The Locust Years

Hammers Of Misfortune

What kind of Metal music is 'thinking Metal'? What kind of music is this one […]
By Grigoris Chronis
August 29, 2006
Hammers Of Misfortune - The Locust Years album cover

What kind of Metal music is 'thinking Metal'? What kind of music is this one that gathers the archetypes of non-Metal styles, to gather/filter them through the primary Metal expressions? How much of 'Metal' are bands like Psychotic Waltz, Equimanthorn, Last Crack, In Extremo or 'late' Anathema (just some general examples)? Hammers Of Misfortune are this kind of band: a blend of new horizon, a glimpse to the alternate, a circular path to mind trap.
Guitarist John Cobbett (Gwar, Ludicra, Amber Asylum, Jarboe) and guitarist/vocalist Mike Scalzi are credited with their playing for US 'folk' Epic metallers (The Lord Weird) Slough Feg. Enough for a primary hint to Hammers Of Misfortune's 'deeds'. Females is the second 'datum' added to the list and Jamie Myers with Sigrid Sheie play this specific role here. I had never heard any other Hammers Of Misfortune (previously known as Unholy Cadaver) albums prior to this review, but I can recall the esteem of the Media world for the band's sophomore The August Engine (2003) release. Running back in time, I read some related reviews of that album and it was obvious - as soon as I had now listened to The Locust Years for the 5th time in a row - that the band has kept the (in general) same formula of releasing and producing songs. Hmmm, I'll have to check the 2003 effort out, too.
Under the supervision of Justin Weis at Trackworx Studios, The Locust Years is not the average/everyday/usual album you can expect. It is kinda 'progressive', it is full 'folk', it is electricity-filled, it is semi-psychedelic. The hammond and piano used is a pair of crucial factors for the band's sound development, since they are (the band) eager to approach the 70s 'paths' to musical stability without forgetting to Metal-ize it up where needed. Whoever's familiar with the (The Lord Weird) Slough Feg discography will smile with comfort, even if Hammers Of Misfortune - due to the 'keys'/females' factors - can tighten it up to more '70s' passageways. The added vocal duo provided by the female double in Jamie Myers and Sigrid Sheie is overwhelming, giving a 'primitive' Rock opera vibe to the album, while the rest of the crew is also courteous. Interesting twin guitar harmonies (Thin Lizzy is around), dominating hammond playing (call me Uriah Heep's influence) and a 'rooted' rhythm section (Buttler/Ward all the way) sum it up to an album that...
...has the capability to draw your attention on first basis, provided you do not fear falling apart from your typical Running Wild, Hammerfall, Dream Theater or Dimmu Borgir habits. The Locust Years can be experienced only if you accept/respect the differantiation/filtring in Metal music (not only for up-to-date creations; The Locust Years can as well be used to prove the 'trip' backwards). Hmmm... If Blind Guardian were formed in e.g. 1973 and featured a lady and an organ in their ranks, that what you'd possibly get.

"The Locust Years" Track-listing:

The Locust Years
We Are the Widows
Trot Out the Dead
Famine's Lamp
Chastity Rides
War Anthem
Election Day
Widow's Wall

Hammers Of Misfortune Lineup:

Chewy - Drums
Mike Scalzi - Vocals, Guitars
Jamie Myers - Vocals, Bass
John Cobbett - Electric, Lead & Acoustic Guitars
Sigrid Sheie - Acoustic & Electric Piano, Hammond B3, Backing Vocals

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