On the outskirts of Endor, just past the witch’s graveyard, sits an abandoned Victorian home. Time and nature claimed the house decades ago, but its spell draws travelers just the same. The ominous structure terrifies most, but to fellow astral projectors and like-minded individuals, the patio welcomes with strong drink and warm sunlight. It was there I first saw Devallia, a Lily Munster-esque vision that suggests images of Queensryche’s “The Lady Wore Black”.
She stood as I approached the wrought iron table, moving in a way most men couldn’t see. Opaque mist intertwined her arm, rising into the air like smoke when she extended her pale hand to me. I shook her slender hand and learned the secrets of 1000 year old covens. A single drop of sweat trickled down my forehead; she comforted me with a smile.*
*Thank you. That was my worst attempt at Gothic prose ever.
Fister: Like many fans, I just discovered Bloody Hammers this year. I was thrilled to find your self-titled album and last year’s “Spiritual Relics”. How has the band changed since the last record?
Devallia: Cool, thanks for giving it a listen. We live in the mountains of Transylvania County, NC and the folklore of the area inspired many of the tracks on “Under Satan’s Sun”. This album is a bit more in line with the debut because of the storytelling. “Spiritual Relics” was a collection of some older songs Anders had written over long period of time.
Fister: I love horror when it properly merges with metal, something you do well. How did Bloody Hammers come to be and how did the creepy Occult vibe originate?
Devallia: When we were children, there was an explosion in popularity of televangelists. They held a powerful grip on many fearful parents in the southern United States. This led to revivals and subsequently the trashing or burning of ‘sinful’ music, literature, etc. The sound of church-goers burning heavy metal music collections created the vibe of Bloody Hammers.
Fister: What are your favorite horror flicks and why do they stand out? Do you guys stay on top of the horror scene?
Devallia: We are always looking for a new horror movie to watch. We aren’t horror experts, but definitely fans. It seems the selection of good horror movies is getting much smaller lately, so we like to read Rue Morgue Magazine to find out what is worth checking out.
Fister: Bloody Hammers have a very unique original sound. What bands do you openly credit for inspiring your own desire to write and perform music?
Devallia: Anders is the songwriter and he is influenced by anything from Alice Cooper, Sisters of Mercy to Black Sabbath. We also love darker electronic music like Coil.
Fister: Do many people make the name connection with Roky Erickson?
Devallia: Quite a few people do make this connection. He’s the godfather of psychedelic rock and his work is very important to us.
Fister: I know you guys are excited to get on the road. Tell us a little about your upcoming tour in support of the new album, “Under Satan’s Sun”.
Devallia: The “Under Satan’s Sun” tour is going to kick ass! We appreciate all the support in Germany from Jens Heide. We are playing our first European show at Freak Valley Festival. Next up is Out & Loud Open Air Festival and MetalFest. Then we are going to unleash hell on Europe for a couple of weeks. We are particularly excited about Casiopoeia in Berlin and the Underworld in Camden.
Fister: Bands like Black Sabbath were writing songs with a definite horror edge way back in the 70’s. Why do you think horror/occult themes work so well in 2014?
Devallia: For us, it’s not necessarily about what we think will work well. Bloody Hammers is all about creating music we like, and it’s great if other people like it too. The dark subject matter is just what comes out naturally, based largely on our love for horror movies, but also life experiences.
Fister: Anton LaVey, pioneer or sleazy self-promoter?
Devallia: I’m not sure that he was either. I’m no expert on the matter but it seems to me his philosophy was to encourage the pursuit of greatness, not take shit from anyone, and that you have one life and should live it to its fullest. I think most of us can agree with this assessment.
Fister: Being a guitarist myself, I notice tone immediately. Any non-secrets you care to share in regards to your killer, fuzzy tone?
Devallia: Anders sometimes struggles to find the right tone he’s looking for. It usually ends up being a SM-57 shoved up against the grill of an Orange Amp powered by a Big Muff. There are also some ZVEX pedals here and there, like the Fuzz Factory and Wooly Mammoth.
Fister: Michael Myers slips in unnoticed at a crappy jamband festival. It’s a late night set with very little security. What method does he use to brutally murder these Patchouli-drenched neo-hippies?
Devallia: Axe body wash.
Fister: 2014 is going to be a HUGE year for the band. The new album hits in June and the tour sounds awesome. Do you have any other big plans or announcements to share?
Devallia: We could tell you, but we’d have to kill you. Keep an eye on BloodyHammers.com, Twitter, and Facebook for some upcoming announcements we can’t talk about yet.
Bloody Hammers’ new album on Napalm Records, “Under Satan’s Sun”, is available on May 30.