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Hammers Of Misfortune - Dead Revolution Award winner

Hammers Of Misfortune
Dead Revolution
by VR at 30 November 2016, 9:02 PM

One of the incomparable attributes of the Metal genre is the fact that it gives refuge and welcomes numerous sub-genres under its vast umbrella. Progressive Metal has its roots firmly in the late 60's and 70's with the sounds that bands like RUSH, URIAH HEEP, DEEP PURPLE among others perfected. This trend was picked up by newer bands like QUEENSRYCHE, DEAM THEATRE, FATES WARNING and their fellow conspirators. Here we have HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE, a Progressive Metal outfit from San Francisco, California, and they are a delight to listen to. The mastermind of this top-notch band is John Corbett who formed the band UNHOLY CADAVER in the 90's, which soon became HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE in the year 2000, taking its name from a track on their demo. John Corbett and Sigrid Sheie are band mates and chief collaborators in their side project, VHOL, a Black metal band with Power Metal influences. In the year 2010, they recruited Joe Hutton, who has just about has recovered from a harrowing accident, and Leila Abdul-Rauf, a brilliant multi-instrumentalist and composer. After releasing 5 full-length albums and an EP, the band cut loose their 6th masterpiece titled "Dead Revolutions" via Metal Blade Records.

"The Velvet Inquisition", the first song of the album, starts off like the "Children of The Grave", with a galloping riff before slowing down to an almost RUSH-esque melody. The song is tight and haunting. The dual lead guitar attack backed by some competent organ and bass work compliments the mood of the song while adding additional complexities to the melody. "Dead Revolution", the title track has a rock riff straight out of the 70's and is again backed and complimented by organ work. Clocking just over 5 minutes, the song is studded with short bursts of twin guitar solos. This is almost an updated DEEP PURPLE song for 2016! "Sea Of Heroes" is a haunting song with an extremely fetching riff at the start and is a melancholy track to boot. The band makes good use of backing vocals to infuse a sense of dead and doom in the track. "Here Comes The Sky" is a slower track that is gloomy and a quietly poignant track with some excellent slide guitar work and is a well-arranged track. "Flying Alone", with its melody firmly stuck somewhere between IRON MAIDEN and DEEP PURPLE, is one of the faster tracks on the album. This is a song that's got a classic rock feel to it with meaty riffs and is skillfully backed by stellar organ and lead guitar work.

More often than not, Progressive Metal is not given its rightful place among the other genres that dominate our Metal sound spectrum. It certainly helps that the chief architect of this band is an obsessive perfectionist, which in turn helps the album to be just that good. It’s no surprise that the band members are themselves members in many other bands and side projects, which explains their influences and the varied sounds the album launches at the listener. One of the things that struck me was how the songs each have their own life. The songs don't follow a pattern and each one has its own story to tell. The thing that also is notable is how the band adopts different sounds for their music, be it thrashy riffs, lofty guitar solos, or slow quiet ballad-y vocals. I always thought that Progressive Metal was one the most malleable of the Metal arts! I mean they can literally twist their sound and play any number of genre-influenced music styles and no one will bat an eyelid. They also have the added bonus as being recognized as true musicians in the way of technicality and the complex nature of songs and lyrics. Give this album a go and you won't be disappointed.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Velvet Inquisition
2. Dead Revolution
3. Sea Of Heroes
4. The Precipice (Waiting For The Crash)
5. Here Comes The Sky
6. Flying Alone
7. Days Of '49
Joe Hutton - Vocals
John Corbett - Guitars
Will Carroll - Drums
Leila Abdul-Rauf  - Guitars
Paul Walker - Bass
Sigrid Sheie - Organ, Vocals, Flute
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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