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Review: Hammers Of Misfortune - Fields/Church of Broken Glass
Hammers Of Misfortune
Fields/Church of Broken Glass

Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
Year released: 2008
Duration: 70:01
Tracks: 11
Genre: Unclassifiable


Review online: November 5, 2010
Reviewed by: Adam Kohrman
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Rated 3.62/5 (72.38%) (21 Votes)

Hammers of Misfortune are a band that have set the bar high time and time again, to the point that even a decent album would seem like a major disappointment. Well, eventually that day came with Fields/Church of Broken Glass, which has some great parts, but is far too long for its own good. Moreover, the band struggled to reform their sound in order adapt to their new singers, the unknowns Jesse Quattro and Patrick Goodwin. Losing the underground metal icon Mike Scalzi couldn't have been easy to rebound from, but it seems as if HoM were muddled in a lack of inspiration. These guys are certainly competent vocalists, but they don't fit as well as Scalzi's wailing snarl. Longtime band member Jamie Myers, whose soprano was part of the band's backbone also departed after The Locust Years, but John Cobbett and his new round of merry players decided to march on. Sadly, laying the band to rest may have been the better decision. This sounds like Hammers of Misfortune minus the eclectic vibrancy that made them such an enveloping enigma.

The biggest flaw here is the pretension. Maybe they were trying to compensate for the loss of past members by putting as much as they could onto this album, but it comes across as over the top. The "concept" fails to come across, feeling jumbled and obscure. Some songs drag on for needless minutes attempting to create moods they can't find, leaving them meandering into boring and uninteresting territory, like "Butchertown." Additionally, the interplay between the organ and guitars sounds more forced than it had in the past, where it achieved a unique niftiness. It now seems that it's there because that's the direction they wanted to go in, regardless of whether the interplay served any purpose.

Now, there's still some good stuff going on here. Some of the songs have lasting and memorable parts, especially when they employ their trademark: the catchy alternation between male and female lead vocals. I think I would actually hold other bands to different standards, but Hammers of Misfortune have been an unclassifiable entity of heavy metal artistry. That's all intact here, too; but it just doesn't achieve the same flowing intensity that the band had before. It'll be interesting to see where the band goes from here, and hopefully they can rebound and reshape their sound more appropriately. But for now, an album like this is nothing but a disappointment.

Additional Information

- 2010 re-issue on Metal Blade Records reviewed here.

More about Hammers Of Misfortune...
Review: 17th Street (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Fields/Church of Broken Glass (reviewed by Hermer Arroyo)
Review: The August Engine (reviewed by Adam Kohrman)
Review: The August Engine (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Bastard (reviewed by Adam Kohrman)
Review: The Locust Years (reviewed by Adam Kohrman)
Review: The Locust Years (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with JC on February 28, 2004 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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