|Review: Hammers Of Misfortune - The Bastard|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2010
Originally released in: 2001
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: September 30, 2010
Reviewed by: Adam Kohrman
Rated 4.2/5 (84%) (5 Votes)
Some reviews are just difficult to write. The promo sits on the shelf (or in the hard drive, nowadays), and gathers "dust." This is one of them. Hammers of Misfortune's recently re-released debut is so unlike other music that its sound is difficult to explain. Don't get me wrong, this isn't one of those mediocre albums in which reviewing becomes a chore. It's quite good -- flashy and idiosyncratic. The problem is that there is so much going on that it cannot be summed up in a few paragraphs. Mike Scalzi's "other band" sounds nothing like Slough Feg, save of course his distinctive low pitched howl. This is still metal, but stands out on its own. It's similar to an opera, as each song is divided into multiple parts, often without even choruses, that transition from one to another. It's not progressive either; these songs are intended to create a narrative culminating into culminate into a full album.
The Bastard has many different voices and sounds. Janis Tanaka's soothing soprano is the primary focus, accented by Scalzi the very King Diamond-like growl of John Cobbett. Each voice works off each other, chiming into the album whenever their voice best fit. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. Scalzi's voice is great, but sometimes he struggles to carry a song with minimal backing instrumentation. This is just nitpicking, however, as there has clearly been so much time and effort put into this record. I can't imagine that the band cares too much about my criticism, because the music is still their "vision," and altering it in anyway would change their vision. Yes, there are a few awkward transitions, but so what? It's too cool to hear metal produced so artfully.
This was merely the debut from Hammers of Misfortune. Despite lineup changes, there was enormous potential lying here, which was to be built upon.
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