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Hammerfall – (r)Evolution

Label: Nuclear Blast
Format: CD download
Released: 2014
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 8/ 10


Hammerfall’s 2001 album “Infected” saw these Swedish Euro power metallers trying something new (which was great). Fantasy album artwork and mascot took a backseat, a change in artistic direction showed their strengths, and weaknesses (‘B.Y.H.’ too cliché).

 

Headbanger lead off track ‘Patient Zero’ should have been the single/video instead of the bland ‘One More Time’ for this darker toned (zombie infection, keyboard sound on ‘Redemption’) album. The backlash… “(r)Evolution” first single ‘Bushido’ is visibly back to the sound and spirit Hammerfall are known for from “Legacy of Kings” (still my favorite and think one of their best, with “Crimson Thunder” and “Chapt. V”) and “Renegade”. Yet, I like how the darker texture from “Infected” comes through on a tune like ‘Evil Incarnate’.

In 2014, Hammerfall are still lead by original members Joacim Cans (vocals) and guitarist Oscar Dronjak, joined by bassist Fredrik Larsson returning from “Glory To The Brave” days, drummer Anders Johansson (from “Renegade” on), and on second guitar Pontus Norgren since 2009. ‘Hector’s Hymn’ (about the band’s mascot), immediately opens with this classic Hammerfall riff, pounds and punches ahead with accompanying bass and drums, big soaring lead/backing vocals signaling the return to their roots. The title track is no less spirited, Joacim’s melodic vocal aging very well complimenting crunchy guitars. “(r)Evolution” is eleven songs of Hammerfall reclaiming their past, and effortlessly. ‘Live Life Loud’, ‘We Won’t Back Down’, and ’Origins’ (good duel between guitar and keys), confident and fresh embrace all components to the Hammerfall formula. ‘Wildfire’ closes the album a little heavier and aggressive.

A nice return to form.

 
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