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Hammerfall – Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken

Label: Nuclear Blast America
Format: CD
Released: 2005
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Half of the Metal community loves em, the other half hates them. I can’t understand why Hammerfall would be disliked, especially among traditional metalheads because these guys carry the flag for the new generation in the spirit of Maiden, Priest, Dio and Helloween. Yes they do nothing different from what has done by our Heavy Metal forefathers, and with "Chapter V" you get what you would expect from Hammerfall, although the fast double based sword wielding stigma that they garnished themselves is much less prominent. Instead they wrote music more familiar with the sounds they created on the second album, and I think strongest "Legacy of Kings", next to this one. Tracks are propelled by arrangements similar to Saxon and Accept and less of a Helloween influence.


Mid paced headbangers hit you from the door with 'Secrets' including some dueling keyboards and guitars that has a Stratovarius influence. Something different added to their style is good. The single 'Blood Bound' is more mature than the cheesy 'Hearts on Fire' from "Crimson Thunder" and shows growth in their writing. It’s still very much in the spirit of the said track with an uplifting positive chorus, the video is also very similar. Joacim as always includes enough grit with passion to give balls with class to each song.

'Fury of the Wild' and 'Hammer of Justice' keeps the momentum strong lead by Joacim’s eagle soaring vocals and powerful guitars. 'Never Ever' is the standard ballad which this time around I think the album could have done without because with the amount of energy behind this record it’s a dead spot.

'Imperial' is also unnecessary as the instrumental as with the intro by Venom singer Cronos for 'Knights of the 21st Century', I can see where they were going with it, adding some texture and a darker feel to the also darker guitar riffs it does, but does not work 100%. Its ok. 'The Templar Flame', why do they have to use the word templar again? though it has a great Accept intro guitar lead and chorus.

Overall Hammerfall have shown some growth within their style and working within the realm of Power Metal. I always liked these guys and enjoy their spirit for traditional Heavy Metal. Hammerfall are definitely better without the over the top Metal references in their music and the double bass stuff is good as long as it’s not over done since most of those songs become repetitive at times. Its just a tough rut to work with.

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