears'. The lead break is great on this. Sigrid's sweet piano is dreamy. It has an unusual feel to this, not metal and descending chords sound like 'Phantom of the Opera' melody.

'Grey Wednesday' is next with grand doomy chord splashes, and then a fast riffing metal guitar with some massive Hammond organ. The fast tempo really woke me up after the slower material. It sounds very much like classic 80s metal in some ways, not Anthrax, Metallica or Slayer, more like anthemic power metal like Manowar, or Helloween. 'Going Somewhere' is the longest track clocking 10 minutes. The mini epic starts with piano and then a huge riff crunches in, Joe's strong vocals and some harmonies, though the ladies are silent on this except for echoing some phrases. The sig changes in a retro classic metal style. No lead break forthcoming and then another melodic riff and another verse some falsetto here too. The keyboard solos to follow are excellent though not as good as the lead break which consists of very fast hammer ons and speed picking. There is a galloping metal riff shift, and more lead breaks to end it.

"17th Street" is another solid album from underrated Hammers of Misfortune that deserve more reviews and attention.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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