Many times I ask myself the same question: why do I like the debut or the second
album (and sometimes the third) of a band the most and think they are the best
albums by the band, no matter how many records they release after that? Is it
because the songs are just less well written, or is it because I expect too much
of a new album? Iron Maiden, Metallica, Metal Church, Anthrax, Exodus, Flotsam &
Jetsam, Volbeat, Agent Steel, Entombed, Sepultura, Overkill and I think I can go
on and on for a long time mentioning other bands.
Anyway, I don't think it is just me, because a lot of bands get to a certain
point where they also realize that their first albums are still the most popular
ones. That is the reason why some bands return to their roots and start writing
songs again that are a bit similar to the first albums. Listening to the new
HammerFall album I get the same feeling. It reminded me a lot of their first
album 'Glory to the Brave'. HammerFall has been a band since they started that
you either love or hate. For some they are a kind of posers playing power metal, for
others they are the blue-print of how power metal should sound like. This will
not be different I think after this new release.
The new songs sound again a bit more aggressive, a bit faster and with the same
kind sing-a-long refrains reminding of the debut. In between the faster songs
come once more nice hymns with a lot of melody and strong vocal parts. Opener "Hectror's
Hymn" sets the high standard for the rest of the songs on the album. An up-tempo
pure power metal track with all the ingredients of a real HammerFall song.
Immediately the link with the first album is there. Strong riffs, a nice refrain,
double bass drums, galopping guitar and the typical for HammerFall gang singing
Joacim Cans opens on the second mid tempo track with his mighty voice and after
that the hymn "Bushido" takes over. For those who like it a bit more up-tempo
there is besides the opening track "We Won't Back Down", "Origins", "Tainted
Metal" and "Wildfire". "Winter is Coming" is a kind of baladesk epic track
in typical HammerFall style.
Fans of the debut album will surely be pleased with this new album and it can't be
a coincidence that Frederik Nordström took care of the production. The music on
the album isn't an evolution, nor is it a revolution. It is old wine in new
bottles, but it tastes good enough for me and I'm far from saturated.