Bloody Hammers from Charlotte, North Carolina have returned with their third album, “Under Satan’s Sun.” In case you are wondering, this is a big deal. Bloody Hammers is turning out to be quite prolific as this album is their third in as many years. Last year’s “Spiritual Relics” introduced me to the band and surprised me with how quickly, and how much, it grew on me. When I learned that “Under Satan’s Sun” was imminent, I became excited and thought myself prepared, but once again Bloody Hammers managed to surprise and impress me.
The music on “Under Satan’s Sun” is probably technically doom metal, but it leans heavily in a hard rock direction as well. When I first listened to this album around a month ago I got the impression of End of Green with a dash of twisted Marilyn Manson flavor, but there was something else nagging at my awareness that I could not quite put my finger on.
It wasn’t until just last night as I listened to the album again on the treadmill at the gym (where everything falls away and the music becomes all) that I figured out what else these songs bring to mind. Despite the band hailing from the east coast, the songs on “Under Satan’s Sun” make me think of a blazing Texas sun bleaching bones half-buried in sand as tumbleweeds roll past. Once my mind turned toward that region of the country it didn’t take me long to make the short jump to Louisiana and Acid Bath. It hit me like a lightning bolt; Anders’ voice frequently reminds me of the clean style used by Dax Riggs on the Acid Bath albums. My love for Bloody Hammers grew three sizes that day.
Probably the biggest change I have noticed to Bloody Hammers’ sound in the last year is the much more reserved and tight production. The instrumentation on “Under Satan’s Sun” sounds really good, while also managing to stay completely out of the way of the vocals. Most of the songs on the album give the vocals an incredibly vast amount of breathing room, which gives the songs an intimate and also kind of creepy feel, which I simply love.
I had the misfortune today to read another review of this album which came across as pretty much the polar opposite of my one-man orgy of delight. This other reviewer compared Bloody Hammers to acts such as The Devil’s Blood, Jex Thoth and Blood Ceremony and said those bands pull off the style much better. It was at that point that the reviewer lost all credibility with me. In my opinion, the three aforementioned bands are the unfortunate run-off resulting from the popularity of Ghost, and their horribly under-produced, muddy sounding offerings are both boring and unlistenable. Don’t worry, Bloody Hammers, I got your back.
These songs are incredibly infectious and catchy and they exude a dark, horror-punk, Misfits kind of vibe, while demonstrating a decidedly more technical proficiency. Several times this past week I woke up with lyrics ringing incessantly in my head as I stumbled groggily towards the shower; it took me a couple days to figure it out, but it was the line “There is a killer among us all, a phantom that has come to see you fall” from the album’s opening track, “The Town that Dreaded Sundown.” Bloody Hammers gets stuck in your head.
So you can listen to a reviewer that comes across like a smug elitist that probably enjoys taking bands down a notch more than actually listening to music, but wouldn’t you rather take the word of a guy who lives and breathes metal and loves nothing more than to spread the word about all the great music he come across? Trust me, “Under Satan’s Sun” is a fantastic album, and I will back that up by guaranteeing you will see it in my top ten albums of 2014.
Check out the lyric video for “The Town that Dreaded Sundown” and remember me when you wake up tomorrow morning with the words stuck in your head.