Review Summary: So I guess they're horror punk now?
If there’s one thing I find it interesting about Bloody Hammers, its their ability to try out different style variations while keeping a consistent horror aesthetic. This is especially true for their sixth full-length album, Songs of Unspeakable Terror, which proves to be their most dramatic departure yet. While past albums tended to straddle the lines between doom and hard rock, the band dives headfirst into the world of horror punk ala Michale Graves-era Misfits. They’ve since admitted that the music here was originally considered for a different project but even with the drastic makeover, it isn’t necessarily out of character.
For the most part, the band takes to the style well enough. The guitar playing is particularly tight, generally opting for simple chord progressions and showing off a crunchy tone that suits the more lighthearted mood though with some metallic remnants. The drums also keep a solid job of keeping up a faster pace without getting too wild and the vocals hang onto their melodic veneer. There are times where the musicianship may be a little too controlled. Nothing sounds out of place but more unhinged drumming and a couple well-placed “whoa-oh’s” really would’ve given this some extra energy boosts.
Fortunately, the songwriting is also pretty solid. “Waking The Dead” may be the strongest anthem on here, showing off a particularly triumphant setup with a fun verse buildup and a strong chorus that would’ve fit nicely on American Psycho. “We Are The Damned” mixes its pacing with nice atmospherics in the backing choirs. Of course, the band’s penchant for versatility remains intact as “Hands of The Ripper” leans on an almost danceable metal rhythm while “Lucifer’s Light” channels Ancient VVisdom with its acoustic occultism. Alas, “Witchfinder General” isn’t a cover.
Overall, Songs of Unspeakable Terror is a step down compared to Bloody Hammers’ best works but their willingness to experiment is certainly commendable. While the musicianship may lack the wildness that goes best with horror punk, they manage to make the style fit to their aesthetic and there are some fun tracks to work with. It’s easy to imagine this album being a one-off with a return to the band’s more conventional approach to come but it just might work even better the next time they decide to give it another go. At the very least, it sounds like they had some fun hashing it out.
“Hands Of The Ripper”
“Waking The Dead”
“We Are The Damned”
Originally published at http://psychicshorts.blogspot.com