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Hammers of Misfortune - The Bastard CD (album) cover

THE BASTARD

Hammers of Misfortune

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.22 | 8 ratings

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avestin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars (Actually 3.5 stars)

When I first heard this band, I was thrown back to my youth when I heard metal in the 80's. I mean the straightforward, heavy metal with those riffs that made me feel so good, like I have reached home and am now in a safe place. But safe is not what this album is about; especially if you listen to the lyrics of songs such as You Should Have Slain Me or An Oath Sworn In Hell (which also happen to be my two favourite songs here). I will not bother you about the details of the story told in this theme album, but instead focus on the music itself, which is what I pay attention most. I will only say it will appeal to people who like fantasy tales.

HOM has close ties to The Lord Weird Slough Feg through its guitarist John Cobbett who founded HOM (and does the vocals as well) along with other TLWSF members - Mike Scalzi on keyboards and Sigrid Sheie who is the second vocalist. The fact that this is a concept album, does not only reflect in the story that is told in the songs, but can be figured out by the fact that there are recurrences of some sound themes throughout the album and they serve as reference points and are played a bit differently each time they are brought up.

The music - well, apart form it being based on what I view as 80's metal, it brings in a fresh and complex sound into it and makes for a very enjoyable listen, perhaps even for those not into metal music (although it will require some getting used to the more aggressive sides of the album). The guitars have a cool crunchy sound and the drumming can get very energetic and enthusiastic sounding when the tracks develop more and allow for the band's wilder side to come out. What else? Well, there are traces of Doom metal there, which can be heard on the more tortured and slow bits in some songs (Hunting Tyrant), but for those who are just afraid of this now let me calm you by saying; those are merely traces of it. You can also hear some more folk-like moments when the acoustic guitar takes over on several tracks and plays a nice and relaxed tune.

When listening to them, it is quite evident to me that they are highly skilled as musicians and I admire their ability to give a depth and complexity to what would otherwise be "plain" heavy metal (not that I dislike it; quite the contrary. But that is irrelevant here).

Another excellent trait they have is the male/female vocals that sometimes sing separately and on other occasions have a sort of duet. It is impossible for me to describe the sound of their vocals, but those are not your typical metal vocals and they are clean vocals apart for occasional distorted vocals and some screeching vocals which mean to represent other characters in the story.

But what I like most about them is that they have those tracks that as soon as they begin they make you want to move and shake your head due to their excellent rhythms. They have those catchy guitar riffs and drum sections that catch my senses and guide them about as the songs goes on. Not the most complex and amazing parts, but those are certainly the most entertaining. Just listen to those two tracks I mentioned at the opening and also the last track Sacrifice/The End and you might experience what I mean.

To sum this all up, I have to say that I don't find the songs to be all of the same level. Some are very good (like the two I mentioned in the beginning) while others are less exciting and I get a feeling of unevenness as a whole. That been said, there are no bad songs here for me; just some tracks that are less exciting than others and not up to par with the bright ideas portrayed in those songs that I think highly of. This is why I think it is a good album overall, and while not an excellent addition, it would be a pretty good addition to anyone who can appreciate a good and above average metal album. Moreover, it will probably appeal only to "metal people", especially those who like the straightforward sound of heavy metal (especially 80's metal; maybe we can all it vintage metal by now?).

I would give this album a 3.5 stars rating, but as it is impossible, I will opt for the 3 stars rating, which seems more suitable for me (even though a sense of remorse creeps up within me as I do this, but I believe this is the right thing to do).

avestin | 3/5 |

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