HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE
Chewy Marzolo: drums
John Cobbett: guitar
Sigrid Sheie: Hammond organ, piano
Joe Hutton: vocals
Leila Abdul Rauf: guitar, vocals
Max Barnett: bass
*****This album was released in October of last year, but it’s one that I really wanted to get reviewed on the site so, I apologize for the random dated album. ENJOY! -PWV
review by Shannah Tighe
Hammers of Misfortune was formed in the mid-1990s under the name Unholy Cadaver. At the time, the only members were guitarist John Cobbett and drummer Chewy Marzolo, both of whom shared vocal duties. Enlisting the help of other musicians, among them Mike Scalzi of The Lord Weird Slough Feg, they recorded a full album’s worth of material in their rehearsal space. However, only three of these nine tracks were included on the band’s aptly titled Demo #1, and the majority of the material remained unreleased until 2011, when Shadow Kingdom Records released the entire recording as the Unholy Cadaver LP. Unholy Cadaver’s output laid the groundwork for what would become Hammers of Misfortune’s signature style, but it also contained elements of death metal that would be phased out in future recordings.
17TH STREET – METALBLADE RECORDS
The first song, 317 automatically brings you into punching guitar riffs. No slow introductions here! It definitely has a bit of a classic metal feel to it. No vocals quite yet but then comes a beautiful guitar solo. The vocals that come in towards the end of the song add a more classic metal feel to it.
After reading up on this band, I was stoked to find out their founder was also a member of Ludicra. In an interview, he also admitted that he was member of GWAR for three short months, a “very long time ago”. So I was stoked to see how this band would sound like. So if you dig Ludicra, I suggest you give these guys (and ladies) a listen!
The intro for the next song, 17th Street, is absolutely fantastic. Fast paced and solely guitar. It sounds beautiful. Almost reminds me a bit of Protest the Hero mixed with classic metal. The female vocals that come after are absolutely beautiful and harmonize wonderfully. I also really dig the organ and bass. I love the mixture of the male and female voices. Makes for a really diverse sound. It’s ALMOST has a rockabilly sound to it.
The Grain, one of the longer songs on the album starts out with an awesome bass line. I really like the chorus in this song. The higher female vocals mixed with the dominant male vocals is absolutely beautiful! Although I’m not a fan of longer songs usually, it’s well done. I enjoyed how the pace changed throughout the song. The dual guitar solos were really clean and nicely done. The piano ballad piece at the end was also really beautiful and a great outro.
Staring (at the 31st floor) starts out sounding hard with a definite feel of the 80’s. Powerful vocals all around, including the back-up female. I would have to say that this is one of my favorites off the album. Definitely catchy, but it’s a bit slower than the rest.
This next song has vocals and a fast paced burlesque piano piece at the beginning, and in parts throughout the song. The sound is kind of opposite of the song title, The Day The City Died; almost as if it was an epic ending. He has great range on this one and goes higher than I ever could. This is also one of the more catchier songs on the album, especially the guitar solo in the middle of the song. They lead you out with another epic solo.
Romance Valley starts out slower at first but doesn’t hesitate to get quick really fast. I love the female back ups in this. It’s not too much and it makes you want more with the hints of the gothic-esque her vocals create under his. A nice long solo in this song, but it ends kind of abruptly.
Summer Tears is also a long one but it starts out as a slow ballad with piano, following a guitar solo that lasts for over a minute. This song doesn’t really pick up anywhere, kind of stays the same pace. But all I can think of is 80’s power ballad with this one. Not bad but the outro was kind of weird and unexpected. I feel like they could have ended it differently.
I absolutely love the intro to Grey Wednesday; bit dark sounding but picks up super quick. There’s an insane solo in this one that I really enjoyed. The outro on this song is actually clean and I like how they ended it.
The last song is SUPER long; 10 minutes worth. Which starts out nicely with an acoustic and piano harmonizing together. This pace seems to last for about 3 or 4 minutes but quickens. There’s two really nicely done solos in this song and the ending was done nicely. But this song doesn’t really set apart from the others in general.
In conclusion, it was nice and they have their own sound. You can tell they have influence from classic metal. Some of their songs sound redundant but they aren’t bad by any means. It was definitely a quality album but I would love to hear more female vocals in the next one.