HammerFall - (r)Evolution

HammerFall - (r)Evolution

(CD, Nuclear Blast, 2014)

For whatever the reasons, many lines have been written regarding the Power Metal HAMMERFALL have been releasing for almost two decades. Still, “Glory To The Brave” was a massive release and to many, marked the return to the old-school values that were so missed back then. Lots of water has run under the bridge since then and HAMMERFALL have been accused for playing simple and the same music all over again. No matter what many think, the Swedes are still going strong, keeping the Power Metal banner high and “(r)Evolution” can be a pretty solid reminder of what this band is all about.

Having Hector on the album’s cover artwork painted by the hand of Andreas Marschall can be a strong indication that HAMMERFALL did look on the band’s early discography and honestly this is not a bad thing at all. I mean, every long-running band needs at some point to redefine its musical identity and in most cases this has to do with two options: a) get back to the early works and b) overhaul the sound and head towards a different direction. I am sure that option (b) would be every HAMMERFALL fan's nightmare, so let me put their minds at ease by saying they went with (a). This becomes crystal clear with “Hector's Hymn” that opens the album with some trademark rhythm guitar action that is soon backed up by the pounding drums and the killer bass sound. Joacim’s characteristic timbre enters and leads the way to the sing-along with fists in the air chorus, passing all the HAMMERFALL quality checks with flying colors. No, there are no striking changes in the band’s sound and honestly I wouldn't expect to find any other than the fact that most of the dark atmosphere of “Infected” has been replaced by hymn-like melodies and spirit lifting riffs - in other words, pure Power Metal. I mean, can it get more HAMMERFALL classic than with the title track of the album? 'No' is the answer and, in fact, the main groove is totally addictive and a must for future setlists (I can easily imagine everyone singing “revolution”). I said ‘most of’ the dark atmosphere because - and to my delight - there is a couple of songs closer to “Infected” (an album I really like) like “Ex Inferis” where you feel the additional heaviness shining through the slower and pounding drums and the fat guitars. By the way, I love how Joacim changes his singing profile here getting more evil as the song title requires. In the same vein comes “Evil Incarnate” and I will give some extra credit to the producers (I think it was Oscar and Fredrik Nordström) for the heavy rhythm section (once again, the bass lines kill). All the die-hard Power Metal fans will surely love the riff driven “We Won’t Back Down”, the fast “Origins” and the slow yet epic “Winter Is Coming”.

Indeed, I spent more time listening to “(r)Evolution” and now I think this happened because I really like it. Indeed, the band looked back to the early days and maybe passed the “Infected” experiment. I am sure the album will rekindle the interest of many older HAMMERFALL fans like it did for me.

8/10


Links:

www.Hammerfall.Net
www.MySpace.Com/Hammerfall
www.FaceBook.Com/Hammerfall
www.Twitter.Com/Hammerfall4Real


Tracklist:

01. Hector's Hymn
02. (r)Evolution
03. Bushido
04. Live Life Loud
05. Ex Inferis
06. We Won't Back Down
07. Winter Is Coming
08. Origins
09. Tainted Metal
10. Evil Incarnate
11. Wildfire
12. Demonized


Lineup:

Oscar Dronjak - Guitar
Pontus Norgren - Guitar
Anders Johansson - Drums
Joacim Cans - Vocals
Fredrik Larsson - Bass