With the summer holidays here, I’m catching up on a little backlog of album reviews. Bloody Hammers’ new release caught my eye as I reviewed an earlier work by them back in 2014 under the “100 Word Review” banner (as I was trying to plough through reviews then as well!). I flicked back through my collection and gave it a re-listen to remind myself of what they are like. Then popped The Summoning on, and within 30 seconds of “Let Sleeping Corpses Lie” had determined one thing: they’ve got even better.
A band I didn’t liken them to last time around (as I’d not really heard them) was Ghost. Bloody Hammers have a doomy tone, but encase it in melody and opera. The vocals are downbeat and horror-related, in the vein of Wednesday 13 for example, but sold in a more head-nodding than moshpit-encouraging fashion. What every song has in common, though, is a wonderful rhythm; a steady beat that pulses like the blood spilling from your veins. I mean passing through your veins. Sorry, the subject matter seems to have got to me…
Keyboards give atmosphere and then some, but the main stars are the wonderful choppy guitar and Anders Manga’s voice. It fills the void between creepy and dreamy in places, but is always crystal clear. Bloody Hammers have a simple sound, but it bloody works. What I do like about the keyboards is that they’re not over-used as can often be the case, but given free reign where appropriate. Check “The Beast Is Coming Out” for instance. A chilling track, and the perfect soundtrack for anything set in a graveyard, the guitar is virtually non-existent with Devallia’s multiple keyboard layers being the musical focus.
Best track? Possibly “Condemned, The Prisoner” which could have been penned by the mighty Johnny Cash. Heart-wrenching, emotive and it builds to a huge chorus.
The Summoning is simply brilliant. You can get right into it, or you can bang it on in the background only to find your toe tapping before you realise it. Ten tracks, each one a horrific pearl. Highly recommended.
The Summoning is out now
Header photo by Anders Manga