Bloody Hammers - Songs Of Unspeakable Terror review
|Album:||Songs Of Unspeakable Terror|
|Release date:||January 2021|
01. A Night To Dismember
02. Hands Of The Ripper
03. Witchfinder General
04. Not Of This Earth
05. The Ones Who Own The Dark
06. Waking The Dead
07. Night Of The Witch
08. We Are The Damned
09. The Brain That Wouldn't Die
10. Lucifer's Light
11. I Spit On Your Corpse
Not the sharpest tool in the toolbox.
Following swiftly on from 2019's The Summoning, Bloody Hammers return with their brand of lo-fi Ghost-meets-Misfits hammer horror stripped-back stoner-esque metal. Songs Of Unspeakable Terror is the latest offering from the Anders Manga-led group, and one that suffers from Max Cavalera syndrome, namely, quantity over quality.
While Songs Of Unspeakable Terror is not a bad record, it is one of the band's weaker offerings, with songs that do little to stick in your mind for better or worse during their running times. "A Night To Dismember" sets the tone for the record from the start, one that is enjoyable to listen to but not one with much in the way of replay value. While Bloody Hammers have always had the issue of fully separating themselves from Magna's darkwave material and often sounding only one or two steps removed from such, Songs Of Unspeakable Terror does at least do well at giving the band a greater sense of independent identity. The band's sonic mix tips much heavier in the punk direction on this album, with tracks like "Spit On Your Corpse" and "Waking The Dead" carving a niche for the band where before their stoner-esque material has struggled to fully separate itself (though is enjoyable nonetheless).
The one consistent issue with the album is that each song is built around one or two solid ideas but, as if mindful of rationing the number of ideas they had in stock, no song is given the extra boost needed to round them off completely, and as a result the band have their fireworks all set up but forgot to pack a lighter to ignite the fuse and let the songs fly. Tracks like "Witchfinder General" and "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" best typify this problem' they are tracks that could be so much more if they had that little bit extra added to them rather than being left as they are in their current state, enjoyable and good, but not great.
There are two exceptions to this, however, with "The Ones Who Own The Dark" and "We Are The Damned" being solid as they are and the best of what Songs Of Unspeakable Terror has to offer. The former is built a memorable chorus, while the latter could be mistaken for a Misfits cover (if they toned down their lyrics anyway), which is a mark of a great song, built around a punk energy and gang chant that will install itself in your sub-conscious.
The lo-fi production, however, fits the tone of the record perfectly and creates an atmosphere that befits the music well, marrying the horror B-movie soundtrack of the music with the understated production to give the songs a platform that is not fully utilized unfortunately. The use of the keyboards and organs in the background except in certain places ("Lucifer's Light") is perhaps one of the best decisions on the record, as it heightens their impact when pushed to the fore and colours in the areas missed by the guitars. While the band could use a drummer instead of utilizing a drum machine, on this record at least it is the least mechanic of their discography, though on tracks like "Witchfinder General" you can't help but notice.
For those of you unfamiliar with Bloody Hammers, I'd suggest the prior release The Summoning for a better flavour of what the band can offer; Songs Of Unspeakable Terror is an okay introduction but one unlikely to rank among the band's best work. A good effort but one that sounds like it could have had a bit more time in the oven before it was served up.
||Written on 24.01.2021 by|
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