Living proof that employing old-school metal as a starting point need not result in fatuous, dead-eyed box-ticking, Hammers Of Misfortune have one of the most brilliant catalogues in the whole of the underground and Dead Revolution seems certain to satisfy anyone that has thralled to this band’s eccentric adventures in the past.
Chief Hammer John Cobbett has a unique vision; opener The Velvet Inquisition is a rowdy blur of NWOBHM rumble, prog keyboard flurries and pomp rock bombast, but even though the ingredients are recognisable, the resultant analogue gumbo is anything but predictable.
Even the opening riff to the title track – imagine early 80s Priest with Jon Lord on organ duties – emanates a sense of organic oddness, retro and awash with cosmic curiosity. Sea Of Heroes pulls off a similar trick, its menacing stomp embellished with psychedelic harmonies before an elegant descent into layered opulence. Best of all is Days Of ’49, an authentic heavy metal sea shanty that could have fallen flat, but is delivered with stirring, heartfelt grace.