Hammerfall

Picture of Hammerfall

Glory To The Brave EP

Hammerfall - Glory To The Brave EP ©1997 Nuclear Blast
1. Glory To The Brave (radio Edit)
2. Ravenlord
3. I Believe (live At Wacken '97)
4. Glory To The Brave (album Version)

Riding thundering horses of the new retro-metal movement (is this anything like glacier motion...one step forward, two steps back?), Hammerfall is currently one of the most revered and infamous proprietors of the past amongst metal circles. This short four song EP (three songs if you consider the two versions of the title track) is a great little sampler to whet thy appetite, influence you to mount your steed and ride into the CD store in glorious battle to pay less than fifteen bucks for the full length album. And why? Funny you should ask. Hammerfall has in its ranks some sterling songwriters who can place their hands pockets of Gamma Ray, Helloween and other 80's power metal bands without looking like they are copping a cheap feel. Singer Joacim Cans has a perfectly balanced voice that is strong, spanning all the octaves you can dream up, and won't upset your puppy either if he happens to be in the same room as the stereo. While Hammerfall shouldn't be considered revolutionary or groundbreaking, it is nice to hear some nicely crafted metal from yesteryear that is neither dated or drastically derivative.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/1998

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Legacy Of Kings

Hammerfall - Legacy Of Kings ©1998 Nuclear Blast
1. Heeding The Call
2. Legacy Of Kings
3. Let The Hammer Fall
4. Dreamland
5. Remember Yesterday
6. At The End Of The Rainbow
7. Back To Back
8. Stronger Than All
9. Warriors Of Faith
10. The Fallen One

Having helped spurn and renew an interest in a style of heavy metal that some might argue should have remained safely stored away in the 80s, Hammerfall has done very well reusing and borrowing a safe formula originally conceived by the likes of Judas Priest and Helloween. Admittedly, Hammerfall puts on a very fun live show and are quite genuine individuals in their passion to simply play music that they loved when they were younger. Given that their goal is to recreate a nearly historical feel (hey, a decade is an eternity in the ever-shifting world of music), you can safely assume that unless you cannot get enough of the old metal feel, Hammerfall is best saved for seeing live. Legacy of Kings is not the kind of album I choose to play often and sometimes comes off as detrimental to what the band is attempting to accomplish. Besides, anthemic tunes about the brotherhood of metal tend to cause hives to break out on my skin. The whole culture of metal tends to toe the line of parody in the lyrics, particularly when metal is seen not as a musical style but a lifestyle. The constant references to steel, brothers of metal (where are the sisters, I ask you?) and obvious metal topics are somewhat dated. But then again, so is the music. The big choruses, catchy melodies and fist-pumping guitars are wonderful for the live venue, but listening to the album often finds me looking at the speakers wondering why the band insists upon the schtick. Unfortunately for this album, Joacim Cans' vocals are lacking a lot of strength that is required for singing the higher notes and that really brings down the overall effect. Legacy of Kings comes across as something released solely to keep the band in circulation and out on tour and definitely not as something meant for intense home listening.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2000

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Review #2:

I know someone who reads romance novels when they are in need of something with very little substance. They can put the book down and pick it up without having to go back and reread parts because the plots are so watery and thin that you it can be picked up immediately. In short, you don't have to think while you read such pulp.

Certain heavy metal genres are the same. Bands such as Hammerfall, Rhapsody, Edguy, Blind Guardian and others crank out disc after disc metal pulp for general consumption. Big, epic, galloping music that romps through your stereo and is generally enjoyable if not terribly profound. As the romance novel serves a purpose, so does the epic power metal put out by Hammerfall.

Legacy of Kings is the second full release from Hammerfall. The disc demonstrates once again that heavy metal can be fun, mindless entertainment. Good solid song writing and huge playing make for a fun listening experience when you don't want to have to pay too much attention to the songs. To misquote the words of a famous American television advertising campaign, "Hammerfall: Sounds Great! Less Filling!" The guitars blaze and chop, the choruses of singing hordes of sword swinging barbarians echo around the room with a cheery sing-along ease that will please most any fan of heavy metal.

If you have a thing for the occasional anthem of steel, you can't go wrong with this disc. Just be ready to flash your Brotherhood Of Metal Heroes® membership card or badge when you go to purchase the disc.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 10/2000

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Renegade

Hammerfall - Renegade ©2000 Nuclear Blast
1. Templars Of Steel
2. Keep The Flame Burning
3. Renegade
4. Living In Victory
5. Always Will Be
6. The Way Of The Warrior
7. Destined For Glory
8. The Champion
9. Raise The Hammer
10. A Legend Reborn

Ah yes, Hammerfall: Big choruses, blazing guitars, keyboards and changes of key in the middle of the song?

This is not your father's Hammerfall playing on this disc. Admittedly, the lyrics and the general tenor of the songs have not changed all that much. They still subscribe to the Brotherhood Of Metal Heroes® school of melodic power metal, but the elements of forward movement are there in a very noticeable way on this disc. The songs still throb with noble themes of valor and honor and other things that make up the life of your day to day paladin.

The approach to the music, however, is more careful on this disc than the wild abandon of Glory To The Brave or Legacy Of Kings. The use of background sounds and keyboards to add atmosphere to the music coupled with attention to the vocal melodies shows a band that is taking its music seriously. It represents a change in direction for Hammerfall that bodes well for the future of the band.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 10/2000

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