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Friday, October 28, 2011

Hammers of Misfortune - 17th Street review

Year : 2011
Genre : Progressive Metal with a Black Sabbath Sludge tendency
Label : Metal Blade Records
Origin : United States
Rating : 8.0 / 10

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Hammers of Misfortune blends fine, disciplined musicianship with a keen affection on the classic sound of lazy, at heart semi-peaceful, semi-bitter "heavy" metal. You know, the kind of metal ethos by which the protagonist changes his mind about committing suicide, because he spots a female who certainly seems to be much more interesting sport than mere physical death, phah.

Hold on to your girlfriend or to your chair, because this right here is a progressive heavy metal album. It is so heavy metal that I remain reluctant to add the "heavy" label, and here is why : the term "heavy metal" seems to be so oldschool that writing it down makes a 28k modem feel fresh and vibrant like no tomorrow. One particular primer attribute of this record also reigns as the key deciding factor of how the stimuli on it will affect your receivers, and you need to be a scientifically negativistic person - synonym : a douché, and a black belt at that, too - to dismiss this LP as anything less than a highly admirable contribution. As for the deciding factor : it is the record's relentless behavior to scrutinize its own nature with such intense of a stare fixed on its own body that beats a statue in a staredown contest without even trying.

The LP exhibits an elegant haste to express its charms right away, and these charms, while valiantly varied according to their own terms and their shared field of operation, are somewhat limited by an ubiquitous decision to not to deviate-, to not to give the rebel middle finger to the basic "feel" of-, to the nearness of palish depression, bghaaaarghjhl. Hammers of Misfortune takes its name seriously, and, while the intent of the release is absolutely far from crushing you to laughable pieces like this or this, I still tend to think that the record sticks to its own direction

waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too rigidly.

It worships its capricious Metal Mistress relentlessly, without giving the poor thing a gasp of private breath to reflect on the experience for a second or two, you know? It sounds to me as good classic heavy metal music of a certain shape. Then, 20 minutes later, it sounds to me as good classic heavy metal music of the exact same shape. Ah, OK. Forty minutes into the record, and it sounds to me as good classic heavy metal music of the exact shape still, hello?? I accept : this might exactly be what you are looking for. Then read on, Lava'.

As hinted, this release sounds very, very, very : classic. It is completely free of the recent trends / aspirations to wash everything out to crystal clear-, even to robotic glitter-standards, but this notion consorts nicely with a secondary one regarding the mere power-, lushness of the LP, which reigns beyond criticism. The sound is vibrant, fat, and eager to roll over you. But, what you hear on this album on the emotional register, remains relentlessly long-hair-, black boot-, sorrowful face metal with more pronounced tendencies to mangle the self's integrity and to wave the blaming index finger, than to resonate in any other context with a "sole" function of entertainment. (There are a - luckily enough - limited supply of mid-tempo power metal vibes, too, and I think those are pretty frightening.)

The cover art is a perfect reflection of the things to come on this solid, classic-sounding spin : shadowy figures and blue light, now where did I see this before? Music is beyond doubt the most important thing on this full length, which is not always natural in an era with maniac aspirations to overproduce stuff. Though I, personally am not against overproduction, because it usually is better to produce something over, than to do that sloppily, or to not to at all. Hammers of Misfortune shows no interest in Dream Theaterish aural magic tricks and related-, secretly/covertly committed instant pocketwankeries, instead, every mood summoned on the spin is a reflection on the living bare body of music as it is invited by the classic metal instruments. But! There are pianos involved on occasion, too, and you know the piano deal : they rule, sure, but that mellow-, marshmallow-like pink timber they produce always throws a wink and a compliment towards gloom/drama or both at the same time. Granted, this is why you love piano, yet, keep in mind : with a piano on board to support a set of instruments with their favorite moody inner calibration engaged already, - and there are no other modes, so you have just been taued - this release has no intent to make you feel good or bad about existence. (Not that it should.) It instead seeks to deliver a beautifully realized-, serious row of compliments to the stone-classic face of so called classic heavy metal, and, in this regard, its success is super-impressive. Imagine a Black Sabbath with progressive tendencies, substract that badass vile factor of Black Sabbath, - audience : halved - and you'll have an idea where this spin is drawing and forming its respectable agenda from.

Once again : Hammers of Misfortune's 17th Street deserves nothing less than the steepest admiration for being such tightly and diligently realized as it is FOR what it seeks to be, and, if you are a devoted fan of the classic/ancient face of "heavy metal", then this spin is pure gold for you. If you are someone else, you can give it a try, but it will wear you out as a double sheet of titanium blanket, I'd say.

Rating : 8.0 / 10

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