Formed in 2012, the gothic doom band Bloody Hammers are surprisingly not from Europe, as many bands that adhere to a similar style are these days. However, they still have managed to hail from Transylvania County, North Carolina, which is in fact a real place. The band is the brainchild of Anders Manga, best known for his solo darkwave/gothic dance music. As Bloody Hammers, himself and keyboardist Devallia are the only permanent members. On August 5th 2016, Bloody Hammers is releasing their latest full length album entitled A Lovely Sort of Death on Napalm Records.
Manga has declared that “This album is certainly the darkest album I’ve ever recorded.” It certainly has a dark doom-like quality, but also clearly shows Manga’s gothic darkwave influences with a splash of rock n’ roll. The opening track Bloodletting on the Kiss starts is a slow, evil dirge with a steady, pounding drum beat. Then the keyboards come in with a decidedly synth pop quality to them. Manga’s voice is layered over both of these perfectly with a very Andrew Eldritch from Sisters of Mercy vibe to it. In very doom fashion, the inevitable buildup the song is lurching towards doesn’t come until well over two minutes in, when the guitar finally comes in, the drums and keyboards erupt, and the vocal hook grabs you. Also one of the singles released for this album, the video for Bloodletting on the Kiss features plenty of black and white footage of people looking conspicuously deep and gothic; a perfect fit for the music. The other song that earned an accompanying video is The Reaper Comes. The song starts off equally as slow and dirge-like as Bloodletting on the Kiss, but features a strummed guitar riff that really grabs the listener. This video is also and black and white and shows alternating shots of the band playing and the grim reaper wandering around in the woods.
The lyrical themes on the album focus on, of course, things like death and despair, but it has an intellectual quality to it rather than feeling cliche. For example, the song Messallina discusses a historical account of death and despair. Messallina was the third wife of the Roman Emperor Claudius, who was a woman rumored to be very promiscuous and who was executed when it was discovered she had plotted to killer her husband. The song has lyrics like, “An Execution Is Looming / The Empire Lives and Breathes Control / Your Scandals Stand Disappointing.” This song is also decidedly more “upbeat,” if you can call anything by Bloody Hammers upbeat, with a faster tempo and a steady, groovy bassline. The final song Catastrophe also has a very infectious bassline that chugs forward under Manga’s smooth voice. This song has more of a rock n’ roll feel than some of the other songs and shows the bands diversity. Overall, fans of My Dying Bride, Type O Negative, and Danzig will absolutely love this album, so go check out A Lovely Sort of Death.