Yet unfamiliar to me, “Hammers of Misfortune” exist since many years already. The band of five excellent musicians and singers was formed around 1998-1999, maybe a little bit before and they just released their third album entitled “The Locust Years”, after having already put out “The Bastard” (conceptual album) in 2001 and “The August Engine” in 2003. So my knowledge of the band is still very “fresh” and I really can’t compare their new album with the former ones…but from what I read, this one would sound pretty much like “The August Engine” – same vibe, same mood, same ambience. Which means that if you liked the last one, you should like “The Locust Years” as well.
What I found VERY interesting with them is the diversity of their work, all through the songs. None of the tracks sound the same, no matter if it’s on the musical or vocal level, and also, even though we tend to categorize their music “metal”, it’s a blend of many kinds. You can’t “really” say that it’s only power, nor progressive, nor death, nor whatever else. It’s a good mix of every type, so that way, you can find something that you will like for sure. The horizons are thus larger to fit anyone’ taste. Always a “plus” in my opinion.
To be honest, I needed more than one spin to COMPLETELY enjoy the album. I think the problem is not the music, because it’s really special. Everything from it is different than what we usually hear. The music is of high quality just as John Cobbett’s guitars playing. I especially LOVE the piano in this album, which adds a little bit of sweetness to the songs. Which brings me to say that my favourite track is “Widow’s Wall”. Awesome piano begins the song, and also very beautiful vocals. Thumbs up! I also enjoyed the female vocals A LOT! Jamie Myers and Sigrid Sheie are talented girls and have truly beautiful vocals, like on “We Are the Widows”, for example.
But maybe the only little thing that irritated me at the beginning was Mike Scalzi’s vocals. I’m not saying his vocals are BAD, but maybe at first, you will find them strange. It takes a while to get accustomed. Nevertheless, I can’t deny that they are very individual.
If you really want to know how the album sounds, I have no other advice than to tell you to get it, you will see by yourself. It’s a surprising and worth album that I can’t compare to any other one I already know. I tell you, “Hammers of Misfortune” are UNIQUE. If I was asked to describe “The Locust Years” in three words, I would say: Original, Authentic, Varied.
If you like metal music, FOR SURE you will enjoy this CD; if you like good music in general, this will fit your tastes too. I’m quite confident that “Hammers of Misfortune” will have something great to put out again soon enough. Check for them!
Reviewed by Vikie Martel on September 2nd, 2006