Review : HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE – “The Bastard”

Hammers Of Misfortune The Bastard
Re-Release Date: 2010Aug03
Label: Metal Blade Records
Rating: 4/5

Metal Blade has re-released all four albums from Hammers Of Misfortune. This is their debut album, originally released in 2001. Their music is described as progressive metal with elements of doom metal and NWOBHM. In terms of lyrical structure, think of this album as a play in three acts with three central characters (The Bastard/Sapling, The King and The Chaos Dragon). In fact, as you’re listening along, read the lyrics. Each song is essentially part of the dialogue between each character, with a strong focus on the conflict between The King and The Bastard/Sapling. Their overall sound is reminiscent of bands such as BaronessMastodon and Pelican.

“When The Dragon Is Summoned” starts off Act I with a slow, doomy feeling before picking up in a thrashy manner, maintaining an even pace.  Each song escalates in pacing up until midway through the first act,”You Should Have Slain Me”. The dialogue between father and the (bastard) son comes to a close with a sound that’s sad and epic, signifying the end to a tenuous relationship. “An Oath Sworn In Hell” starts off Act II as one of the strongest tracks overall, with an ominous sound that complements the beginning of the end of the conflict between The King and The Bastard/Sapling. The conflict comes to a bloody end on “Tyrant Dies”, with the son emerging as the victor.

“The Prophecy Has Two Meanings” starts off Act III with a slightly more upbeat feel to it. The music feels formulaic at times but still manages to stick to the theme. “For The Ax” marks the battle between The King and The Chaos Dragon, in which the latter is slain, leading into the “Troll’s March”. “Sacrifice/The End” marks the end of this this album. The Bastard is quite an interesting album with a concept that defies convention (at least in my world).  This album was just the first of several releases, each with their own concept. Fans of progressive metal, NWOBHM and doom will certainly enjoy Hammers Of Misfortune.

FCC: Clean
Try: 1, 6812,14

01. The Dragon Is Summoned
02. The Bastard Son
03. On The Wings Of Vengeance
04. Hunting Tyrant
05. You Should Have Slain Me
06. An Oath Sworn In Hell
07. The Blood Ax Speaks
08. Tyrant Dies
09. The Witch’s Dance
10. The Prophecy Has Two Meanings
11. The New King’s Lament
12. For The Ax
13. Troll’s March
14. Sacrifice/The End

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