Hammers of Misfortune The August Engine

San Francisco’s Hammers of Misfortune are somewhat of an anomaly. Their sophomore album, The August Engine is a strange interweaving of prog, classic thrash, hints of doom and Simon & Garfunkle-esque folk (hippy prog metal, perhaps?). The opening track is a highly repetitive exercise in finger-picking, alternating between progressive heaviness and acoustic folk in a way that is as magnetic as it is annoying. That leads into a quiet break with female vocal harmonies and a little piano hook that continually ends on an out of tune note. The solo male voice is vaguely reminiscent of Eternity-era Anathema and works hauntingly well with the dual female assault. Loud and soft move in waves throughout The August Engine in one continuous flow. Sometimes Hammers of Misfortune make your hair stand on end because of their music’s spooky magic and at other times just because it’s penetratingly irritating. Either way, they dig in their hooks and burrow right under the skin. (Cruz Del Sur)