Photo courtesy of the artist
It’s interesting to watch the term "goth" swing back into popularity. Just as "metal" was traded for "hard rock" during the grunge years, so "goth" lost its luster by the end of the 90s, when it became synonymous with sad overweight teenagers rocking gargoyle incense burners rather than, say, Peter Murphy’s smoldering gaze. But lately death-obsessed modern hipsters have reclaimed the term as a badge of their everyday misanthropy and love of black sun hats.
In that respect, North Carolina’s Bloody Hammers have hit the crucifixion nail on the head with their fourth full-length album, Lovely Sort of Death. Mixing metal’s momentum and attitude with healthy doses of spookhouse atmospherics and black magic psychedelia, band svengali Anders Manga has crafted a record that goes straight for goth’s dark heart. Never do the songs on Lovely Sort of Death sound too flowery, nor do they veer too far into apocalyptic industrialism; instead, they drive home the aggression and morbidity that defined the genre’s purest incarnations.
This firm middle-ground stance will alienate a fan or two to be sure. Bloody Hammers might be a little baroque for the most patch-covered hesher and a little chuggy for your average Lydia Deetz. But for those listeners who like their music dark, driven, and Halloweenishly theatrical—looking at you, Ghost fans—Lovely Sort of Death is the perfect record for smoking Nat Shermans lit off of candles.
Listen to Lovely Sort of Death below. The album drops on August 5 via Napalm Records.