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Bloody Hammers - The Summoning Award winner

Bloody Hammers
The Summoning
by Gary Hernandez at 19 August 2019, 7:59 AM

It’s been three years since we’ve had a full-length album from BLOODY HAMMERS. The wait finally came to an end this past June with the release of “The Summoning” on Napalm Records. The line up remains Anders Manga and Devallia, with the noticeable absence of a named drummer. (Perhaps tongue in check, the drummer on the video for “Let Sleeping Corpses Lie” is dressed up as the invisible man.)

BLOODY HAMMERS has been producing consistently high quality metal since 2012. They’ve always leaned into the horror element, but with a lot less of a serious bent than some of their peers. When a horned mask appears in a BLOODY HAMMERS video, it is more about evoking a archetype and less about paying homage the antichrist. And “The Summoning” is no exception. In fact, “Let Sleeping Corpses Lie” and “Now the Screaming Starts” are both titled after 1974 and 1973 horror films of the same names, respectively. Characteristic of all BLOODY HAMMERS releases, production values of “The Summoning” are excellent. The vocals are crisp and every instrument, from the galloping bass lines to the atmospheric keyboards to the thrumming riffs, is clearly distinguishable. Anders’ vocal styling is articulate and has a distinctive intonation which is accented by the rhyme scheme he typically uses. You could pick him out of a vocal line up in a second.

As always, Anders’ songwriting is masterful. He’s like that one uncle who blows everyone away with his razor sharp insights. If you find yourself purposeless and wavering about what to do with your life, just pick a song off this album, open your mind, and listen. Examples: From “Let Sleeping Corpses Lie,” “Keep a watchful evil eye / Let all sleeping corpses lie / Always face your fears / Don’t waste your tears and find the light”; from “Fire in the Dark,” “To find your center you must walk / The edge forevermore”; from “Unbreakable,” “Years of all the blood and tears are undeniable / But you’re unbreakable.” Don’t get me wrong, this album isn’t a self-help book put to music. There are certainly elements of dark, heavy despondency. “Condemned, The Prisoner” puts to words and music what isolation and depression feel like, and “The Beast is Coming Out” is more of a warning than anything life affirming. Before this becomes an Anders only review, let me say a word on Devallia who has been an essential part of BLOODY HAMMERS since 2013. She isn’t a flamboyant keyboardist insisting on dramatic and indecipherable solos, rather her style sets the atmosphere, buttresses major movements, and adds ghostly edges. What a lot of people call a gothic, horror infused tone in the BLOODY HAMMERS is due to Devallia’s musicianship.

There isn’t a bad track on the album, but “Let Sleeping Corpses Lie,” “Fire in the Dark” (reminiscent of DIO’s “Rainbow in the Dark”), “Tales that Witness Madness,” and the solemn, moving “Condemned, The Prisoner” are especially good. Tracks I could have done without? “Welcome to Darkness” comes across as a bit uninspired. Of special note are the three current videos which are supporting the album: “Let Sleeping Corpses Lie,” “From Beyond the Grave,” and “Now the Screaming Starts.” Very fun stuff that gives one the sense that an upcoming tour is going to be a total blast.  All together, “The Summoning” is a solid offering. It feels good to have BLOODY HAMMERS back on the scene.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie
2. Now the Screaming Starts
3. The Summoning
4. Fire in the Dark
5. The Beast Is Coming Out
6. Welcome to Darkness
7. Tales that Witness Madness
8. Condemned, The Prisoner
9. From Beyond the Grave
10. Unbreakable 
Lineup:
Anders Manga – Vocals, guitar, bass
Devallia – Keyboards, organ, piano
Record Label: Napalm Records
     


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Edited 14 December 2019
 

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