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Hammers of Misfortune, 'Overthrower'

John Cobbett's riffs speed through the spaceways like a 1968 Fairlane Torino GT rocketship illustrated by Moebius. His catalog spans four decades of forward-thinking metal bands — Unholy Cadaver, Slough Feg, Ludicra and Vhol, to name a few — that have challenged and warped the scene, but with an idiosyncratic guitar style that seems to smile as fingers flash over frets.

For more than 20 years, Hammers of Misfortune has been Cobbett's most reliable outlet; it's maintained an inconsistent roster, but Overtaker, out today, is somewhat of a homecoming. Early member Jamie Myers returns to the mic as the band, an ever-shifting orb of metallic influence, picks up where the smashed-and-reconfigured thrash of the broken-up Vhol left off. "Overthrower," featuring a dueling guest vocal from Slough Feg's Mike Scalzi — yet another former Hammers of Misfortune member — takes King Crimson to the pit. There's hyperactive fury here, of course, but also a brainy blur of blink-and-you-missed-it harmonies and counterpoints that play off every instrument, including an operatic tête-à-tête between Myers and Scalzi, who alternate punk spit and anthemic wails. It's the most fun you'll ever have gunning for the sun in a sick ride.

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