Bloody Hammers_Lovely Sort of DeathThere once was a time when the little known Bloody Hammers were making like the even lesser known Vardan by releasing new albums with shocking rapidity. Perhaps this was their way of getting their name out there and keeping whatever low-level momentum they garnered moving in the right direction. Unfortunately despite some good ideas, the music often felt slapped together and rushed with inconsistent results. The talent and potential were definitely there, but the results weren’t quite up to snuff. In my review of their 2014 opus Under Satan’s Sun I prescribed a longer time between releases to allow their ideas to germinate, marinate and ruminate, and perhaps they took the advice to heart. Now after a 2 year absence we get Lovely Sort of Death and the lay off seems to have done the dark denizens little good, with their amalgam of occult rock, goth and doom still lacking consistency and impact, despite the occasional ace up their old timey sleeve.

For those in a hurry, Lovely Sort of Death sounds like a side project by members of Tiamat, Ghost and H.I.M. with the style of each bleeding into the writing to some extent. That makes for morose, often low-energy gothic-tinged doom rock with a dark vibe. Sleepy opener “Bloodletting on the Kiss” recalls the 80s Darkwave scene and weaves little traces of Type O Negative through the charnal mist and vampire aesthetics. It’s not a blow away kind of song but it sets the mood well. Follow up “Lights Come Alive” could almost be a Beauty of Gemina cut and goes for that same style of goth mopery The Cure utilized so well. “The Reaper Comes” channels the Black Brick Road era of Lake of Tears and the mid-period works of Tiamat well, creating a gloomy, minimalist little slab of melancholy for all the sadboys and sadgirls out there.

The problem once again is their inability to craft an entire album worth of these kinds of songs, and the remainder of Lovely is up and down quality-wise. “Messalina” is classic goth-rock and works well as such, and “Stoke the Fire” is like premium late period Cemetery. But cuts like “Ether” and “Shadow Out of Time” drag along with depressive apathy and leave me feeling little to nothing at all. “Astral Traveler” is more spry and lively but remains unmemorable and indistinct with little to catch and hold the listener’s attention.

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It will go down as a mystery why Lovely clocks in at 47 minutes when the band only had about 25 minutes of “good” material. Dropping 2 or 3 of the weakest cuts would greatly improve the overall flow and quality, but hey, I’m just a lowly reviewer who thinks he should run his own label with an iron fist ov steel. The length plus the overall lack of fire and urgency conspire to cause ADD as the album drags itself along with few flair ups of energy and oomph. Even a laid back doom/goth rock platter needs peaks and valleys, and I’m afraid too much of this is valley in search of elevation.

Founding frontman/bassist Anders Manga continues to improve as a vocalist and walks a line between Johan Edlund (Tiamat) and Daniel Brennare (Lake of Tears), besting neither of them but finding a happy middle ground. His wife and fellow gothminister, Devallia supplies all the organ, piano and keyboard gobbledygook and does a fine job, mostly maintaining an understated presence while adding color and atmosphere in small ways. Guitarist Bill Fischer plays along accordingly, supplying minimalist goth melodies and simplistic riffs. They make for a somnambulist bunch on many of the tracks, but when it works it works. That said, too many of the songs lack the kind of hooks that put asses in the seats and keep them there. With such a laid-back approach, those hooks become even more crucial and they’re just not present on most of the album’s back-half.

For some reason I always find myself rooting for Bloody Hammers. I like a few tunes on each album, see the potential and wish they did more to live up to it. Lovely Sort of Death isn’t that breakthrough album, but for hardcore gothic-doom rock fans, there’s enough good stuff here to warrant a peekaboo. Since I have no more suggestions on how to improve the next album I’ll just wish them luck and good tidings.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: bloodyhammers.com  |  facebook.com/bloodyhammers
Releases Worldwide: August 5th, 2016

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  • Reese Burns

    Speaking of Vardan, I haven’t seen a new release in a while.. Everything okay over in that camp?

    • We were just discussing that among the AMG staff. Somebody should check on him.

      • Reese Burns

        I’m a fan of his stuff too, getting nervous now.

        • He was deluging our promo bins quite regularly for a while then he went dark. I’m not sure we got his late 2015 release, but at least he was active semi-recently.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Last seen walking into the forrest to take pictures of rocks for his next album cover.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      He’s likely Enjoying of Deep Vacation.

  • GardensTale

    About 3 minutes into the embedded track I remembered music was playing.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      snap

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    The embedded track has a nice Floydian vibe but after reading the review I feel like I wanna make the same comment I did last time.

    I want these guys to liberally sprinkle some Danzig dramatics add a dash of Inter Arma intensity, a splash of Sabbath Assembly wickedness and a dollop of Witch-finder General campness.

    I’ll check out the album as USS and SR both had a couple of cracking songs.
    They’re at least consistent with the great art for their albums!

    • There are little bits of Danzig scattered here and there but without the Shirtless One’s intensity.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        It’s what they need, I feel like these will pull it together one album soon and blow everyone away.

  • Watching the video, I’m at least satisfied that they think they’re making good music. Reminds me of that SNL skit with Will Ferrel and Ana Gasteyer as the Culps.

  • Diego Molero

    There are A LOT of hammers in metal!

    • Innit Bartender

      It is indeed a Hammers month!

  • Gaëtan Baratin

    Overlooking the album cover in miniature, I first thought this was Master of Reality. Same shades of grey and purple.

    • How could you overlook so many visible nipples? Shame on ya.
      But yes, there are certain similarities.

      • Bart the Repairman

        While staring at all the nipples, you can overlook that central goat-girl character doesn’t cast even slightest shadow, and some skulls seems to levitating few cm above the ground. Vampires and dark magic here!

        • Despite all the skin, I did notice the horned head. Those other details, including the Master of Reality similarities, did however drown in nipples.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Insanely melancholy vibe in that song, but they’re faithful to it, which I think gives it a nice flow. I can see how a whole album of songs like this could end up being snooze-worthy, but I’m actually really digging “The Reaper Comes.”

    • That’s pretty much the best part of the album.

    • madhare

      I dig the vibe too. So much so that I was actually a bit let down when they start banging stuff at 3:29. …hmm… maybe I’ll just edit the rest out and then it will be a great loungy melancholy piece.

  • madhare

    It’s funny how non-goth artists often manage to be more gothy and authentic than the goth artists. I guess it’s because going full-goth is a tricky balancing act on the edge of pretentiousness. I’ll just stick to Roky’s Bloody Hammer.

  • Thatguy

    There is something about the synth sounds they choose that is on the edge of cheesy.

  • Dead1

    The song posted in the review is so bloody boring. It sounds like an intro for the first 3.30 minutes! Tediu core!

  • Wilhelm

    The song is nice – dark, psychedelic and energetic. It almost does sound like modern day Tiamat,

  • PS-RagE

    The embedded track has promise but seemed more of an “intro” than a single? (i.e. to make a video of it)

    Nice album cover though!

  • Chris Valls

    Is no one going to mention the drummer?!
    He’s dressed up like the damn Invisible Man! What the hell is happening here?