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The Bastard by Hammers of Misfortune
Released: Mar 2001
Label: Hammers of Misfortune
A three-act metal opera with recurring characters, three distinct vocalists and a fully-conceived storyline, this years-in-the-making debut from San Francisco's premier fantasy metal unknowns is something of an oddity. But, recorded on an 8-track in a rehearsal space (doesn't sound like it) and unspeakably imaginative (think Maiden played by druids, with absolutely glorious vocals), The Bastard is downright incredible. Listen to it through several times (you won't get bored). This is some form of metal that existed before time but somehow Hammers came up with all on their own.
Mike McGuirk