Kooky Halloween ghouls Anders Manga and Devallia are back after only just hitting us over the head with their last descent into the tool shed ‘Lovely Sort Of Death.’ They certainly caught us off guard with that one too having shifted slightly from the Munster etched Gothic doom flavours of past and delivered more in a darkwave, gothic, electronic and even synth-pop tone. As I said reviewing it, the album kind of threw the bat among the pigeons (and you may as well milk a corny gag for all its worth) but that’s not to say it was not an enjoyable listen in the slightest. The question it left was, is this going to be an evolution that they continue with and perhaps there are clues to be found here? Having said that though, 6 track EP The Horrific Case… is just being released on limited to 300 edition slabs of vinyl (and we assume digitally) and is as much a tribute to horror films of yore as anything else.

The first of two odes to the late great Lucio Fulci ‘The Gates Of Hell’ opens with riffs thick enough to swing a priest from a tree to and the denizens of The City Of The Living Dead cavort in to munch on his entrails. This is a good old fashioned Gothic rocker with more than a hint of The Sisters Of Mercy at their prime about it. It has hooks aplenty and a meaty head-banging rhythm about it that should have bones snapping as the living dead attempt to groove on down to it in the graveyard. Retro keyboards tinkle away in it and Anders croons flow off into the night sky with them perfectly. ‘Blood’ is a more ambiguous title the opening keyboard flourish in a Type O vein and it trots off at a more tempered and beguiling pace with a lot of focus on the clean and harmonic vocals. Clues are taken from the accompanying video and it’s a devilish delight of witchy behaviour taking in classic silent movie Haxan as its muse. I’m in two minds about ‘The Beyond’ as what is intrinsically a ballad feels wrong in approach to the excessively splatter and zombie carnage of the Fulci classic and anyway Necrophagia nailed that particular coffin shut in style. Still it’s chilling and here we go back to last album with cold-wave synths and a Joy Division sounding mournful drum beat. Calling this a slow-burner would be an understatement and it’s akin to entering an unexpected sea of darkness. Both musically and subject wise it’s a trip right back to the 80’s and its quite a beautiful song perhaps in line with the poetic dénouement of the movie itself.

Over to side B) and ‘Vultures Circle Overland’ is another brash and hefty rocker, crunching in and flowing into tribal drum beats and harmonic vocals. It’s got another belting chorus as the birds of prey swoop and dine and although no obvious film is alluded to it’s a suitable feast of flesh that certainly hits the mark for inclusion. I actually have the underrated Sergio Martino Giallo ‘All The Colors Of The Dark’ on order and about to pop through the door. From what I remember it’s basically the one that Kubrick surely took serious inspiration from for Eyes Wide Shut and the mystic vibes and ceremonial stealth of it are replicated well here musically with pulsing synth-lines and the cloak and dagger twists and turns within it. There’s a serious Tubeway Army tribute going down here too. You have to really have some sexy vampires and ghastly count cavorting around a castle included in a work like this. I’d have gone for Rollin myself but the organ work brilliantly summons Alfredo Rizzo and The Bloodsucker from his crypt to Lead The Dance here. This really has the important atmospheres of a film such as this and something I have found throughout this release with the exception of The Beyond. It’s slow, delicious, dark and deadly and has no problem getting its fangs into you.

Well I’m a sucker (no pun intended) for a release like this as it combines music and horror films together well and in an honest, authentic and reverential way. Still no idea where Bloody Hammers go from here but I’ll happily follow them down whatever dark corridors they lead.

(7.5 Pete Woods)