The San Francisco band was formed in 1996 as Unholy Cadaver as an ambient project, but quickly changed its name. Earlier, band leader Cobbett had been in one of the earlier Gwar incarnations even penning tunes for their debut. His other band Ludicra featured Russ of Impaled. The official first release came in 2001 and was named The Bastard. It showcased a conceptual band with an original sound. The bastard plotted the story of a goddess, forest and a prophecy. In the meanwhile, Janice Tanaka would draw away from the band by touring with the likes of L7 and Pink! She would be replaced in early 2003 after the band decided it could not wait for her any longer.
The band recorded a new album in 2003 and recruited Myers and Sheie. The band would sign to Italy's Cruz Del Sur Music in the middle of the year and have its album released in November. The Italian label would issue the band’s The Locust Years album in the summer of 2006. The band announced a new line-up in the autumn of 2006. Original drummer Chewy returned to the fold. Furthermore, Patrick Goodwin (of Dirty Power) was playing guitar and assuming duties as the male lead vocalist. Jesse Quattro (Secret Chiefs 3 And Carniceria) was the new female vocalist. The band simultaneously issued two new albums, Fields and Church Of Broken Glass, through Profound Lore Records in the autumn of 2008.
Metal Blade Records signed Hammers Of Misfortune in March of 2010. Metal Blade Records would release four of the band's previous releases in late summer of 2010 with a new studio album expected in 2011. Hammers Of Misfortune issued 17th Street on Metal Blade in October of 2011. In 2013, Paul Walker joined on bass. In 2014, Death Angel’s Will Carroll joined on drums.
HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE - THE BASTARD - TUMULT
Hammers Of Misfortune is certainly the surprise of this issue. Hard to believe this band is comprised of members of lesser acts such as Gwar and L7. HoM is truly a one-of-a-kind band whose patterns, melodies and intertwining vocals bear no resemblance to others, but rather provide the listener with something well worth investigating. The Bastard is adorned with an appropriate packaging resembling wood carving. The pictures and colours complement what is an intriguing concept story in three acts which, for once, pays to read and follow. Musically, the four mix a bedeviling brew of magic, fable, ax and quest into instrumental terms with as many hills and valleys as the lyrics demand. It's impossible to get weary in this original journey of epicism if only one were to invest the time to absorb The Bastard as a package.
HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE - THE AUGUST ENGINE - CRUZ DEL SUR
Hammers Of Misfortune's new album is a remarkable release. The San Francisco-based act reeks of the 70's and yet is quite adept at today's riffing. The songs are both ear-pleasing and deceptively technical simultaneously. In fact, the band can come across as both Bohemian and dramatic, but is ultimately in possession of so many effective riffs that it never gets quite tedious. As concept tracks like The August Engine Part 1, A Room And A Riddle and Doomed Parade show - or is that exhibit? - Hammers... has a little Thin Lizzy here, a little Manilla Road there, a pinch of the more progressive moments of Iron Maiden on one song and even a dash of Mamas And The Poppas can be heard on another song. Nevertheless, the band overdoes the female vocals (probably to tell the story), and the male vocalists are not the world's greatest either. That being said, this act is surely something worthy of investigation for the more adventurous hard rocker out there. - Ali "The Metallian"
HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE - THE LOCUST YEARS - CRUZ DEL SUR
Reviewing Hammers Of Misfortune is not an easy task not the least of which because the band’s promo shot seems to depict a glam boy/girl band with a couple of hunky guys with long manes, but the music is hardly the stuff of sleaze metal dreams. Hammers Of Misfortune is better described as an art rock band. It is clear that the progressive and heavy rock bands of the '70s influence the group. The male and female vocals play a theatrical role, the narrative and graphic stories play bard and the offbeat scales prove a certain command of instrumentation that is quite uncommon nowadays. This is not the sort of band one would expect from a member of Gwar! Apparently guitarist John Cobbett only pretends he cannot play in Gwar.
The label calls The Locust Years an “opera” and the song titles and lyrics indicate a common theme or a story. References to folk stories and fables pop up on every song, yet one cannot tell what the exact story is. The songs though are enjoyable on their own if not completely consistent. From a high to a low and from a heavy rocking riff to a beautiful melody the album has it all. The album hints at a certain medieval feeling. It is not metal, but it is creative, entertaining and wonderfully anachronistic. - Sheila Wes Det