Bloody Hammers: Spiritual Relics

Occult doom rock crew excel on their second album

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Bloody Hammers almost don’t need to release any music. They could just exist as a concept knowing that they’ve nabbed one of the best band names around. Fortunately the North Carolinan quartet create a sound that’s worthy of their name.

Fuzzed up, freaked-out and defiantly doomy, they’re up there with the best of the genre – from Blue Öyster Cult to Type O, Cathedral to Ghost. There are shades of Soundgarden in the dark pulse of What’s Haunting You while At The Well Of Nazareth is like Marilyn Manson doing his best Bauhaus impersonation.

But Bloody Hammers are no pastiche or tribute band and unlike a lot of doom they’re invigorating rather than oppressive, celebratory and life-affirming rather than mordant and moribund. Some tracks like Night Of The Long Knives fall a little flat, but on the downbeat closing lament of Science Fiction frontman Anders Manga tugs at the heartstrings like the nicotine-stained fingers of Ville Valo. Lots to like here.