Hammers Of Misfortune | Dead Revolution
Label: Metal Blade
Release Year: 2016
Genre: Progressive Metal
John Cobbett – Guitar
Will Carroll – Drums
Sigrid Sheie – Organ/Piano/Vocals/Flute
Leila Abdul-Rauf – Guitar/Vocals
Joe Hutton – Vocals
Paul Walker – Bass
For the better part of 17 years now Hammers of Misfortune have been one of progressive metal’s best kept secrets. Always carrying critical acclaim, the band continue to carve there own unique path within the progressive metal and metal community in general. No matter what label they have been on or promotion they have had behind them, Hammers of Misfortune have certainly never compromised their musical philosophy.
Hammers of Misfortune have created a very vintage progressive sound with all the elements of late 1960’s to early 1970’s progressive and stoner elements. They have done this by adding very modern and relevant metal elements and passages instrumentally. Lyrically they have ventured into conceptual realms of politics, war and even fantasy. This remains the case with their newest 2016 offering off Metal Blade Records titles Dead Revolution.
Hammers Of Misfortune’s Dead Revolution carries a little piece of every album from their debut The Bastard until now. On Dead Revolution the band certainly gets to the point of their message both instrumentally and lyrically. Dead Revolution is just not well written it is well crafted paying attention to detail on melody and harmony, a signature that Hammers Of Misfortune have built a career out of. Now to some highlights from every track of Hammers of Misfortune’s Dead Revolution.
The Velvet Inquisition is the first track on the album. It starts as a straight away blistering prog metal delight in the galloping vein of early NWOBHM with progressive elements before settling into a more mellow progression on the opening verse. It opens with very warm harmonies that are soon joined with lush backing vocals. The solo’s and time signatures are wicked more in the vein of a bands like later Enslaved and Ulver. The band are real super tight on the rhythm section as if it comes second nature to them. The old school Hammond style synth is insanely tight with the rhythm section.
Dead Revolution the title namesake of the track stays right on course with the straight away tight rhythm section. It is another blistering track. This track is more on a progressive thrash level. The Hammond style synth takes it up to a whole other level with a very 1970’s style atmosphere with modern hooks and melodies. The harmonies are really smooth even to the most discriminating of audio pallets. The solo’s remind me a lot of early Iron Maiden meets Diamondhead with a twist of current Opeth, (post growls). There are some beautiful echo backing vocals as well as a perfect compliment to the main lead vocal.
Sea Of Heroes starts off with a really blistering rhythm guitar intro. This is followed by an thunderous bass/drum rhythmic section. This is a slower but far darker track on the album. The vocal harmonies are even presented in a more ghostly, yet haunting fashion. The band still remains on point with the main objective towards the vision for Dead Revolution. Towards the end the band employ almost a choral theme for the vocal harmony as if a mini choir is present in studio live while recording.
The Precipice ( Waiting For The Crash) opens up with a very thunderous drum solo that is quickly followed my the rhythms of bass and riffs of guitars with beautiful keyboard atmospheres to accent the intro. The track then takes a break and drop where a beautiful harmony of the lead vocal and keyboard set the table for the rest of the composition. The lead and backing vocals echoing in and out of one another keep the listener hooked and mesmerized at once. Their echoes beautifully exchange between one another. Instrumentally the time signatures are a perfect compliment with the complexity of the vocal structures. The guitar solo towards then end reminds me very much of the trade off between Dave Murray and Adrian Smith for Iron Maiden.
Here Comes The Sky begins with a subtle yet beautiful acoustic passage. The vocal harmonies sound more like a choir. This is one of the more symphonic and orchestral tracks off of Dead Revolution. The vocal harmonies play quite well to the drum section. The song takes a more progressive angle and continues to climb toward a climatic apex. The rhythm section of drums/bass and guitar are wicked and brooding. This contains a wonderful horned section towards the end on the outro.
Flying Alone rips into a progressive NWOBHM frenzy almost in the vein of Motorhead with a Rick Wakeman playing beautiful keyboard atmosphere. This track makes it quite clear that Hammers of Misfortune wanted to return with a straight up heavy progressive metal album after a 5 year absence since 2011’s 17th Street. The blistering assault continues on this one as well as the other tracks before it on Dead Revolution.
Days Of ‘ 49 ends Dead Revolution in a more stoner doom metal vibe. You can clearly hear bands like Trouble, Black Sabbath and Candlemass influence all over this track. The band still remains on its progressive metal mission however with a more tuned down melody instrumentally and lyrically. The keyboard turns towards a actual piano giving this track a even darker sound.
Hammers Of Misfortune have certainly returned with a total masterpiece. This is a band that has remained very criminally under rated their entire career. This is also a band that deserves European Summer Festival invitation and treatment and even acknowledgement for festivals such as Prog/Power USA and Prog/Power Europe and even Cruise To The Edge . They are one of the best progressive metal bands of the last 20 years and hopefully Dead Revolution will finally garner them the respect by both peers and industry promoters worldwide. I am giving Hammers Of Misfortune’s Dead Revolution a very solid 5/5. This is definitely in my top 10 if not top 5 for 2016 already.