HammerFall are back with full force

Swedish power-metal fivepiece HammerFall went into a sabbatical after they celebrated the 15th anniversary of their debut album ‘Glory To The Brave’. After relentless years of touring and the release of eight studio albums the band felt the need for some rest to refresh the batteries. Now the Swedes are back with their new album ‘(r)Evolution’. The album title resulted in an unsettled fan base. Will the new album mean HammerFall is moving away from their trademark sound? “It seems like a fitting title for this album, since that’s how I view it: we’ve taken everything that makes HammerFall HammerFall and evolved it. So I guess the revolution is that we’ve gone back to basics a little, yet still are moving forward,” Oscar Dronjak, the only remaining founding member, can calm some nerves.

Now I hold HammerFall’s new album in my hands and the first sign that it truly is a HammerFall album is the sight of Hector, the bands mascot, on the cover. Appropriately the band starts with ‘Hector’s Hymn’ into the new record. ‘Hector’s Hymn’ is a classic HammerFall number with driving guitars, a catchy refrain and choir-like backing vocals that are so typical for HammerFall. I can almost hear the sigh of relief from HammerFall’s loyal fan base. It really seems the feared revolution has to wait until another day.

The following ten tracks of ‘(r)Evolution’ are classic HammerFall material with a few twists here and there. So is ‘Live Life Loud’ a more modern track, a straight forward rocker that should make it into HammerFall’s live set as a standard in the future. ‘Winter Is Coming’ is a ballad that references the ‘A Song Of Ice and Fire’ novel series better known to some of us as ‘Game Of Thrones’. ‘Evil Incarnate’ awaits us with a Slayer reference in the opening riff and the last song of the album – ‘Wildfire’ – is the most experimental one, with an elaborate song structure that has many unexpected twists and turns.

Among these songs are the more classic HammerFall tracks where the band uses their complete repertoire of melodic guitar hook lines, choir-like backing vocals and the occasional double bass action. HammerFall focus on their core strengths of their early days with ‘(r)Evolution’ while adding a few new fresh  features to their sound. In this context it seems consequent that they have worked together with Fredrik Nordström as their producer, who was also responsible for their classic albums ‘Glory To The Brave’ and ‘Legacy Of Kings’.

HammerFall end their hiatus with a strong album that can take it up with their classic albums of the early days. The sound is fresh and raw and gives evidence of new gained energy. In that regard the sabbatical has paid off. Now the band will prove their new material live with another extensive tour around the world.

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Official band website