The creative spirit must run pretty deep in Bloody Hammers mastermind Anders Manga. The latest release from this North Carolina-based outfit is Under Satan’s Sun and it just happens to be their third release in three years. Releasing material at such a clip doesn’t necessarily leave much time for a change of style. As such this follow up to 2012’s self-titled debut and last year’s Spiritual Relics follows a similar formula to that which was laid out on those albums.
The “formula” if you will is a concoction of occultish goth rock with shades of doom and stoner/hard rock. There’s a vague Type O Negative essence that hovers over Bloody Hammers but where Type O were bleak and depressing, Bloody Hammers lighten things up with a lyrical approach more in the horror vein. And there’s no mistaking Manga for Peter Steele. Manga’s clean vocals have a more hard rock feel that makes singing along to the ultra-catchy choruses seem like the most natural thing in the world.
For the most part the songs move along at what could be described as an ambling pace. That easy cadence can get pretty hypnotic at times. It also makes it feel as though the listener is walking through a misty darkness, letting the stories play themselves out before them. An enchanting and ethereal fog weaves its way into the tone and groove. There are exceptions however. “Dead Man’s Shadow on the Wall” speeds things up quite a bit comparatively speaking and, in general, the choruses are fierier.
Under Satan’s Sun subscribes to more or less traditional song structures: verse, chorus, bridgerlude-type things. It makes the whole thing accessible and catchy as a flytrap. The ten tracks are a veritable circus parade of infectious riffs oozing from fuzzy, overdriven guitars and eerily accented organs. Those organs, though, could be used more effectively. More of them, and higher in the mix, would really up the creepiness factor.
Under Satan’s Sun is super groovy and actually kind of danceable. Manga’s pseudo-sensual crooning is easy on the ears and it’s backed up by equally embraceable tunes. It’s the sort of thing you wouldn’t be surprised to hear in a grindhouse joint Tarantino/Zombie production. Other than the missed opportunity with the organs, the only real complaint would be that there isn’t a terrible amount of diversity from song to song. It does get a bit edgier on the latter half though.
Thankfully, the ghoulish, spaghetti-Transylvanian thing works for me.
Keep up with all of Matt’s exploits on Twitter @KingdomofNoise.