Continuing my power metal entrance into 2010, (how good would that be, something epic while the ball drops in NYC?) ‘Crimson Thunder
’ was a late Christmas present from my girlfriend. What I love about Hammerfall
is rarely what you see is not what you get. Debut ‘Glory to the Brave
’ is considered their best and a landmark in power metal, and by the time they reached this, their 4th, they were a pretty established band.
’ opens with the rousing ‘Riders of the Storm’, which will never fail to raise a headbang or two. It’s ludicrously catchy; I am still singing it now while writing this. Following tracks ‘Hearts on Fire
’ and ‘On the Edge of Honour’ keep up the quality, the title track’s soaring momentum slowed only by an instrumental track before the classic ‘Trailblazers’ begins. It is at a higher pace that Hammerfall
truly excel; if you left the epic cheesy ballads out they’d probably be better albums, but they wouldn’t be Hammerfall
Vocalist Joacim Cans
has a strangely high voice for a metal singer, which gives Hammerfall
that recognisable quality. But it does begin to grate slightly over too many tracks, and melodic instrumental piece ‘In Memoriam
’ is almost a relief. It’s a shame that the second half of the album’s highlight is an instrumental, as the opening half was strong. It becomes almost workmanlike power metal, with a couple of obligatory covers thrown in (Chastain
and Yngwie Malmsteen
). Don’t get me wrong, they are still good solid heavy metal tunes, but none gleam like the opener, or the slower, anthemic ‘Crimson Thunder
. Their ballads also divide fans; you either love them or hate them. Personally I don’t mind them too much, although I think even Hammerfall
may have gone too far with ‘Dreams Come True
It’s cheesy as hell, slightly samey and won’t change the mind of power metal haters, but it does possess some awesome heavy metal tracks, particularly the title track and ‘Riders on the Sotrm’ and is a solid enough album to justify at least one listen to make up your own mind. Not their best, but still not bad.