As the cover art of Bloody Hammer’s self-titled debut suggests, abundant occultism lurks within. However, if you’re expecting colossal doom dirges à la Electric Wizard–and that’s perfectly understandable–think again.
Bloody Hammers delivers devilish hard rock akin to Year of the Goat, Ghost, or the sadly disbanded the Devil’s Blood. Of course, the clue to the band’s sound is right there in its moniker; it’s named after a tune by Roky Erickson. Fittingly, the fuzz of psychedelic rock provides the framework to Bloody Hammers, a gothic swagger and vapors of Pentagram define its mood, and all the supernaturalism therein is presented with a sly wink to the licentiousness and devil worshipping on offer.
Distorting ’70s riffage and kaleidoscopic soloing weave around Hammer Horror keyboards and fluid percussion. “Witches of Endor” and “Fear No Evil” comprise roisterous diabolic rock; stoner and desert fumes rise from “The Last Legion of Sorrow”; and the heavier “Black Magic” and “Souls on Fire” keep things reelin’ with the proto-sludgy doom.
Bloody Hammers features catchy songwriting and melodic mid-tempo rituals that blend old-school Wickerman vibes with yesteryear rock that celebrates the sinful in all of us. It’s an enjoyable debut, and there’s no doubting the band’s intent or enthusiasm. But with the occult rock sphere drowning in similar acts (with somewhat similar riffs), it takes something special for a band to leave its own devil’s mark. Next time around, perhaps? As it is, Bloody Hammers casts an enticing (rather than an entirely bewitching) spell.