Bloody Hammers, Songs Of Unspeakable Terror (Napalm Records 2021)

Horror shines bright on the sixth album from the North Carolina duo Bloody Hammers.

I have been listening to Bloody Hammers since the initial self-titled album in 2012. The very first track, “Witch of Endor,” is fuzzy and trippy and it sinks it talons in your neck. Spiritual Relics came out the very next year and it was just as clever and fresh. The occult themes and consistent horror underpinnings dress the reliable and forthright metal that has lead me to keep an eye open for new releases from band ever since.

The catchy musical sensibility of “A Night To Dismember” combined with the obvious tongue-in-cheek lyrics and melodic pop-punk execution makes the song an irresistible fuzzy cotton candy horror treat. What a way to kick off the album. The theatrical influences verily drip from the sleeves of these songs, titled as they are after cult movie classics like “Hands of the Ripper,” “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, and “Witchfinder General.” Samples dropped in (as in White/Rob Zombie) are delightful little familiar punches: witness “Not Of This Earth.” The music is all about the riffs, percussion, and the voice, cast in a throwback robe that resurrects the most memorable elements of bands like The Cramps and more obscure gems like The Voluptuous Horror Of Karen Black [Aside: deep-dive this band some time, and especially seek out the album “A National Healthcare.”]. There is even one creepy pseudo-ballad, “Lucifer’s Light.” This album has everything.

Any fan of Bloody Hammers is going to love this record, I say with confidence. It does not sound exactly like the others, but it is not a wild departure, either. It is an homage that simultaneously remains true to form, and you will definitely want to hit the repeat button. Recommended.

Songs Of Unspeakable Terror is out today from Napalm Records. Grab it with both hands.





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Bloody Hammers, Songs Of Unspeakable Terror (Napalm Records 2021)

Ilsa, Preyer review (Relapse Records 2020)

Washington, DC doom metal masters Ilsa unveil their sixth full-length album, bringing feral certainty to a world of indecision.

The first music of Ilsa’s I heard was Corpse Fortress (2018), well into the history of the band. What a great album. The music is Doom Metal in a very active sense, with no dragging or overdrawn moments. It is intense, and I expected the same from the new one, Preyer. It is all that and more.

“Epigraph” has a voiceover for the entire song where a Satanist discusses killing someone as part of what appears to be an interview. This is about Sean Sellers, a convicted murderer, and the album has this notion as its starting point. The music is heavily distorted and begins in the background. By the end of the song the positions are reversed with the voice becoming more distant and the music taking the forefront. “Poor Devil” is next and it is the first step after launch. The fully formed doom vision of the band is instantly in play and there is no looking back.

The pace is variegated but the filling line is not. The vocals on every track sounds like the world depends on the message getting through. The lead work is penetrating and the rhythm sets solid steel railing. The Punk intentions are plainer on some songs, like “Shibboleth,” and on others, like “Mother of God,” Doom lays it hands on heavy and presses hard. The title song is like a mad monk’s manifesto and the closer, “The Square Coliseum,” slides the stone lid over the sarcophagus of ruin in a final, terminal jolt. The place where solace lives is not accessible from this musical world.

Preyer is out this Friday, November 20th. It is a welcome addition to the band’s burgeoning canon. Recommended.

Band photo by Maire O’Sullivan.


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Ilsa, Preyer review (Relapse Records 2020)

Psychosomatic, The Invisible Prison review (Nefarious Industries 2020)

Sacramento Thrash Metal band Psychosomatic roll out lucky number seven, The Invisible Prison.

There should be more Thrash, I think. The heavy music landscape has tilted toward Doom and Death over the past many years. Thrash is still out there, though, alive and well and personified by bands like Exodus, Testament, [insert your favorite Thrash bands here], and Psychosomatic who keep putting out great music. This band has been around for more than thirty years, and they are just as fierce as ever. The lineup is founder Jeff Salgado (bass, lead vocals), Daniel Mills (guitars, vocals), Viktor Hansen (guitars, vocals), and Toby Swope (drums).

The album is twelve towering tracks, starting with “We Don’t Trust You,” which is enough to make me remember this one forever. You know it is all fast, loud, and thrumming, with the pedal to the floor all the way through so I don’t have to tell you that. Picking over the songs for highlights is something of a chore because of the solid nature of the entire set. Along with the opener, the title track stands out as being to most frenetic of the bunch in both rhythm and lead. It’ll ring your ears. There is an excellent cover of the Vio-lence song “Serial Killer” which is not to be missed – Decibel magazine is premiering that track so you can hear it in advance of the album’s release if you head over to their website. “Agents of Surveillance” is the shortest song and it might also be the most savage in a stabby kind of way. When you listen to the album you will find your own favorites and make a list to add to your saved songs on Spotify. It is going to raise your blood pressure.

August 28th is the drop date for The Invisible Prison with all the usual attributes of download, physicals, and bundles at Bandcamp and the Nefarious Industries sites. Trust might be thin on the ground but this album is a thrash-fest guarantee. Recommended.

Band photo by Michael Alvarez.


Psychosomatic, The Invisible Prison review (Nefarious Industries 2020)