In Dante’s Inferno, the second circle begins the proper punishment of Hell, a place where “no thing gleams.” It is reserved for those overcome with Lust, where carnal appetites hold sway over reason. In Nine Circles, it’s where we do shorter reviews of new (ish) albums that share a common theme.
Happy 2021! Everything is fine! I swear! At least in terms of music everything seems to be fine. Right when I was thinking there wouldn’t be anything of note to grab my ears in January (sorry, but Tribulation still fails to do anything for me, so we’ll let others on the site rave) up pops two bands that trade in the kind of music that instantly strikes a chord in my metal heart. So let’s use this edition of Second Circle to the sinister pomp of Bloody Hammers and the killer old school thrash of Miserable…
The last time I dove into the Hammer horror of Bloody Hammers they were pedaling a heavy goth-tinged doom rock that recalled bands like Type O Negative and more recent bands like Lucifer. In other words, right up my alley. So I initially wasn’t prepared for the overt Misfits worship that permeates every molecule of Songs of Unspeakable Terror…but man does it ever work for me. Anders Manga has tightened everything up, crafting every riff and chorus with enough hooks to instantly lodge in your brain. It helps that the production is razor sharp and full, everything clear without sacrificing that sweet low-end thickness.
It’s hard to point to a standout track when everything is so consistent (again, we’re in deep Misfits territory) so take your pick from the charging goth-punk attack of opener “A Night to Dismember” to the closing, uh…charging, goth-punk attack of “I Spit on Your Corpse” and you won’t be disappointed. With the exception of “Lucifer’s Light” which takes the eerie acoustic route everything else is a banger. Is that how you use banger? I don’t know, but I’m knee-deep in my 10th listen of “We Are the Damned” which might be the most Misfits-y track on the album (ok, well maybe “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die”) so I’ll have to get back to you…
This one came out of nowhere, and is proof of the old habit of checking something out just because the album art looks cool. No promo, and (sadly) nowhere to be found on Bandcamp, this Peruvian old school technical thrash outfit IS available on Apple Music, Spotify and – as you can see below – YouTube. Thank god I still engaged in the weekly Friday ritual of scrolling through the Apple Music new metal releases, or else I would have missed out on the thrash gem that is Esclavo Miserable.
It’s hard to point to specific bands songs like the incredible “Quien Escupe la Verdad” remind me of: it’s more the vibe and feeling I had when I was discovering all these great bands like DBC and Wrathchild America in the 80s that revealed their technical prowess in riff construction and influences rather than flashy solos, which everyone and their hairsprayed brother were doing. There’s more than a hint of modern progressive metal in the way the title track and “La Profecía del Esclavo” wend their way through riff after riff and – to be fair – the solos are most excellent. This music strikes right at the heart of what drew me to metal as a kid, even if I can’t understand a word of it. I can understand the crunch of the guitars, though…and that’s all that matters.
Now if I can only get them to put this thing on Bandcamp…
Until next time, keep it heavy…keep it safe.