|Review: Hammers Of Misfortune - The Locust Years|
|The Locust Years|
Label: Cruz Del Sur
Year released: 2006
Review online: October 5, 2006
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:The Locust Years
Rated 4/5 (80%) (15 Votes)
Here we have the third album from the iconoclastic, impossible to categorize Hammers Of Misfortune. The August Engine was an album that took me by surprise several years ago and became one of my favorite albums, so I have been looking forward to this for a long time. The hammers have gone through some lineup changes and evolved quite a bit as a band, so it is no shock that this sounds a bit different from their last.
The Locust Years starts out strong with the excellent title track, which packs into one song pretty much everything this band is about: catchy, inventive riffing, complex songwriting, and Mike Scalzi's unmistakable voice crooning out HoM's trademark wry, deft lyrics. This band is so eclectic they make their own flavor out of the weird stew they cook up. A sound this full should be too rich, but they never overload their arrangements. "We Are The Widows" is a very different sort of tune with piano backup and all-female vocals and a great set of hooks. "Trot Out The Dead" is the best tune on here, with complicated verses and a standout, barn-burning chorus.
Sad to admit, but the rest of the disc is not as strong. Not that the remaining songs are bad, very far from it, but they just never catch fire. No matter how many times I listen to this, I can't remember much about them. I never hum anything from them or get an urge to play them loud – unlike "Trot Out The Dead", which I cannot stop singing.
So this is a tad of a letdown after the stellar August Engine. I like this album fine, but it is not the nonstop brilliance of the last one. Despite that, it is still original and constantly tried to break new ground, and "Trot Out The Dead" may be their best song yet. A bit of a step back for this great band, but still a fine album.
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