"Under Satan's Sun"

By Dr. Abner Mality

As a lover of 50's horror and sci-fi, I couldn't pass up any album with the cover art that Bloody Hammers uses for "Under Satan's Sun". Nevertheless, I've heard wildly divergent opinions of this band. Some see them as the next great doom sensation, others consider them to be trendy garbage. And me?

I put them somewhere in the middle. When they are good, they are very good. When they are not, they are totally disposable. The genre of doomy rock with horror/occult lyrics is about the most unoriginal on the planet by now, but it can still be performed successfully if there's enough heart in it. The first track here is "The Town That Dreaded Sundown", inspired by the classic low-budget film of that name, and it's an example of Bloody Hammers at their best. The tune is obscenely catchy, doesn't overstay its welcome and has a haunting melody that really lingers. Don't listen to Bloody Hammers expecting crushing doom like Electric Wizard or Windhand, this is a much smoother listen and more commercial than I was expecting. "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" is matched only by the later "Dead Man's Shadow on the Wall", a killer driving song with more heaviness and catchiness. But outside of those two songs, I can't say I was blown away by anything on "Under Satan's Sun".

Bloody Hammers owes as much to goth metal as doom. Piano and keys play a strong role throughout and add a lot of atmosphere. Although I see the presence of a hot chick in the band, the vocals are exclusviely male...and very good if you like smooth, kind of grunge sounding clean singing.  The guitar tone is thick and heavy but Bloody Hammers is kind of a brutal name for a pretty accessible band. In fact, when these guys are at their most gothic, as on "Welcome To the Horror Show", I find them to be a goopy, sugary mess. I'm looking for more doom! Elsewhere, songs range from he lengthy "The Necromancer" to shorter, punchier tunes like "Second Coming" and "Death Do Us Part". As you would expect, there's plenty of samples from old horror movies.

Bloody Hammers is not really in the head-crushing doom vein of Electric Wizard and Pilgrim and it is unfair if you judge them by that standard. When they hit their sweet spot, lthey have an enchanting sound. But this could use some "dooming up".