May 21, 2014

Music Review: Bloody Hammers - Spiritual Relics

Slowly, ever so slowly, movies have overtaken all as my entertainment of choice. I am not complaining about that. However, I am discovering hat I am missing music. My music listening has become more and more a passive experience and sometimes I feel like too much is passing me by. To that end, I want to try and write a little more about music. Just a little, I don't want to hurt your eyes too much. That brings me to a recent discovery, Bloody Hammers and their sophomore album, Spiritual Relics. It is not exactly mind blowing, but it is attention holding.

I do not know where it came from, and have a lot of digging to do, but this fuzzy, retro, doom rock stuff is awfully inviting. This is my first experience with Bloody Hammers, but they have some tight songwriting, memorable riffs and enough variety to keep from becoming stale. I have not heard their debut, so I cannot comment on any song growth, but this quietly draws you in with familiar, safe riffs before moving into slightly more adventurous territory.

The album opens with "What's Haunting You," a straight up fuzz rocker. It is infectious without being brilliant. It is the kind of song hat makes you think they aren't that bad without getting your hopes up too high. Retro riffs, slightly stoner-like vocals typify the tune. It moves onto the more doomy feel of "At the Well of Nazareth." it continues the feel of the opener with is catchy riffs and stoner vocals, but it has down feel to it, perhaps more minor chords? I do not know music well enough to say, but it sounds pretty darn good.

Then they throw the switch and change things up with a slowed down tempo, eerie and atmospheric tune that reminds me of Tiamat circa Skeleton Skeletron. This, to me, is the breakout moment of the record. It changes things, expands them beyond the fuzzed-out retro doom and makes them more of a force to be reckoned with. The song is called "The Transit Begins." It is dark and welcomes you into the gray shadows of a musical alleyway. It builds to a more fuzzy riff fleshed out with keyboards making it something quite interesting.

They keep the shift going with "The Source," a slightly more update, but no less dark number. It is the sort of song that invites some toe tapping while never letting the rock die down. It has a great groove and some great vocal stylings.

I would not necessarily call Spiritual Relics a great album, but it is a good example of what makes this genre so invigorating and entertaining. It takes throwback elements, Ives it with modern production and results in some attention holding doom rock. This is a band you will want to check out. They may not be originators, but they now how to execute it.


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