Bloody Hammers
Spiritual Relics

This sophomore album from American southern goth rockers Bloody Hammers is something of a bold and curious departure from their last release and the band’s self-titled debut album. While the band’s previous work seemed to be based in more gothic realms, like black magic, witchcraft and vampirism, this album seems to be more about, of all things… relationships. Now I’m not one to be emo about this sort of thing and the music itself is hardly that in presentation, but I sort of just shrugged my shoulders as I listened to a disc that incorporated such a dreadfully depressing ballad such as “Science Fiction” and their odd “The Source” cover, which also seems to detail a relationship. Did we already run out of ideas, gentlemen? What about an album based on the mythologies of H.P. Lovecraft or Clive Barker?

But not all is spoiled eggs, as the band really puts their Type O Negative keyboard tendencies to use on the more rough edged style of “At The Well Of Nazareth,” that seems to vocally suggest Marilyn Manson in some areas. Of course, there’s also the dark blues of “The Transit Begins” and the rowdy guitar atmosphere of “Shiver” that seems to suggest strong potential in this Type O meets Manson vibe. And yes, that’s what it sounds like. But this isn’t the screaming Manson; it’s more the current era where the vocals were more of a loud pitch then a deliberate scream. “Night Of The Long Knives” features a strong chorus backed by down-tuned chugs and an atmosphere that would sit well on the radio, and “Flesh of The Lotus” definitely has that Type O guitar influence. It’s quite unmistakable.

While the band doesn’t do anything completely out of the ordinary, they are still able to compose great keyboard laden goth rock that’s one hit or horror film away from major recognition. These guys compose great horror soundtracks, so here’s to hoping that the next album will focus more on those ideas and topics, now that they’ve taken care of the whole “love lost” category with this one. Nevertheless, I still recommend picking up this disc along with its superior precursor, so that you can experience this new sound of goth rock for yourself – a new sound that still sounds surprisingly old, and that’s uncommonly good. (Eric May)

Purchase Spiritual Relics here: iTunes  |  Physical

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