Rocky Mountain prog metal band Hammers of Misfortune are back with Overtaker.
Hammers of Misfortune started out in San Francisco more than twenty years ago. Back in the nineties, they operated as Unholy Cadavar before changing their name to the current, more familiar one. With six previous long-players under their belt (and the Unholy Cadaver album, too), They have made an indelible mark on progressive metal. The lineup for the Overtaker album includes John Cobbett (guitar, bass, Mellotron), Jamie Myers (vocals), Mike Scalzi (contributing vocals), Blake Anderson (drums, piano), Sigrid Sheie (Hammond B3), Frank Chin (contributing bass), and Steve Blanco: (synth), with a guest appearance by Tom Draper (Carcass, Spirit Adrift) on guitar.
It has been six years since the last record, so fans have been sweating this new for a while now. The title track kicks things off at a blistering pace as the band puts it all out there at once. “Dark Brennius” inveigles with the respite of its opening bars, but it is a dodge. Cataclysmic music follows, a ravaging lead break, and mystical passages that are like opening a door to gentle blue light in a dungeon of cacophony. I get the sense that I am being chased with this one all the way through. And then comes “Vipers Cross” which, if anything, is more chaotic than the first two songs. I am breathless but Hammers is filled with energy and keeps it going for twice again as much more.
The album fills your head with ideas and information at a pace right on the edge of what humans can reasonably be expected to take in. Any slowing down that occurs is brief, occurring in between flurries of furious activity. Fans of the band will be ready for this. Newcomers: prepare yourselves. Recommended.
Overtaker is out digitally on Friday, December 2nd. Stream or pick it up at Bandcamp, or wherever prog metal lives.
© Wayne Edwards