“Did you ever think when the hearse rolls by, that someday you are going to die…”
Starting with this creepy audio byte, the mood of Under Satan’s Sun has been effectively captured. Blending the occult with Christianity, love, regret, loss, and more Satanic frenzy, the third release from “Transylvania”, North Carolina’s fuzzed out, doom masters. Bloody Hammers, is certainly cementing their place in the metal world. If I had to compare this to anything, it’s reminiscent of Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats meets old school Hammer Films. I just picture sun-baked ground and Southern Baptist tent revivals in the heart the south. Folks dressed in seersucker suits, dabbing the sweat from their foreheads as evil lurks beneath the ground. These guys are all about vibe, and this album is dripping with it.
‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’ kicks the album off, and it’s probably my favorite from this release. The slow cadence of singer/guitarist/songwriter, Anders Manga’s guitar provides the perfect contrast for his voice. Slow, raspy, ethereal, and somber, Ander’s voice cuts through the band with ease. The guys sound home in this band, that’s for damn sure.
‘Spearfinger‘ gets a bit more aggressive, offering a consistent down-picked chug chug chug that works so well in slower metal. The riffs bounce around a bit more, sounding a little like an amalgam of Black Sabbath and T-Rex. Anders inserts a lot of melody in front of these heavy riffs and this track is the perfect example.
“Death Does Us Part‘ slows it down a little, showcasing the painfully complex tone the band shoots for. The slow, lightly distorted guitar and straight 4/4 beat set up keyboardist, Devallia, for great atmospheric organ runs. Her playing on the first few songs sound like something you’d from the Church of Satan’s hymnal selection. The band definitely gels well and it’s songs like this that make that so obvious.
‘Second Coming‘ features a little turn or burn sensibility. Ander’s haunting voice plays well off the 80’s synth vibe. The discordant riff reminds me a little of Spinal Tap when they jam their classic medieval section. That is in no way an insult.
‘Welcome to the Horror Show’ is another great example of the downtrodden riffs and lyrical content that drives the gloomy undercurrent responsible for the bands unique southern fried stoner appeal. Subtle vocals fall perfectly in place with the band providing a straight chugging beat. Lyrically, Bloody Hammers sound like they would be comfortable writing slow, gloomy numbers for retro horror films.
The rest of the album falls a little short in places, with ‘The Last Alarm‘ being my least favorite from the album. The song sounds a little forced, and doesn’t mesh with the powerful songs on the album. The record ends on a hard note with ‘The Necromancer’. Another slow psychedelic song that continues to stitch the band’s unique lyrics with over-driven guitars and Orange cabinets.
All in all, this isn’t the band you put on when you need Pantera or Slayer’s furious galloping triplets and blast drums. This is the record you throw on in the evening or in the fall; preferably the kind of day that surrounds your home with low-lying fog in the morning. This band by no means deserves to be relegated to Halloween or October, even though I can imagine having this on the car stereo while driving through Haddonfield, Illinois or any part of Texas. Bloody Hammers will continue to grow and evolve until they put out their masterpiece, and I’m content to follow every step they take. Under Satan’s Sun is a Gothic exercise in mood submersion and fuzzed out stoner guitar the way it should be. This record would be promptly burned if it was released 20 years ago in my hometown.
4/5 for Bloody Hammers ‘Under Satan’s Sun’. Go get a copy on June 10.