The Locust Years

The Locust Years

While many bands claim to be progressive metal because their song structures go a bit beyond the verse-chorus-verse formula, San Francisco stalwarts Hammers of Misfortune put the “pro” in progressive. Their third studio album, The Locust Years, is complex right out of the gate. The opening title track rolls like a 20-sided die, with hard-hitting guitar riffs that drive with the pedal to the metal through labyrinthine arrangements, sounding slightly inspired by classical music charts. Even the band's flawless male-female vocal harmonies fit the song's medieval feel like a well-forged suit of armor. A haunting piano piece introduces the following “We Are the Widows,” an exquisite composition of Celtic fantasy metal wherein bassist Jamie Myers and keyboardist Sigrid Sheie sing alluring close harmonies with the hypnotic draw of mythological sirens. This extends into the beautiful and unsettling “Famine’s Lamp,” where their intertwined vocals sing angelically about the contradictions of fighting a holy war. The song plays like medieval folk before unleashing a bombastic funeral dirge three-fifths of the way in.

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