Bloody Hammers – Album Review

Bloody Hammers – Songs of Unspeakable Terror

Napalm Records

Release date: 15/01/2021

Running time: 32 mins approx

Review by: Alun Jones

8.5/10

Outside, the nights are starting to get lighter and Spring is on its merry way.  The birds chirp merrily and warmth is returning to the land.  Which is completely inappropriate for a review of the new album by Bloody Hammers, “Songs of Unspeakable Terror”.  It should be Halloween instead: gloomy and dark with the bizarre and uncanny just outside your door.

Anders Manga (vocals, guitars, bass) and Devallia (keyboards/organ) are the Morticia and Gomez husband and wife team behind Bloody Hammers, a metal/rock/goth creation based in Transylvania County, North Carolina.  How’s that for an address?  Bet Glenn Danzig’s crying into his Count Chocula cereal. 

On this opus, Lily and Herman have left behind their previous established sound of Alice Cooper-style hard rock, crunchy metal and Sisters of Mercy atmos.  Entombed alive due to the pandemic, Bloody Hammers have exhumed the bloody corpse of horror punk, in a temporary tribute to the genre.

And it’s huge fun!  Fast and furious tracks like “Night to Dismember” and “Waking the Dead” rocket from the crypt like the hounds of hell are on their tail.  Huge “whoah-oh” Misfits choruses are of course present and correct.  Rousing and energetic, these songs are obvious but loving celebrations of influences that have only been hinted at on previous albums. 

There’s macabre melody on “We Are the Damned”, with a choir vocal effect to help power the camp horror feel.  “Hands of the Ripper” and “Not of This Earth” are slower, more metal sounding with a grinding riff.

Little of the occasional Andrew Eldritch explorations exist on “Songs of Unspeakable Terror”, though “Lucifers Light” unites guitar and keys into a moody Danzig like ballad.  A little more of this approach would still have fitted perfectly however.  I don’t know if Devallia can sing, but if she can this was a missed opportunity.   

The listener never feels too far removed from the original Bloody Hammers style, however.  Likewise this isn’t a simple, derivative rip-off of “Walk Among Us”, even though “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die” is a nice radioactive “Hatebreeders” mutation.  But whereas the Misfits took their inspiration from monochrome B-movies, Bloody Hammers have changed gears to a Kensington gore-drenched 60’s Technicolor horror fest. 

“Songs of Unspeakable Terror” is an album of pure enjoyment, which is just what we need right now.  With song titles taken directly from classic Hammer/Amicus movies, a warm rediscovery of horror punk style and some familiar Bloody Hammers rock, you can’t go wrong.  Go dig out your Halloween fancy dress, find your “Plan 9 From Outer Space” VHS cassette and get ready for a ghouls night in!   

Check out Bloody Hammers on Bandcamp, Facebook and Instagram.

This review was brought to you by Platinum Al and Ever Metal.

The Return of Hallowe’en Horror Fest

Another October, another Hallowe’en Horror Fest!  As per last year, the Virtual Hot Tub will become a horror themed heaven – or hell – right on through to Hallowe’en.

Here’s this years first horror film mini review…

Pet Sematary (1989)

A family move to a new house, by a busy road, which is also near to the Pet Sematary of the title.  It is here that the local kids bury their beloved, sadly departed pets.  Cursed ground nearby, however, can revive the dead; though the dead come back not as they once were…  Inevitably the busy road takes it’s toll, and the struggle with grief leads to unnatural choices. Pet_sematary_poster

I had seen this adaptation of the Stephen King novel many years ago.  First time around I wasn’t massively impressed, but the film did entertain.  Watching Pet Sematary again after two decades, I was far more enthralled.  I now found some of the tale quite uncomfortable, as a parent.  Though that’s where King excels, taking our everyday fears and exploiting them, creating something quite unnerving.  This movie version manages to retain that dread and convey it well to the audience.

Pet Sematary is slightly dated, and the course of events slightly obvious, but there’s enough chilling imagery to make this film worth watching.

Plus this film picks up bonus points for two things:

  1. It features the late, great Fred Gwynne in a non-Herman Munster role
  2. It also features two Ramones songs (“Sheena is a Punk Rocker” and the title track) in a rare, early example of that fine band invading popular culture.  King is, of course, a big fan.

8/10

The Munsters

It’s that old question: what’s the best – The Munsters or The Addams Family?  I love both programmes and have watched them since as far back as I can remember.  My favourite, though, is The Munsters.  I guess because they’re a family of actual monsters, whereas the Addams family are just, well… weird.  No disrespect to the Addams family, that’s a great show too, but the residents of 1313 Mockingbird Lane are my personal choice. 2991642-munsters

Herman (Fred Gwynne)  is the father, a Frankenstein’s monster whose bumbling antics create a great deal of the plot in their misadventures.  Yvonne De Carlo plays his wife, Lily – a vampire keeping the family on track.  Her father, Grandpa (Al Lewis) is Count Dracula, with a nice sideline in magic and mad science, in his laboratory basement.  Young Eddie (Butch Patrick) is the son, who’s also a werewolf.  Cousin Marilyn (Pat Priest) is the black sheep of the family, as she’s the only one that looks normal.  All of them are bemused why the world is so surprised at their appearance.

The Munsters is a classic TV show.  Though some of the gags and plots are a little dated now, this series oozes charm.  It reminds me of my Halloween celebrations many years ago, also evoking an innocent American age of the early 60’s (whether that’s real or imaginary).  No, it’s not scary, but it is enormous family fun.

And yes, I always had a crush on Yvonne De Carlo as Lily Munster…