Always Looking Down
Editors’ Notes San Francisco's premier power-metal unit, Hammers of Misfortune delivered this fourth album in 2008. The band's first offering since a major lineup change (specifically the departure of original guitarist and founding member Mike Scalzi) Fields is one half of two separate concept records released simultaneously, the titular Fields and Church of Broken Glass. Moving even deeper into prog-metal territory here, the album opens with a keyboard-driven piece; throughout, the galloping Maiden-inspired twin guitar attack Hammers made their name with is reined in and, to powerful effect, unleashed with extreme prejudice. Hallmarks of the group's sound, however — namely male and female vocal parts, a strong classic-rock feel, and consistently stunning guitar work remain. The ghosts of both ZZ Top and Deep Purple emerge during "Rats Assembly" and guitarist John Cobbett proves he can stand his ground minus Scalzi's presence on next song, "Always Looking Down" and closer "Too Soon."