Hammers of Misfortune
The Bastard (Reissue)

San Francisco’s progressive metal band Hammers of Misfortune released their debut album The Bastard in 2001.  They would go on to release 5 more incredible albums, their last one the phenomenal Dead Revolution in 2016.  HOM is an eclectic band with influences ranging from Manilla Road, Fates Warning, Iron Maiden, Solstice (UK).  But they have so many weird and emotive arrangements. This debut has been remastered now and get ready for progressive/power metal with keyboards and a variety of vocalists, one, a lady who has outstanding ranges. 14 songs, all short, except for two.

“The Dragon is Summoned” starts with a power metally speed, nice double bass and powerful female vocals. At a little over 2 minutes, the song is epic. The speed, melodies. Incredible. “The Bastard Sapling” starts with great vocals. I’m not sure what dude is singing, but I’d imagine it’s the original member John Cobbett who also plays guitar. He begins the song with emotive vocals over acoustic guitars. Very catchy tones in his vocals. Then the metal comes in with great vocal harmonies. I’m still unsure how this band does epic songs in like 2 and a half minutes but they manage and pull it off with ease. Double bass comes thundering in and then the song slows down some more with a terrific lead guitar riff. Then female vocals, accompanying the acoustic moments, erupt without a break on the next track “On Wings of Vengeance”. Power metal speeds and then John starts to sing. His vocals do sound like vintage Mark Shelton (RIP) from Manilla Road. They’re weird, and original, and they just plain fucking rule.  This song gets into some speed metal moments as well.

The song seamlessly goes into “The Hunting Tyrant”. It’s a great song with John’s eclectic vocals and then I believe the other guitarist Mike comes in and he has raspy vox. A little black metally if you will. They took me by surprise.  “An Oath Sworn in Hell” breaks up all the 2-minute songs as this is close to 7 minutes and the dueling male and female vocal harmonies are emotive, catchy and I cannot get enough of this song. Excellent dual vocals over the speedy double bass moments. Metal is then mixed with acoustic guitars as the song settles down to an atmospheric show gazey part. Sounds like a flute in the background and this song is perfect. Epic, metal, heavy, progressive, atmospheric, and highly original.  Beast of a song.

“Sacrifice / The End” finishes the album at close to 9 minutes. Excellent thumping bass and rhythm section to open the song with the haunting female vocals then a speed metal moment. Nice and fast.  The song abruptly, and I mean abruptly, shifts gears slowing down in the process. Then female vocals, raspy vocals return and some killer guitar riffs. The 3.25 speed part rules. Throw up dem horns. The song gets into a vicious mid-paced moment with double bass and John’s vocals sounding killer and then a ripping speed part comes in that almost is blast beat speed, I kid you not! Excellent guitars continuing with phase shifter effects which transport you to the Crab Nebula fairly quickly.

The Bastard has a great remastered sound. Powerful and crisp.  Perfect sound. I’d never heard of this band before and after getting this reissue I proceeded to get the back catalog of all of Hammers of Misfortune. Each album is unique and terrific. This band is a rare gem due to their originality and unique variety of vocals and excellent song arrangements. This debut sounds like a seasoned band, not a band that was new at the time. Metal Archives lists the band as active but they’ve not posted on FB since 2018. I recently reached out to them because this is a terrific band. Regardless; a fantastic reissue, killer debut, and get all their releases.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
February 1st, 2022


  1. Commented by: Iwein

    Brilliant band. When i saw this album would be reissued, i immediately ordered it. Already got all the other ones. And, indeed, they’re all good.

  2. Commented by: J. Mays

    I’ve been into this band for several years. It is quite remarkable how they make epic sounding songs in just a few minutes. 17th Street is probably my favorite of theirs, but I just realized there are two albums I don’t own. They’re one of the most unique bands in metal.

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