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Bloody Hammers - Washed in Blood

Bloody Hammers
Washed in Blood
by SJ Loschi at 24 January 2023, 5:32 AM

After the release of JUDAS PRIEST's modern-day power metal classic “Firepower,” I sat outside with a friend day-drinking on a warm spring day, like one does.  I was playing “No Surrender” on my bluetooth speaker, and he took a swig from his beer, shook his head, and said, “This is horrendous.” Of course, he was terribly, utterly wrong; however, he wasn’t a listener of metal.  It was a gateway he never chose to enter, having lingered his entire life with the normies listening to Wilco, Radiohead and whatever classic bebop album he was told to like. So of course he wasn’t going to ‘get it.’ And that’s the joy of metal in many ways.  It’s an exclusionary collection of musicians and artists. In fact, we are perfectly fine with you thinking it’s horrendous.  You can listen to your Tame Impala in the climate-controlled glory of your hybrid Kia. I’ll be singing “Balls to the Wall” at the top of my lungs while trying to replace the brake pads on my 2003 Toyota Corolla.

Charlotte, North Carolina band BLOODY HAMMERS isn’t really a power metal band.  There aren’t any screaming leads and pummeling drums.  It’s definitely metal, but more hard rock, tinged with the blood of horror, than anything put out by PRIEST or MAIDEN. The band consists of multi-instrumentalist Anders Manga and his wife Devallia, who adds layers of texture with the keyboards and plays the bass.  The music is propulsively catchy, almost annoyingly so. There were times when I woke up in the cold January night with a song going through my head, only to realize it was the chorus to “At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul.” Anders is really good at making this work, and it seems to be the fulcrum by which his song-writing rotates.  It’s like VOLBEAT was contracted to write the soundtrack for an independent slasher flick.

Black Sunday” and “Phantasmagoria” get the album off to a soaring start, and it’s a banging one-two punch of melodic metal.  Anders is a strong, confident singer.  At best, he sounds like James Hetfield, with an even beefier heft to his soaring choruses.  At worst- and I’m loath to say this- he can sound disturbingly like Chad Kroeger, which is probably why my wife ordered me to not listen to it in the kitchen anymore while she was there.  Like most good people, even she realizes NICKELBACK sucks.  None of this, however, is to take away from what BLOODY HAMMERS is trying to do.  They are an extremely prolific band, having released seven albums in the past ten years, and they are one of the more respected artists having found a place in the goth rock/horror metal genre.

As good as the song-writing can be, in terms of crafting four minute earworms, the songs tend to blend together. It’s hard to describe one song without using the same description for all of them.  In this sense, on an individual basis, these are powerful pieces of power-metal adjacent tunes; however, when you dump nine of them onto one album, it begins to get a little forgetful.  Perhaps next time around, Anders will be able to step back and look at an album as the musical novels that they are and tell us the world’s greatest goth-rock/metal horror story to ever come out of the hills of North Carolina.  Until then, just listen to “At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul” and try and tell me it won’t pop into your head when you're stocking your grocery cart with a dozen eggs that cost an arm and a leg.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Black Sunday
2. Phantasmagoria
3. And Soon the Darkness
4. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul
5. Water to the Dead
6. The Howling
7. Last Rites of Lucifer
8. Dead Will Walk
9. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
Anders Manga - Vocals, Guitar, Drums, Bass, Keyboards
Devallia - Keyboards, Bass
Record Label: Independent


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