Bloody Hammers have released their sixth album since their 2010 birth, and like their other efforts, there’s plenty of Horror and terror to be had. They’ve changed a lot over the years, starting out considerably heavier and Doomier in sound, lacing lots of psychedelic and Metal into their Hard Rock concoction as the years have rolled by. Mastermind Anders Manga sort of does what he wants to do, answering to no one but his own, personal muse, which is mightily commendable but can lead to some uneven moments in the catalogue. Still, Blood Hammers have always been good and more than entertaining, and they always get those skeletal toes a-tappin’ and skulls a-bobbin’. With their new release, Songs of Unspeakable Terror, they open up another chapter in their book of blood.
Terror finds Manga having a bit more fun with his gothic sound. This album almost feels like a tribute to the Misfits; it’s jaunty and bouncy and always moving forward, with lots of sing-songy choruses. Gone are the slower, darker moments, as well as the straight-up Metal, replaced with a pop-punkish feel. That doesn’t mean this album has lost the rocking touch, because all the songs move swift and are heavy in their own ways; it just means they’ve disposed of their earlier inclinations to be more darkly terrifying and allowed the kitschier moments take the stage. The longest songs barely top the three minutes mark, most clocking in just under. They get to the point, bounce around in your head for just about as long as you have patience for them, and take off, replaced by more of the same. None of this is a criticism, more of an observation. Manga is having a blast here, bringing the fun to the Horror. Think of this as a cross between Rob Zombie and Wednesday 13 and you’ll get what I mean. Songs like “Not of This Earth” really gallop along, with dollops of Goth to give them just the right edge of darkness. “Waking the Dead” has that Misfits thing down perfect (minus the sense of danger the Misfits always had, which they never really get any credit for). The chorus is big and catchy, and you’ll find yourself singing along in seconds. “Night of the Witch” has a bit of a midnight cruise to it, like you’re steering your Dragula through a haunted cemetery, looking for a good spot to throw your picnic blanket down to have a feast in the moonlight. “Lucifer’s Light” is the ballad on the album, almost all acoustic guitar, with some accenting drums. It drifts like candle smoke over a naked altar where robed bodies shift and moan. The rest of the record is mostly fast-paced numbers, racing along, encouraging the listener to dance and sing.
Not their best album, in my mind, but it’s still damned good and entertaining. I like that Manga and his long-time partner in crime Davallia do whatever the hell they want to do, but always keep it firmly in the world of Horror and darkness. I really admire it and this kind of integrity makes every new album by them something to look forward to. Here they indulge in their punkier side, with plenty of dark pop sprinkled throughout. These songs, carefully placed in a live set, will really bring more diversity and movement to their shows. This is one to have fun with, not to get all serious and miserable about.
Three Buckets of Blood out of Four
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