Hammers of Misfortune – Dead Revolution Review

Band: Hammers of Misfortune
Album: Dead Revolution
Label: Metal Blade Records
Genre: Classic Hard Rock/Progressive Heavy Metal
Country: San Fransisco, CA
Release Date: July 22nd, 2016


Combine the music of Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, and Rainbow, and you have the unique metal sound of Hammers of Misfortune. Their most recent album, Dead Revolution, was released on July 22nd, 2016 and it really brings back the days of classic heavy riffs and solos while keeping the new metal sound thriving within each song. Every song on the album clocks in somewhere over five minutes, making the 7-song album about 45 minutes overall. And that’s not a bad thing mainly because Hammers of Misfortune knows how to keep you wanting more: each song is tailored to be infectious so it HAS to be listened to over and over and over again.

The album opens with “The Velvet Inquisition” which starts with cymbals crashing and a straightforward metal guitar riff. The change from mediocre to something more ear-catching happens when the sound of keyboards drops in and Joe Hutton’s vocals begin somewhat crooning the listener. Compared to other metal bands nowadays, Hutton’s softer approach to opening a track just sounds and works better than immediately hammering lyrics into the microphone (think more along the lines of Dio’s “Holy Diver” than Lemmy’s “Ace of Spades”). The song is a great beginning to the album and definitely sets the pace for the rest of the CD. As the song progresses, we get a taste of what is yet to come, i.e. soft, magical breaks, and duel guitar work that matches that of Tesla. It ends by returning to the original riff and melding smoothly into the next track. (8/10)

Song number 2 is the title track of the album, “Dead Revolution”. The song kind of adds to the feeling of the first track, tearing into another heavy, gritty guitar riff but this time with more prominent overlaying keyboards. “Dead Revolution” has a great sound throughout, especially when entering drum-heavy bridges and the somewhat dismal, or dystopian sounding ending. It relies on being well put-together and the band finds semblance in havoc, to put it bluntly. Though not my favorite on the album, it is a fine follow-up to “The Velvet Inquisition”. (7.5/10)

“Sea of Heroes” has a straightforward heavy, gritty metal opening, reminiscent of Metallica. The riff is catchy and the drums are tight. The song is the slowest so far, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The vocal arrangement is a bit of a change-up compared to the songs prior. They come in after about a minute of instrumental build-up and sound very ethereal which gives the song kind of a nice, heavenly touch. That, along with a couple of mediocre solos, makes the song stand on its own legs but apart from that, the track doesn’t stray far from okay. (6.5/10)

Now this may sound harsh, but the only salvageable thing about track 4 (“The Precipice (Waiting for the Crash…)”) is Will Carroll’s drumming and the break in the song from the late 3-minute mark to the early 5-minute mark. It’s not that the song is bad, it’s just that it lacks what some of the other songs on the album have to offer. Though the album has ideas it reuses in songs throughout it, it seems “The Precipice” just borrows too much from “Dead Revolution” and recycles the song. The drumming is wonderful and keeps the song alive, but everything else about it makes the music seem paler in comparison to the songs before and after. (6/10)

Thankfully, there’s nothing but good now. “Here Comes the Sky” is anything but a Beatles rip-off. It is a slow-burning tune with slick guitar work and angelic harmonies. The drums and cymbals throughout the song keep the perfect pace and keep the whole song feeling as one as it’s supposed to. We are introduced to a more prominent bass as well as good mix of piano/keys. This song is just plain good and there’s nothing to really dislike about the whole thing. (8/10)

Okay. Now for the moment I’ve been waiting for throughout this entire review. “Flying Alone”, easily my favorite song on the album, is the standout track for Dead Revolution. It’s probably the song I went back and listened to the most out of the album’s 7. The guitar and drum-heavy opening reminds me of something off of Judas Priest’s British Steel. Constant guitar solo breaks and thunderous drum fills emit an Iron Maiden scent as the CD spins. The best and most obvious homage to their heavy metal ancestors comes around the three-minute mark, when John Cabbett taps into his inner Blackmore and recreates a small bit of the ripping solo off Rainbow’s A Light in the Black (that could also be why this is my favorite song here). But aside from the excellent guitar playing, the lyrics and tune of the song overall are catchy and will get stuck in your head after listening. (9.5/10)

Finally, “Days of ‘49”. The slow-burning, Gaelic-influenced jam sounds like someone toned down a Dropkick Murphy’s song and let it run in slow motion. This nearly 8-minute anthem is beautiful to experience and has the same energy as “Over and Over” from Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules, as the album comes to a close. Hammers of Misfortune does a wonderful job in this song as well, picking the perfect times to die down and build back into the righteous ballad. A real grounded and serious ending to the album, but fits like a glove with the rest of the tracks. (9/10)

I took a while to write this review. Partially because of time restraints but also because I had to pick the right words to describe this solid metal masterpiece. I highly recommend purchasing the album or at least give it a couple listens on Spotify. It’s worth it. If you like the original gritty and dirty metal sound (as it’s obvious I do), make sure to get Hammers of Misfortune in your earholes because these guys are different rockers… and in the era we live in today, that’s a good thing.

Rating: 8.5/10

1. The Velvet Inquisition
2. Dead Revolution
3. Sea of Heroes
4. The Precipice (Waiting for the Crash…)
5. Here Comes the Sky
6. Flying Alone
7.Days of ’49

Total Playing Time: 46:45

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