Living a few thousand feet above sea level in North Carolina, Anders Manga and his malevolent cohorts in Bloody Hammers offer a creepy yet strangely-upbeat taste of American mountain spirit, weaving lovably spooky tales together with the aid of some of the most memorable tunes this side of Halloween. Though the group are now preparing to release their third album – entitled Under Satan's Sun, released on Napalm - they remarkably only made their debut a couple of years ago, being little more than a hobby project for its main protagonist, who put together an album of tunes in his home studio and then left it to gather dust for years on his hard drive. It was the decision to put a few tracks online that led to Soulseller Records picking up on the band and releasing the self-titled first album, while an invitation to play Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Film & Music Festival forced Anders to turn the studio project into a real band, even enlisting his wife on organ.
“My first record as a kid was Alice Cooper Goes To Hell,” explains Anders of his musical background, “but I also liked electronic music because we have the Moog synthesiser factory about an hour from here. We don’t use too much organ but I still like John Carpenter’s horror soundtracks and things like that. Primarily though it’s Alice Cooper, Roky Erickson, Nick Cave, the Misfits, Danzig, Type O Negative… I’m drawn to stuff that is more horror rock – maybe because I’m a big horror fan. But I don’t care what people call it, there’s doomy moments, there’s stoner rock moments, gothic rock, it’s all over the place, but that’s how I am as a fan. Variety is the spice of life; I can’t just listen to one type of music, I’d go crazy.”
Binding all these musical ideas together are Ander’s lyrics, which tend to draw upon the darker forces in the world for inspiration, whether it be true crime stories or local legends…
“Where I live there’s lots of cool stories and folklore and I wanted to write about that, so the album is mainly stories about my local area,” he explains. “The song Spearfinger for example is about the Cherokee mountains and a legend of a witch who lived in the woods and had a spear-like finger and would take the liver of kids who were lost in the woods. I tend to write short stories, I’ve written my share of nonsensical lyrics but I definitely get more enjoyment from that camp fire-type story. Maybe that’s from living in the mountains, people always tell stories – I just tell stories that are a little more macabre.”