One of the most impressive metal albums from the last decade or so. It's rare to find a band as creative and focused in execution as one like Hammers of Misfortune in any era, and this album more than proves it.
Hammers of Misfortune have a very 'progressive' slant, but it's a little tricky to explain how. They're proggy, but it's not at all in the vein of something like Dream Theater
(something that - unfortunately - needs to be said every time nowadays) - there isn't any 5+ minute solo sections for the sake of it, and these songs aren't bloated to a ridiculous degree either - indeed, one of the Hammers' best traits is their penchant for economical songwriting. Rather, the progressive elements make up a subtle yet important part of how the album comes together - primarily in terms of song structuring and how the album eventually comes together. It's a concept album that manages to avoid the biggest pitfalls that befall most concept releases - it lacks filler.
Where the album comes up best is how naturally it all comes together, and in a way that shows their own distinct character - HoF are influenced by the usual staples of heavy metal, and yet it's all put together in a way where it doesn't sound like anybody else. The closest comparison is maybe Slough
Feg - and to be fair, Mike Scalzi was one of the men that spearheaded this. And
yet, I feel this comes together better than anything i've heard from Slough
Feg. The songs are superbly written - the riffwork is very well crafted and sticks throughout, and the vocal melodies of Scalzi and the female vocalist (I can never remember her name on this one) are quite good. The album as a whole flows together beautifully... all of these tracks fit perfectly together as a singular piece. Production is good, not partcularly raw but not polished up so much that it becomes sterile.
Hammers of Misfortune showcases a progressive, yet adventurous and creative spirit that makes them standout a lot among the legions of traditional metal bands. They're progressive without being utterly obnoxious about it. These people deserve commendations as being one of the best out there.