Bloody Hammers

Under Satan's Sun

Written by: EW on 26/05/2014 17:08:59

The emergence of a new musical scene or genre is always a reason for excitement when great bands are spawned in its wake but the law of the world is that it will also generate also-rans; bands without the ability or nous that are ably encouraged to jump on the bandwagon by labels keen to cash in on the trend. Yes we all know bands like that and in the world of psychedelic/doom/occult rock Bloody Hammers are it. My awareness of the North Carolina four-piece til now has come from passing their self-titled debut in record stores and magazine adverts and even from this limited exposure I kind of had the sense that Bloody Hammers were not the real deal. Their band logo, track/album titles, colour schemes, imagery and themes all reeked too much of a concerted attempt to tick all the required boxes, much like a bunch of 16 year olds in corpse paint think they have become black metal. If you’re going to talk the talk be prepared to walk the walk, an’ all that.

And therein lies the problem with Bloody Hammers’ third album, “Under Satan’s Sun”: not only does this feel insulting to the works of acts as varied as The Devil’s Blood, Jex Thoth and Blood Ceremony who have shown the way in this field but the execution throughout these 10 tracks is devilishly poor. The dull, flat production stifles what little intrigue lies in songs which meander onwards without crescendo, underworldly charm or even any interesting riffs to latch onto with the result being that Bloody Hammers sound unintentionally like a number of grunge/alternative rock bands of the past two decades. Quite the ignominious result. “Welcome to the Horror Show” impressively made me think of Placebo, a band I could never claim to like nor even know particularly well yet whose presence looms over this one; with it’s attempt at an engaging keyboard-led chorus and formulaic approach the sulky “Death Does Us Part” is eerie of Sentenced and Type O Negative yet not half as knowing as either. The worst of the lot I’m afraid is “The Last Alarm”, a really shoddy four minute piece which at it’s bass-driven punky core pushes my mind towards Nirvana and Melvins, two esteemed bands of rock folklore yet the degree to which Bloody Hammers fail to catch the true spirit of these two in this tired showing is depressing.

So what Bloody Hammers got on their side? Well, the inherently safe and unchallenging nature of their music combined with the lingering ‘occult’ themes will no doubt be enough to appeal to considerable younger fans wishing to appear ‘extreme’ and cutting edge in their tastes, before a gradual realisation once exposed to the works of The Devil’s Blood et al will force a reassessment of that viewpoint. But that’s about it. Even if we are judging this with the mindset of a grunge album the stagnant songwriting would be doing it no favours. I have rarely been as bored in my first listening of an album as I was with “Under Satan’s Sun”, but worse than this is the suggestion that a Black Sabbath-styled band logo is enough to ensure entry to the occult/doom rock party. THAT I take exception to.

Download: Spearfinger
For The Fans Of: Type O Negative, In-Graved, Acid Bath
Listen: Facebook

Release date 30.05.2014
Napalm Records

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