HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE - If Wishes Were Glass Horses
by Martin Popoff

"People are like, what kind of metal are you? I'm like, we're not! It doesn't matter to me. I'm just writing... I grew up playing hardcore and metal. I've played a little bit a jazz, I've played a little bit of blues, a little bit of this, a little bit of pop, all kinds of stuff. And Hammers is just the band that... thinking as a fan, I'm like, what would be the coolest band ever? Well, it doesn't exist. So I went ahead and made it. You know what I mean? And that's what Hammers is. It's whatever I think would be the neatest band that I would be a huge fan of - that's what I was doing. So as far as whether it's metal or not, that doesn't even come into the question for me. The fact that I'm a heavy player, by nature, and that I'm best at playing heavy guitar, and I really enjoy layering heavy guitar, that's why it's wound up being looked at as metal by people, as well as various evil entities who have to try market us."

So speaketh John, and that's pretty much the coolest reason to make music, or art, ain't it? And when you're as damned and damnably capable at sculpting sound as genius John Cobbett (I hate that word, but John gets it, unlike a soccer player or sumthin'), the end result is far beyond exquisite. Hammers Of Misfortune are quite simply one at the pinnacle of greatness, like King's X, like Blue Oyster Cult, like Opeth, like King Crimson, like Led Zeppelin. Quite effusively, I consider this San Francisco consortium's latest album, The Locust Years a 10 fer 10, just as I did its predecessor, The August Engine. Among 489 other things, it's timeless. Er, right John?

"Yeah. I think so. I think the lyrics and the music should be timeless. I think so, yeah. I would say that's one of the few things I'm worried about when I'm making a record, that I don't want it to sound like... I mean, I started to avoid listening to most new stuff that comes out, because I just don't want to be influenced by that. I don't want to know what f**king Children Of Bodom is doing right now. I don't want to have that in my brain. I was listening to an ass-load of old Roxy Music and Brian Eno and a certain period of Bowie, like between Diamond Dogs and Heroes, that era of Bowie. And a shitload of Deep Purple, an album by Genesis called Nursery Crime, and a whole bunch of other dirty-ass rare shit like Comus."

And man, I guess that's all here on The Locust Years, but also something we never really talked about in our wide-ranging discussion - a certain scurrying, panicked New Wave Of British Heavy Metal vibe, to go along with the operatics, the proggy grandness, the medievals, the... keyboards, one hard-top nut to crack on this vaulted cathedral of sound, to be sure.

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