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Hammers of Misfortune: The August Engine

Previously known as Unholy Cadaver, the members of San Francisco's Hammers of Misfortune thankfully rechristened themselves and released a three-act metal epic in 2001 simply called The Bastard. Now comes The August Engine, an elegantly heavy and vaguely conceptual seven-song journey into several of metal's subgenres. With four of the five musicians in Hammers of Misfortune (two men and two women) boasting clean and distinct voices, The August Engine alternately roars and purrs, taking off in several divergent directions over the course of 45 minutes. As a result, some of these songs lack direction. It's almost as if the band is trying so hard to avoid a signature sound that it tosses all it's got at listeners. Opener "The August Engine Part 1," for example, takes off in a progressive-metal direction, "Rainfall" adheres to softer and more ethereal gothic-metal elements, and closer "The Trial and The Grave" comes off sounding like fresh stoner rock. Think Opeth meets Jefferson Airplane. Or Iron Maiden meets The Gathering. Or Thin Lizzy meets L7 (the band, incidentally, that spawned Hammers of Misfortune's original bassist and singer Janis Tanaka).

The sonic grab-bag approach may not work immediately for some listeners, but several subsequent spins are bound to reveal more layers and unifying elements. It's growing on me

Added: December 16th 2003
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Hammers of Misfortune Web Site
Hits: 4162
Language: english

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