Bloody Hammers – Under Satan’s Sun | Review

There are few new bands as hard working as Bloody Hammers. Under Satan’s Sun is the North Carolinans third full-length output in as many years and, as a result, such an impressive work rate has garnished them a respectable reputation. The stocks in this band are rising. Their brand of gothic horror meets fuzz driven doom rock not least catching the eye of Napalm Records, who snapped them up after the release of their second release, Spiritual Relics.

For those who felt Spiritual Relics lacked a little of the magic and longevity of their self-titled debut, Under Satan’s Sun puts all their continually blossoming strengths on show with a blood-curdled abash, standing toe-to-toe with their finest work. Rolling into action with horror samples plucked straight from Rob Zombie’s hellish imagination, "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" is a simplistic, memorable song led by a slow, Sabbath inspired riff, with Anders Manga’s vocals cranking up the intensity for a thoroughly addictive chorus. Devallia’s organs are pleasingly much more dominant in the mix on this record and her tingling piano here helps add another chilling dynamic to the band’s sound.

As the record progresses, you start to feel that collectively, this may be the best batch of songs they have released to date. The mournful "Death Do Us Part", the twisted melodies of "Welcome to the Horror Show" and the frantic punk undertones of "Dead Man's Shadow on the Wall" all get you singing along and nodding your head. And that’s exactly what these songs are about.

One standout moment in the record comes in the form of "Second Coming", a cover of what it arguably one of Alice Cooper’s most evil songs. They manage to capture that demonic menace that haunts the original while giving it a fresh impetus resembling their own stylistic philosophies. It’s a great version of an already brilliant track and it’s great fun to jump between the two different versions.

Intriguingly, Anders Manga has opted to double track his guitars with a different fuzz pedal each time (a ZVEX Fuzz Factory and an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff for those tech needs amongst you). The result is a resounding prickly, hairy wall of fuzz that really electrifies the band’s sound. It helps separate them from the competition.

The one criticism this record and indeed the band as a whole could face is that they are very much embedded within the confines of their own sound. For some, further exploration into other music realms may be desired, but for what this is it is hard to beat and the band are only getting better at it. This may not be the most complex, mind-boggling music that you’ve ever heard, but it’s not trying to be. This is catchy, horror inspired doom rock at its finest.

Phil Weller

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Phil Weller is a freelance writer with over 4 years experience of journalism under his belt. Having created pieces for the likes of BBC Radio 2 and reporting on the London 2012 Olympics, he began writing about the music he is passionate at the turn of the year. He and now writes for various sites including Planet Mosh, Manchester Rocks and Sludgelord. Follow his deluded ramblings @philipweller.