BLOODY HAMMERS – Spiritual Relics
Back for a second studio album, North Carolina’s Bloody Hammers decides to cover classic horror-themed stories on "Spiritual Relics". The quartet throws down a unique mixture of southern flavored heavy psychedelic music with occasional nods to the gothic and doom genres. A love of the 70’s scene is obvious with cuts like "At the Well of Nazareth" and the slithering stomp/ buzz fest "Shiver" which wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Blue Oyster Cult offering with a twinge of Bauhaus/ Danzig charm.
The bass play from Anders Manga is evil and up front on the atmospheric "The Transit Begins", while his vocal style is equally cryptic, haunting, and slow building. Guitarist Zoltan lobs and volleys with the heroes of Iommi, Lifeson, and Gilmour at his fingertips during great driving material such as "Night of the Long Knives" and the harsh, slower winding "Path of Sorrows". Recording this album before tour dates came in to support their debut, it seems like these musicians spent more time honing in on stronger riffs and hooks and are moving in the right direction to sustain a following.
I enjoy bands that improve as the years go forward. Bloody Hammers aren’t one of those acts who jumped on the ‘retro’ bandwagon because it appears to be the flavor of the year. As such, "Spiritual Relics" floats through comfortably, the spirit of Marshall stacks, feedback, and haze all combining to deliver melancholy jams aplenty.