photos by Caroline Harrison, words by Doug Moore
Hammers of Misfortune at Saint Vitus - 7/23/12
San Francisco's prog-metal powerhouse Hammers of Misfortune brought their tour to NYC for a show at Saint Vitus on Monday night (7/23). Indianapolis doomsters (and Hammers tour buddies) The Gates of Slumber provided direct support, while BK's Occultation opened the show.
Fittingly, Occultation play "occult rock"--the same curiously fashionable style observed by Ghost, Jex Thoth, The Devil's Blood, and so forth. In practice, "occult" means creepy-crawly, slightly proggy 70s rock that never delves too far into darkness. Guitarist Ed Miller, also of the black metal band Negative Plane, stole the show from Occultation's wooden frontwoman with his 'verbed-out lead playing.
The Gates of Slumber rarely cease touring. Road dogs make few mistakes, and TGoS typically execute their traditionalist doom metal impeccably. But even salty vets run into occasional problems, and The Gates' set was marred by minor difficulties--frontman Karl Simon suffered from a sore throat and a strangely muddy rhythm guitar sound. But their energy won out in the end; Simon slung gloriously loose solos with abandon, and drummer Bob Fouts held down the lumbering rhythms as only a big dude can.
Though I'm a big Hammers of Misfortune fan, I approached their set with some caution. Three vocalists, two guitars, a Hammond organ and a rhythm section can be a messy combination, especially given HoM's Byzantine compositions. But the sound at Vitus was pristine, and the band delivered a borderline-flawless performance that touched on each of their five albums. Relatively-new vocalist Joe Hutton deserves special props; he executed both his and his predecessors' material with aplomb.
Hammers of Misfortune and The Gates of Slumber will wrap up their brief tour shortly, so if you missed them at Saint Vitus, check them out on their remaining dates or live vicariously through the pictures, more of which are below.
The Gates of Slumber
Hammers of Misfortune