Hammers of Misfortune – Overtaker (Self-Released)

Wednesday, 14th December 2022
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Eclectic in approach and outlook, Hammers of Misfortune have established a precedence through their long-running history in pulling influences from decades of rock and metal to develop a unique take on progressive, heavy music. Their latest album Overtaker comes after 2016’s Dead Revolution, another head-turning appealer chock full of twists and turns on all fronts vocally and musically. And those who love a whirlwind of riffs, a multi-pronged vocal attack, speedier/energetic tempos that rival the best in punk or thrash, as well as the 70’s organ angles pushed in angular form will find plenty to devour in this outer galaxy atmosphere pushed in these ten tracks.

The intertwining of voices creates an ethereal mystique that transports the listener into a heady trip of proto-metal, progressive rock, thrash, and psychedelic nuances – mirroring the diversity present often within the same arrangement. Softer mellotron / bass parts set up a creepy atmosphere before the thrash burst positions “Don’t Follow the Lights” into this crazy Bay Area rhythm frenzy, Jamie Myers setting up the melodies in her impassioned, frantic ambiance while elements of Rush, Zebra, and Pink Floyd collide against 80’s-oriented guitar runs. Guest bass work from Frank Chin (Crypt Sermon, Adeva) appears on the spacious, progressive thrash outing “Outside Our Minds”, a lot of the jagged transitions, squeals, and relentless rhythms coinciding with the days of late 80’s/early 90’s Realm. Ex-bandmate Mike Scalzi returns for two vocal assists on “Dark Brennius” and “Overthrower”, the latter containing some blast beats over a circus-like passage, proving Hammers of Misfortune possess confidence in taking each track where it organically needs to go, making things fit seamlessly even if on the surface the elements seem disparate. The record closes on a relatively controlled note for “Aggressive Perfection” – the opening passages doomy while slightly traditional metal in form, the melodies King Diamond-ish before John Corbett’s faster riffs and frantic leads take center stage.

Acts like Hammers of Misfortune aren’t cut from the same cloth as your normal progressive bands – these ladies and gentlemen really have honed their craft in terms of instrumental abilities plus songwriting acumen. As such, Overtaker is another prime example that this genre can continue to remain relevant and vital fifty plus years after its inception, thanks to aggressively pushing parameters for what can be done through this record.

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