Hammers Of Misfortune, the metal collective formed by guitarist and songwriter John Cobbett more than two decades ago, announces December 2nd as the international release for Overtaker, their first album in nearly six years. Set initially for a self-release on CD format, Overtaker boasts a change in direction to a style Cobbett calls “psychedelic thrash.”
The album features a revamped Hammers lineup that includes the return of Jamie Myers (vocalist and bassist in The Locust Years lineup) and the former rhythm section of Vektor, Blake Anderson and Frank Chin. Cobbett started work on Overtaker as early as 2018. Initially, Overtaker wasn’t supposed to be a Hammers album but a thrash side-project and was influenced by Cobbett and partner Sigrid Sheie’s work on Vhöl’s Deeper Than Sky (2015).
“When my family moved to Montana in 2016, my inclination was to continue expanding on this sound,” Cobbett said. “Initially, there was no intention of putting it out as Hammers or Vhöl. Everyone was so busy, and we were suddenly far away from our usual co-conspirators. But that changed as the album developed and old friends returned to the fold. Overtaker is fast, furious, psychedelic, and progressive. But it’s different from other progressive metal in true Hammers fashion.”
Like all the Hammers material that preceded it, Overtaker defies genres and labels. The sound is a combination of ’70s prog and furious ’80s thrash. The result is something that’s never been done before – a mix of King Crimson’s In The Court Of The Crimson King and Slayer’s Reign In Blood. Overtaker was put together during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and survived Anderson’s serious wrist injury in a scooter accident, which led to a year-plus recovery.
Overtaker was recorded both in home studios and Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studios in Chicago with Sanford Parker engineering. Drums, piano, and timpani were tracked during a four-day session at Electrical Audio in 2021; the remaining material was recorded via home studios, including vocals and Sigrid Sheie’s mighty Hammond B3 organ.
Overtaker will be self-released. Cobbett initially approached labels, but with the pandemic further destabilizing the traditional release model, decided to do everything in-house. This change accompanies Hammers’ transition from a Bay Area band to a musical collective that collaborates from afar – a model Cobbett says will create all Hammers material in the future.
“When Jamie joined, it opened the possibility that this could be a Hammers album,” Cobbett says. “Whatever I do with metal going forward, it should be Hammers. I realized I didn’t need to form yet another band.” [preceding text by Justin Norton, Decibel magazine]
In the meantime, hear the brand-new track “Don’t Follow the Lights” HERE at Hammers of Misfortune‘s Bandcamp, where the album can also be preordered. Cover artwork, courtesy of Saprophial, and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Hammers of Misfortune’s Overtaker
2. Dark Brennius
3. Vipers Cross
4. Don’t Follow the Lights
5. Ghost Hearts
6. Outside Our Minds
7. The Raven’s Bell
10. Aggressive Perfection
Hammers of Misfortune Overtaker lineup
John Cobbett: guitar, bass, Mellotron
Jamie Myers (ex-Sabbath Assembly, returning to Hammers) lead vocals
Mike Scalzi (Slough Feg, returning to Hammers) contributing vocals
Blake Anderson (ex-Vektor): drums, tympani, piano
Sigrid Sheie: Hammond B3, contributing vocals
Frank Chin (ex-Vektor, Crypt Sermon, Daeva): contributing bass
Steve Blanco (Imperial Triumphant): synth solo
Tom Draper (Carcass, Spirit Adrift): guest guitar solo