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Hammers of Misfortune: 17th Street

Hammers of Misfortune have been around the block a bit, so their brand of classic hard rock, prog rock, progressive metal, thrash, and avant-garde should be very familiar to most fans of adventurous music. Their latest Metal Blade release is titled 17th Street, and once again we are treated to a musical hodge podge of ideas and styles, which are ultimately hard to ignore and easy to like.

Amidst the jumbled and jagged riffs the guys throw in some real tasty organ bits on tracks like "317", "The Grain", and "17th Street", which gives that vintage prog feel, but it's really all about the guitar work here, which is quite good. Never quite technical enough to fully throw this into the progressive metal camp, there are still some throughtful riffs and intricate solos to go around which make for a challenging listen. You'll be reminded of Candlemass on the monstrous doom cut "Staring (The 31st Floor)", complete with operatic vocals and crushing riffs, while "The Day the City Died" is upbeat & quirky neo-prog with a pomp slant thanks to some poppy vocals and layers of keyboards. "Romance Valley" has a Dream Theater/Vanden Plas feel to it, and "Summer Tears" is like a marriage of Supertramp and Queen. Ragging guitar riffs & organ drive the heavy rock of "Grey Wednesday", and closing epic "Going Somewhere" mixes prog with thrash for an eclectic combination. Some sizzling guitar & keyboard solos on this one.

As good as much of 17th Street is, at times it's just so all over the place that I was left struggling to follow along. The vocals, mostly sung in the higher registers, might be a tad grating at times for some, though I think for the most part they work pretty well. All in all 17th Street is another aventurous release from Hammers of Misfortune, an album impossible to classify and containing some impressive musicianship.

Track Listing
01. 317
02. 17th Street
03. The Grain
04. Staring (The 31st Floor)
05. The Day The City Died
06. Romance Valley
07. Summer Tears
08. Grey Wednesday
09. Going Somewhere

Added: December 25th 2011
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band @ Metal Blade
Hits: 1779
Language: english

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