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Masterful - 97%

coldblacksun, April 22nd, 2004

what a great band. The Bay Area (California) has produced some...ummm...shall we say....notable...bands. From the Metallica of old to the Impaled of now, the area has always been a source of great metal. Now we have Hammers of Misfortune. After the exceptional (if somewhat unrealized) vision that was "The Bastard", Hammers returns with this absolute masterpiece of an album. Do not listen to this if you want to be easily pleased. Do not listen to this if you only like music with blast beats. What we have hear is thoughtful, well constructed, warm sounding (thanks to the great old-school analog recording- take that ProTools!), and plain ROCKIN' slab o'metal that runs the gamut from Megadeth style frenetic thrash riffs (Room and a Riddle) to heavy, depressing doom (Doomed Parade, Trial and the Grave) to beautiful folk-ish acoustic passages (too numerous to count). Mike Scalzi, the unique and VERY strange sounding vocalist (and point of much contention among those who hear this group), is, in my humble opinion, one of the most refreshing and amazing singers out there. His deep voice glides over the material beautifully carrying the odd vocal lines with grace, and adding an awesome power to the heavier moments. Fans of Doom, heavy, power, and thrash metal will be damn pleased with this album. One of the best of 2003, if not the last few years. Now if only they'd play LA again.