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Bloody Hammers - Lovely Sort Of Death

Bloody Hammers
Lovely Sort Of Death
by Lauren Fonto at 20 October 2016, 4:08 PM

BLOODY HAMMERS went through a period of releasing albums with an amazing rapidity. While good for maintaining momentum, their music may have felt a bit rushed. After a two-year absence, the band has returned with “Lovely Sort of Death”. The period of dormancy doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference, unfortunately, since their blend of occult rock, doom and goth lacks impact and consistency in places.

Opening track “Bloodletting on the Kiss” contains nods to TYPE O NEGATIVE, and sets the mood of the album well.  The following track “Lights Come Alive” reminded of THE CURE, especially in the tone of the main riffs. “The Reaper Comes” transitions to a doom metal feel, creating a minimalist yet still engaging piece of melancholia.

Vocalist Anders Manga is a good performer, and wife Devallia creates mostly interesting atmospherics on keyboards and synthesizers, but these qualities alone are not enough to prop up the rest of the album. The quality of the songs varies significantly. “Messalina” has a classic gothic rock feel, with good vocal harmonies on the chorus. Reverb adds a nice touch to the guitar solo. Similarly, “Stoke the Fire” is a simple yet fun gothic rock number with some interesting synth lines. Unfortunately, songs such as “Ether” and “Shadow Out of Time” serve only to display the results of doom metal done badly: the riffs are not interesting enough to engage the listener throughout the entire song, and the songs themselves seem to drag on. “Astral Traveller” goes back to the gothic sound, but isn’t as interesting as the earlier gothic tracks.

The overall quality of the album may have been better if the weaker cuts were dropped. As it stands, the length of the album plus its lack of spark causes the album to drag, instead of flow smoothly. While creating a laidback doom/gothic rock feel is the point of the album, some contrasts are still needed.

Frontman/bassist and founder member Anders Manga is, as mentioned previously, a good vocalist. He has the right kind of gothic intonation, but doesn’t manage to really distinguish himself as a performer. Devallia does a great job overall on the piano, organ and keyboard parts; while she stays mostly in the background, she adds interesting musical textures to the tracks. Guitarist Bill Fischer creates simplistic riffs that are mostly interesting, and suited to the laidback vibes of the album. Some of the tracks unfortunately lack the kind of hooks that will keep people’s attention.

BLOODY HAMMERS has good potential, and I hope that they will someday live up to it. “Lovely Sort of Death” didn’t turn out to be the album where they realized said potential, but the album is good enough to warrant a listen from hardcore gothic/doom fans.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Bloodletting on the Kiss
2. Lights Come Alive
3. The Reaper Comes
4. Messalina
5. Infinite Gaze to the Sun
6. Stoke the Fire
7. Ether
8. Shadow Out of Time
9. Astral Traveler
10. Catastrophe
Devallia – Keyboards, synthesizer
Anders Manga – Vocals, bass, guitars, synthesizer
Bill Fischer – Guitars 
Record Label: Napalm Records


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