"The Locust Years" (Cruz Del Sur; 2006)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Easily one of the most exhilarating bands to come down the pipe in a very long time, this San Francisco based quintet, Hammers of Misfortune, once again showcase why they so deserve their abundance of critical acclaim with "The Locust Years."

This eight-track offering is a majestic, metallic masterpiece from beginning to end, complete with sweeping melodies, lush atmospheric elements, and a hearty helping of progressive metal that ranges from hypnotic folksy-ness of "Election Day" to driving, NWOBHM-influenced "Chastity Ride."

By throwing in some piano, female vocals, and other grandiose nuances, "The Locust Years" truly embarks on a fantastic voyage that strays into a Pink Floyd-like domain without losing its teeth or turning soft on cuts like "Widow's Wall."

Mighty, bold, operatic and hair-raising, this disc is truly one of the most comprehensive albums heard in quite some time and is surely worth your time if you pine for a truly epic metal experience. 

Hammers of Misfortune: Chewy  - Drums; Jamie Myers - Vocals, Bass; Mike Scalzi - Vocals, Guitar; Sigrid Sheie - Acoustic and electric piano, Hammond B3, Backing vocals; John Cobbett - Electric, lead and acoustic guitars.

For more information, check out http://www.hammersofmisfortune.com.

"The August Engine" (Cruz Del Sur; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Writer/Director David Mamet is one of my favorite filmmakers. With most of his films, you find yourself trying to guess what happens next and you're never right - Mamet manages to lead you in one direction and then quickly take you in another. These constant surprises are part of what make his films so riveting. Rent "Homicide" starring Joe Mantegna and see if you don't agree.

Of course, this is a CD review and not a movie review but "The August Engine" by Hammers of Misfortune is much like a rock version of a David Mamet film. "The August Engine" begins with a self-titled instrumental of nearly Metallica thunder but is immediately followed by a soothing acoustic track with ethereal vocals by vocalist Jamie Myers. The third and fourth tracks go back into heavier territory, with both offering more of that near Bay Area thrash. Then track five comes along, sounding like a Pink Floyd acoustic with Jamie doing her best female Roger Waters impression. "Doomed Parade" starts slowly and then explodes a dead-on rocker while the final track, "The Trial and the Grave" is a strangely plodding operatic rock closer that's different from anything you've heard on the album before.

While the variation of songs on "The August Engine" is admirable, it might be a little too much for some listeners (much like some of David Mamet's film are too much for some viewers). Still, if you're looking for something unique, you'll find it with Hammers of Misfortune and "The August Engine." The band's obvious musical expertise and the freshness their songwriting offers is rare and should be celebrated.

Hammers of Misfortune: Chewy - drums; John Cobbett - guitar/vocals; Jamie Myers - bass/vocals; Sigrid Sheie - organ/piano/vocals; Mike Scalzi - guitar/vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.hammersofmisfortune.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 Oct 2022 15:17:12 -0400.