Although Hammers of Misfortune have been around for nearly 20 years, I’m sad to report that, somehow, this is the first I’ve heard of them. Packing a unique blend of doom and progressive metal coupled with folk stylings, Dead Revolution screams for some much needed attention.
Saying Hammers of Misfortune sound like an extremely experimental Black Sabbath is a semi-accurate description, but it doesn’t explain the whole picture. Indeed, Dead Revolution is one of those albums that fuels lengthy discussions about the intricacies of subgenres. There are touches of power, thrash, NWOBH, doom, and the list goes on and on. Thankfully, the band has the sense to simply label themselves as progressive metal, and allow the diversity of their music to speak for itself.
The guitar and drums often attack in hard and fast flurries, occasionally slowing down to a lumbering trudge. The vocals drone in floating chants, sometimes grounding themselves in strained shouts that hit the high-end of the register. Finally, the keys either sound like they’re piped from a church organ, or spinning off from a Deep Purple record. There’s even an epic folk track that moves at a snail’s pace while spinning a tale of a town and its unusual inhabitants. The epic is the best example of Hammers of Misfortune’s ability to stir mood and tone, but every song has its own nature ranging from anguish to joy and each is communicated as effectively as the next. The adaptive quality that the sound possesses and the constantly changing theme of the music are huge contributors to how Dead Revolution stays fresh and endlessly intriguing.
Dead Revolution is a prime example of an album that doesn’t waste a second of its runtime. Each song possesses its own charms and quirks, thanks to the use of a range of techniques and styles. Also, the album avoids creating a single section that sounds like padding. The total lack of inflation is impressive, as no song clocks in under five minutes, which further demonstrates Hammers of Misfortune’s impressive creativity.
Dead Revolution is filled with content that demands the listener’s attention. Drawing from a vast array of styles, Hammers of Misfortune craft a performance that is both cohesive and wildly unique. Every moment of the album sounds purposeful and brimming with intent, suggesting that a great deal of thought was invested in its creation. Except for the purest of purists who can’t stand any genre being mixed together, Dead Revolution is worth a spin or seven. I know that soon I’ll be digging into the band’s back catalog.