Even if the (I assume) influenced by Roky Erickson name doesn’t give it away, Bloody Hammers are another in the now saturated Seventies psyche/doom scene. The plus side to this is that unlike say, the metalcore scene, so far there gave been fewer cookie cutter bands and Bloody Hammers don’t change that. Opening song ‘The Witch Of Endor’ is a truly eclectic mix of influences, from softer vocals that wouldn’t be amiss on a goth album, a lovely downtuned fuzzed riff style all laid back stoner and the rising rousing doom chorus that Wall Of Sleep claimed as their own on Sun Faced Apostles. It is a very, very appealing start and the hugely catchy-with-an-almost-eighties-rock-feel follow up ‘Fear No Evil’ cements their song writing credentials.
Not as dense or as heavy as Orchid and not as deep in the groove, Bloody Hammers lean very much towards the stoner end of the spectrum and that riff style tends to be the framework on which they build these songs. In contrast though ‘The Last Legion Off Sorrow’ ploughs much more of a doom furrow, albeit an up tempo one, and the vocals once more remind me of Orchid in style. It kinds of overstays its welcome a touch but I’m sure others will lap it up. Not sure about Trisect either; it has a riff but was a little too much like a mid set filler when my pint begins to look empty.
With lyrics firmly planted in the occult and horror worlds you need to be pulled in and ‘Say Goodbye To The Sun’ worried me until they utterly abandon the doom and float into that glorious, enveloping world where Alice In Chains at their darkest meets stoner horror for a vampiric feast. By this time I realise that all the strengths in Bloody Hammers play best when they abandon the straight line doom urges and just spread their talented wings over the seventies rock, the eighties taste for melody and the grunge end of the stoner. ‘The Witching Hour’ or ‘Black Magic’ as brilliant examples sounds like nothing less than The Sweet playing occult rock with a bit off stoner boogie with a tone straight out of Boogieman (remember them?) chucked into the latter. Close your eyes, think about Brian Connolly on the mic stand and you know it makes perfect sense. In fact I’d bet these guys could do a cracking version of Piece Of The Action…
Musically these guys would slit on seamlessly at Desertfest as stoner buzzing and Kyuss tones are always just a few bars or a song away even if the lyrics are more Lovecraft than spaced out. Thankfully though it’s the other influences that lift them out of the chorus line of seventies obsessives. The places on this rather fine debut where they drift away from that, like the spooky closing song ‘Don’t Breathe A Word’, is where Bloody Hammers provide their best, and their best is something to behold.