Sunday, November 2, 2008
Hammers of Misfortune - Fields/Church of Broken Glass (2008)
With their latest offering, the Hammers of Misfortune have achieved perfection in the fusion of folk, blues, progressive rock and old school heavy metal. This is technically a double-LP, but the playtime is equivalent to just a really long, single album. Regardless, it's monumentally good, surpassing The August Engine as their best work to date, and far eclipsing their previous offering The Locust Years.
The lyrics are psychedelic explorations of both history and the world we live in, and they are excellent (some of the best I've heard this year). You need not listen beyond the "Agriculture" trilogy of tunes opening up the album to find examples.
Motorcade, motorcade, easy to mark
Send in the snipers to swim with the sharks
Red light is burning, the head count's a joke
Soon they'll be feasting on mirrors and smoke
Who can forget lines like this? I know I can't. And throughout the album the vocal delivery of John Cobbett and crew are excellent, in particular the vocals of Jesse Quattro which easily represent one of the best female vocal performances of 2008. For examples of what I mean, listen to the superb "Rats Assembly" and "Butchertown". The rhythm section of Ron Nichols and Chewy Marzolo really keep the pace here, giving the album all the vibe of the best 60s and 70s progressive rock. The album is at times busy, serene and longing.
You will not hear another thing that sounds like it this year. And before you think they've lost that metal edge, listen no further than "Aways Looking Down", or the Ozzy-like, fun stylings of "Train". And you're getting 70 minutes of quality here, ladies and gentleman, one of the best long playing albums of the year (I know it's the best double-album I've heard).
This is essential listening for any person of musical taste, whether it be 70s prog fanatics, folk rockers or avant-garde metal worshipers. You owe it to yourself to track down and immerse yourself in this American masterpiece. Fuck yes you do. This may just be the best US answer to Pink Floyd yet (one of the few bands I could compare it to with a straight face).
Verdict: Epic Win [9.5/10] (truly an experience)
Everything is metal now
Metal is the king whose crown is melted down
Everything is concrete now
Concrete is the queen who's kingdom crumbles down