Bloody Hammers – Under Satan’s Sun (Napalm Records)

Wednesday, 4th June 2014
Rating: 8/10

Initial observations had this Transylvania County, North Carolina (such a place does exist – DR has been there) duo pegged as yet another hearse-chaser in the occult/70’s rock field. Sure looks that way based on the cover and album title…perhaps a spin-off of Ghost and The Devil’s Blood. Haven’t seen any of those lately…Instead, the Bloody Hammers duo of Anders Manga and Devallia trot out a alt-metal-grunge foray that surprisingly, has some legs, despite such a shaky connotation. Fact of the matter is, though, it’s Manga’s convincing kvlt-Kyuss delivery that makes Under Satan’s Sun a solid, if not unique effort.

When trekking across the album’s ten songs, the occult vibe the band puts out become less and less of importance as the actual songs take precedence, which is a bit of an odd happening. The fuzzed-out, simplistic churn of the band’s riffs are deceptive; opener “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” has nothing more than rudimentary stoner rock riffing, but the manner in which Bloody Hammers pieces the song together is what makes it click, especially when the tempo starts to rollick toward the back-end. The Type-O/Poisonblack action found on “Death Does Us Part” is the album’s prominent Goth foray, while “Welcome to the Horror Show” emerges as the album’s most dynamic cut, full of pensive Manga vocal action (dig those harmonies) and sparse piano action.

As indicated above, Manga makes Under Satan’s Sun go. He’s like a more possessed, less toked-out John Garcia (Kyuss), and with more tone in his lungs. He supplements the album’s compositions rather nicely, even having some radio/commercial touch on the excellent “The Moon-Eyed People.” Point being, the bare-bones approach of Bloody Hammers overtakes their presentation, resulting in an album full of surprises. Good stuff.

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