HAMMERFALL


"Steel Meets Steel - Ten Years of Glory" (Nuclear Blast; 2007)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

"Steel Meets Steel" is a two-disc chronicle of Swedish metal merchants Hammerfall's career thus far and, even though it contains some surprises in the form of a  few new cuts and a couple of unearthed tracks, the bulk of the material is taken from the act's previous endeavors.

This release showcases the two sides of Hammerfall quite well however, as both the majestic power metal beast and the softer, more orchestral balladeering sensibility is properly exhibited here. 

If you're a fan, you probably have all of these already, but the excellent packaging complete with liner notes and solid stage photos of the group raring back and letting loose renders a nice touch and makes the purchase worth the price. 

For more information, please visit http://www.hammerfall.net.  


"Threshold" (Nuclear Blast; 2006)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Raise your sword and shield to the mighty Swedish troupe Hammerfall, whose latest 11-track endeavor, "Threshold," once again revisits the land where power metal reigns supreme. 

On this, the quintet's sixth release, there's no shortage of humungous guitars, tales of epic battles, and melodic metallic vocals that display both clarity and power, even if the material, like "Howlin' with the 'Pac" and "Rebel Inside," are somewhat cringe-worthy, slightly cheesy, and lack that edgy bite. 

Fret not, metal warriors, tracks like "Natural High" and "Reign of the Hammer" redeem the band in spades, reeling you back into the days where denim jackets and mullets were all the rage in fine form. Horns up for this one, children of the beast.

For more information, please visit http://www.hammerfall.net.  


"Renegade" (Nuclear Blast; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

HammerFall are purveyors of "true metal" and "Renegade" is more proof that this genre - while littered with too many mediocre bands - is far from dead.

Like many other bands in this genre, the songs of HammerFall are mostly about great battles and fantasy characters. This CD's cover tells you all you need to know about the lyrical content therein. Depicted on the cover is an armored rider riding an equally armored horse, a heavy war hammer raised high in the rider's hands, a sea serpent raising up from the moat of a nearby castle which is slowly burning to the ground. It's "Excalibur" and "Highlander" all wrapped together.

"Renegade" is full of heavy chords and screaming riffs, pounding drums and throbbing bass. It's epic metal at its best, with vocals that soar along with the music, each enhancing the other. Interestingly, the music reminds one of a somewhat less complex Iron Maiden. And that's a good thing.

There isn't a song herein that isn't as strong as the last, with the possible exception of "Always Will Be," the token ballad. "Always Will Be" still rocks (as much as a ballad can rock) but it does tend to soften the overall sheer muscle of "Renegade."

"Renegade" was produced, recorded, engineered and mixed by the legendary Michael Wagener of Double Trouble Productions. Wagener produced many of the biggest metal acts of the 80s and 90s, including W.A.S.P. and Dokken. His expertise certainly works for HammerFall here as well.

Fans of power and/or true metal no doubt are already aware of HammerFall. Others who are fans of bands like Gamma Ray, Magnitude 9 and Manowar will find something here to like as well.

For more information, please visit http://www.hammerfall.net.  


"Legacy of Kings" (Nuclear Blast; 1998)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

If you haven’t heard already, HammerFall are a power metal band that is taking a lot of flak from many fans of other genres for not being true enough, not heavy enough, or not metal enough. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so here’s mine: lay off HammerFall! If you don’t like true metal or power metal don’t listen to HammerFall!

HammerFall’s song structures are traditional and familiar. However, you’ll find yourself fighting to hold back the desire to bob your head and pump your fist as the disc goes from track to track. Also, I hear a lot of German power metal riffs in HammerFall’s music (especially old Accept in HammerFall’s riffs); hell, I even heard Scorpions-like melodies in “Let The Hammer Fall”! The feisty lead guitar lines are like a burst of fireworks – bright and intense.

The vocals are very melodic with the choruses ripe for massive sing alongs. Joacim Cans sounds a lot like what Don Dokken might sound like if he was Swedish (or German) instead of American. The lyrics are in the Manowar style; to wit, “brothers unite, stand up and fight” as well as “toil of battle” are examples from just the first two songs. The spirit of metal is given credence with HammerFall and their commitment to the metallic lifestyle.

“At The End Of Tomorrow” has a good mid-paced rhythm while “Dreamland” gives the band’s spin on fantasy a whirlwind of majestic images.

There are two (!), count ‘em, two old-fashioned, honest-to-God power ballads. “Remember Yesterday” has a soaring vocal melody the likes the metal world hasn’t seen since the ‘80s, but this time the message is just as important as the song’s riffs. “The Fallen One” has a piano figure that carries the tune until it breaks into the guitar heavy ending that is required of the genre.

Fans of Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica will appreciate HammerFall. Just don’t let anybody tell you what you can and cannot like.

“Legacy Of Kings” was produced by Fredrik Nordstrom and Oscar Dronjak. The production is well above average as is to be expected when Fredrik Nordstrom is behind the recording console.

HammerFall: Joacim Cans on lead and backing vocals, Oscar Dronjak on guitar and backing vocals, Stefan Elmgren on lead guitar, Magnus Rosen on bass guitar, and Patrik Fafling on drums. Jesper Stromblad (In Flames) contributed his writing skills to many tracks.

For more information visit http://www.hammerfall.net


"Glory to the Brave" (Nuclear Blast; 1997)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

HammerFall remind me of Manowar with about half the campy lyric content and about a third less of the silly macho posturing. Their music is Heavy Metal with a capital "H" and a capital "M." It's rock'n'roll designed to split the skull of your enemy, or at least that guy in the Honda next to you who's blasting out the bass on the latest Insane Clown Posse album.

"Glory to the Brave," originally released in 1997, isn't as sophisticated as the band's later releases, but it still packs a solid rock'n'roll wallop. The best songs on the CD are the band's title song, "HammerFall" and "Stone Cold," both heavy hitters that stick to your mind long after you turn the stereo off. The other seven songs here are solid as well, with even the now traditional ballad standing above most others.

HammerFall continue to pump out the music today and, for my money, their newer stuff is better than the old. However, that's no diss of "Glory to the Brave" which is an explosive metal album that gives you exactly what you're looking for.

HammerFall: Joacim Cans - lead vocals, background harmonies; Oscar Dronjak - guitars, backing vocals; Fredrik Larsson - bass guitars, backing vocals; Glenn Ljungstrom - guitars; Jesper Stromblad - drums.

For more information, check out http://www.hammerfall.net


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Jul 2017 13:44:31 -0400.