HAMMERFALL
"Renegade"

(Nuclear Blast)

01. Templars Of Steel
02. Keep The Flame Burning
03. Renegade
04. Living In Victory
05. Always Will Be
06. The Way Of The Warrior
07. Destined For Glory
08. The Champion
09. Raise The Hammer
10. A Legend Reborn

RATING: 6/10

Widely credited for having spearheaded the current traditional metal resurgence in Europe, Sweden's HAMMERFALL have always fallen a bit short of the mark to these ears, boasting a sound that is neither innovative nor particularly convincing, with many of their songs coming across like poor second-rate imitations of early HELLOWEEN.

...

In spite of the fact that it was produced by veteran studio wizard Michael Wagener, the group's third album essentially follows the same musical path as its predecessors, featuring ten songs that tread along competently, but never manage to reach the kind of soaring heights attained by their much more effective countrymen NOCTURNAL RITES (whose Afterlife effort puts this CD to shame). At least some of the blame for this could be placed squarely at the feet of vocalist Joacim Cans, whose thin, high-pitched approach gets tiresome rather quickly, thereby preventing him from delivering anything but the up-tempo speed metal numbers with a serious degree of conviction. This is no better evident than in the ballad "Always Will Be", an otherwise impressively written number that would have come across as way more powerful in the hands of a more traditional hard rock vocalist such as Jonny Lindqvist (N. RITES) or Anders Engberg (ex-LIONS SHARE), both of whom have ironically had far less success with their own respective bands (for reasons other than their lack of ability, obviously).

...

Cans' shortcomings aside, HAMMERFALL churn out relatively enjoyable power metal that is virtually tailor-made for the fans of the sing-along style favored by the German groups, such as HELLOWEEN, GAMMA RAY and BLIND GUARDIAN—an approach that is still immensely popular in parts of Europe, Latin America and Japan. A few quality moments abound, as on the album's title track (and first single), the aforementioned "Always Will Be" and "Living In Victory", but on the whole, one can't help but feel that HAMMERFALL's substantial hype has outweighed the band's ability to deliver quality material, and as such, it is only a matter of time before the group's star begins to fade.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to block users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. To report any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, please send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details.