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Bloody Hammers is one of the bands that has the ability to make a few really really good songs, but then their overall work kind of sucks at some point. This variation in quality can be very tricky for the listener. You say to yourself "wow, this stuff is really good, how come I don't know these guys" but then you hear the whole album and disappointment knocks on the door. And I can honestly say that it's pretty difficult for me to rate their second album "Spiritual Relics".
The sophomore release of the quartet from North Carolina is hard to define. It doesn't really fall between the boundaries of classic traditional doom. There is a lot of leaning towards gothic rock, specifically in "Science fiction", "Shiver" and "The Transit begins". There are a lot of elements that remind me of famous gothic bands, maybe mostly because of the vocals. Illogically, after a few strong doom riffed songs and powerful choruses follows a mellow cheesy gothic song. No idea why, I can only guess that the musicians wanted to produce a varied album. It surely works for a lot of people, but my "cheesiness" tolerance is not that big. There are some good moments when the bass enters in to introduce some variety to the songs. Also the keyboard part is quite awesome, but you can hear it too rarely.
Here comes again the duality of this album. The vocals are really cool in some of the songs, but then again the ones that suck the most do so exactly because of the vocals. Maybe one of the reasons I'm really hooked to some of the songs - "The Well of Nazareth" is one such example, is because the singer so reminds me of Dax Riggs's singing in Acid Bath. In the faster and in the slower songs likewise. "Night of the long knives" is mediocre. It would have been a fine song if it wasn't for the stupid chorus which makes it sound like some modern idiocy.
Something really good about this album it that it has this darker, almost "horror movie"-like feeling to it. Doom or not, gothic or not, it has this weird dark feel to most of the tracks. Unfortunately, the mellowness of the bigger part of the tracks will repel the hardcore doomsters as it did repel me. I am writing this review because this band deserves to be checked out. Even if you're gonna skip some songs, there are a bunch that are good. If you haven't listened something that would remind you to the Southern stale, sick feeling of Acid Bath, there is a grain of music on this record that could remind you of it.