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Hammers of Misfortune: The Locust Years

Hammers of Misfortune's latest album The Locust Years, is a creation similar in style of their previous album, The August Engine. If you are a fan of HoM you'll enjoy this album. If you haven't liked their previous works you won't change your mind based on this album.

HoM cannot be easily placed into any genre. But if you are a fan of progressive/folk metal, and ambient/eclectic metal, then you owe it to yourself to listen to them. Mike Scalzi (Slough Feg) is one of the lead vocalists; and he is accompanied by two female singers, Jamie Myers and Sigrid Sheie, who sing on most of the tracks of this album. Scalzi's vocal style is not for everybody. The first time I listened to this album, it really frustrated me, because he sounds like he is singing to a different song. He doesn't always sing to the rhythm, or notes of the song. Yet, after a couple listens I started to enjoy his more free-form style, and overall he does not sing on too many of the songs. Jamie Myers and Sigrid Sheie are both good vocalists, who have a very traditional folk style to singing. However, Myers and Sheie will not blow people away with their range, nor power, but it is more the style and emotion that is enjoyable. In several songs Scalzi, Myers, and Sheie share singing duties. Their styles, while different, somehow mesh together very well. Some of the songs sung soley by Myers and Sheie can start to sound like what you'd expect from the Medieval Babes; however, the band mixes in metal riffs, and other eclectic personalities to be purely unique.

The music on this album is well composed, very unique, uses a mix of acoustic and electric guitars, acoustic and electric pianos, Hammond B3, and bass, and they lack no talent on these instruments. John Cobbett is the leader of the group, the main guitarist, and he continues to show his plethora of skill, creativity, and ear for tone.

Some songs will make you think you were at the renaissance fest, only to suddenly jump into a progressive ambient riff, such as on the fourth track, "Famine's Lamp." The band also throws in other progressive-technical riffs such as in "Chastity Rides." While "Election Day's" almost circus nature to the music amused me greatly, the last track, "Widow's Wall" is my favorite. Overall, the combination of the instrumentals, vocal delivery, and lyrics drives you into an eerie trance, especially the more you listen to it. Frankly, this is not an album that one or two listens will allow you to fully enjoy. In fact, you might dislike it the first couple times, so keep listening to it, and if it doesn't grab you after the fourth or fifth listen, then you can stop.

Track Listing
1. The Locust Years
2. We Are the Widows
3. Trot Out the Dead
4. Famine's Lam
5. Chastity Rides
6. War Anthem
7. Election Day
8. Widow's Wall

Added: August 3rd 2006
Reviewer: Scott Borre
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 4091
Language: english

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