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Johnny Main

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hamners of misfortune

As John Lennon (or was it Ringo Starr) once said: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans", and this seems appropriate for West Coast progressive metallers Hammers of Misfortune. Babies, a motorcycle accident, black Metal and doom Metal bands as well as legendary San Francisco thrashers Death Angel all conspired to delay album number two from HoM but thankfully the band are now all up to speed, so to say, with the unveiling of 'Dead Revolution'.

The new album, following up from their most recent offering, 2011s '17th Street', was actually completed back in 2015 but has been sitting on the shelf at HoM HQ ever since and it's principal songwriter and guitarist John Cobbett who takes the blame.

"Mostly, the delay was my fault, trying to finish the cover art," he tells everyone willing to listen before adding "specifically [it was] the gatefold/booklet, which is hand drawn and hand lettered, [that[ took me a long time. Sorry!"

Quantifying the delay further, he adds: "The front and back covers are by Robert Steven Connet, and are beautiful. I absolutely can't wait to hold the vinyl in my hands."

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Cobbett, of course, should be most proud of what the band have achieved since their inception in 2000. Hailing from San Francisco, the Hammers didn't waste much time in releasing their debut work. 2001s 'The Bastard' was swiftly followed up by 'The August Engine' in 2003 and then the band took their foot off the pedal before returning to the studio for what would become 2006s 'The Locust Years'. In 2008 they released 'Fields/Church Of Broken Glass'.

The intervening years following the release of '17th Street' were by no means quiet – firstly Cobbett and keyboardist Sigrid Sheie welcomed a baby while frontman Joe Hutton was sidelined after being involved in a severe motorcycle accident. Add to this the fact that guitarist Leila Abdul-Rauf had joined death Metal band Vastum while bassist Paul Walker extolled the virtues of doom Metal with Oakland based band The Worship Of Silence. Not to be outdone, drummer Will Carroll joined up with legendary Bay Area thrashers Death Angel, leaving no-one available to keep the HoM home fires burning.

The band are rightfully back on track now and 'Dead Revolution' is finally seeing the light of day and this seven track release shows that the band are picking up where they left off. There are no power ballads here unlike previous releases and the album flows well from track to track even though it feels darker and heavier than previous efforts.

hamners of misfortune

Take the title track for example, which is fast paced with the drums from Will Carroll stuck in the back whilst the keyboard sounds of Sigrid Sheie could be straight out of a Deep Purple track. The vocals of frontman Joe Hutton sound a bit strained at times but overall it's an enjoyable number once it gets going.

Most of the tracks are over the five minute mark but they never seem laboured or over long. Album opener 'The Velvet Inquisition' is a fairly fast paced track with the guitar leading the way in the long instrumental intro. When the vocals do kick in, they're very much in the background and have a dreamlike quality to them. The song deviates from the fast pace to an almost complete stop at times before it begins in earnest once again making this an enjoyable track.

'Sea Of Heroes' has a great guitar opening before the drums begin in earnest. A simple drum beat from Carroll and simple guitar riff are maintained throughout as once again the vocals have a dreamy quality to them. The lead vocals from Hutton are boosted by some harmony vocals and this track quickly supplanted itself as a favourite of mine. 'Days Of '49' is the slowest tempo track here and once again has Carroll's drums slow and steady in an uncluttered performance in what sounds like a traditional medieval track. Hutton gives a great performance here and is the star of the track – the guitar solo doesn't come to much, for a change, leaving the vocals the focal point throughout.

'Here Comes The Sky' on the other hand sounds like it's heavily influenced by early Pink Floyd with the acoustic guitar, keyboards and Hutton's vocals which are once again the focus with simple instrumentation augmenting it. The track does eventually build up to a climax before coming back down to earth in a repeat of the acoustic guitar and keyboard mix from the beginning bring the track full circle. It's a slow process from start to finish but nothing about the track feels rushed and as you reach the end there's a lingering feeling of satisfaction about the track.

"Prog" can sometimes be seen as a dirty word or brings back memories of the seventies band resplendent in cloaks singing about castles and dragons but this album is glorious in its prog-iness. "Sometimes I feel like we're too Metal for the progs and too prog for the Metallers," explains Cobbett and he could be right – but whatever you think of either genre, this album fits snugly into the record collection of any self respecting prog fan and the same goes for Metal fans too.

You can see the official video for the title track here:

'Dead Revolution' Tracklisting:
The Velvet Inquisition
Dead Revolution
Sea Of Heroes
The Precipice (Waiting For The Crash)
Days Of '49
Here Comes The Sky
Flying Alone

Hammers Of Misfortune are:
Joe Hutton – Vocals
John Cobbett – Guitar
Leila Abdul-Rauf – Guitar/Vocals
Paul Walker – Bass Guitar
Sigrid Sheie – Vocals/Piano/Flute
Will Carroll – Drums

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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