Hammers Of Misfortune formed back in 2000 comprised of members from Slough Feg, Ludicra and L7. Ten years down the line and the Frisco act are here to bring us album number five and it’s definitely a one for old proggers.
Having said this, there’s no doubt that Hammers Of Misfortune have a sound that is very accessible to a lot of tastes. Their lyrical themes are easily understood and melody means just as much as technicality for the sextet.
Satch-styled picking introduces us into 17th Street with 317, but it isn’t till we hear the opening chugs of The Grain that we realise this band’s full potential. From the head-nodding verses to the beautifully sung chorus, the seven-minute track is their best work on the album and tantalising evidence that creative things are happening in the HOF camp. Romance Valley has the intense kind of chorus’ you could expect from a Focus record, but it’s sheathed with heavier dynamics. They’re definitely paying homage to the NWOBHM movement in their work too – think Sabbath meets their prog nemesis and it’s somewhere near.
There are a couple of points that aren’t so positive on this record as well. Summer Tears would be a nice enough ballad but it’s not lyrically strong enough to host the nice instrumentation and it is a tad too lengthy. Luckily, they’re a band that have the tendency to pull an epic out the bag just when you’re off-guard – Going Somewhere best reflecting this at the record’s finish.
There’s certainly scope for more records from this band but we’re not sure if they’ll ever be a behemoth of prog metal.