Ah… Power Metal.
You know, each and every rocker or metalhead had a jump-starter in his path with this world of music, for me personally; it was Power Metal with Kamelot about 7 years ago, the symphonic power metallers from USA. That’s why I was so excited when I was asked to take over this album review myself as I have a special spot for this genre.
After a year and a half of hibernation Hammerfall deliver (R)evolution, the newborn of the leading knights in the kingdom of dreams, Power Metal domain, with a Polish production we didn’t know in the past albums, bringing back the basic crisp they are known with, to fire up the large-and-wide Power Metal fan base across the universe.
Once again we meet “Hector” the band’s mascot, who is a depiction of the protagonist in the Power Metal culture, a semi-god hero who fights all evil with his magical thunder hammer (Thor much?). In the artwork by the one and only Andreas Marschall, Hector breaks off his statue-like a shell he was kept inside for a long time, as the last time he met the fans was in the 1997 release of the band’s Glory to the Brave and Legacy of Kings.
The first salute is ‘Hector’s Hymn’ which was turned into the music video the producers, Nuclear Blast Records, agreed to make it the visual equivalent to the album, check it out here:
The video itself is a whole other review; you know when your favorite artist KNOWS that you miss them? That’s exactly how the video was executed by 11Frames Productions, to which the main work is not just music videos but trailers, Commercials and Photography, quoting their self-description: “We provide different solutions for artists & companies looking for high quality results”. Great work with the picture direction as the video was full of life & true enthusiasm, and the band members whirling up high and mighty. Just pure awesomeness.
Let’s agree that the album is an old school Power Metal album without any techno touches or groove retouches to the riffs or any sort of a breakdowns, just pure speed metal by the book.
‘(R)Evolution’ sounds as it says, a recall to the warrior inside all of us against normality and weakness, especially when you know that the name of the master track & the naming came from the band’s fascination with the concept of the movie “Rise of the planet of the apes”, as the word (Revolution) is written this way in the translated version of the movie in the band’s native tongue – Swedish- which made it look like that: “Apornas Planet: (R)Evolution”.
‘Bushido’ is also a call for the long-awaited warriors inside us through a proud hymn of a samurai – which is what Bushido means in Japanese, pressing on the manners of knighthood such as honor and dignity with respect to the enemy at war, that’s why the track at some points sounds like it’s narrating a story not just a musical act.
I think ‘Live Life Loud’ is the first time a Power Metal band – or a band as far as I know- speaks directly to the Recipients, asking them to live their lives without the shackles of woe and pain, empowered by kickass down tempos in the middle of the track and neck-slides, with multiple bridge riffs.
The darkest track is my personal favorite, ‘Ex Inferis’, which means in Latin dictionaries “Of (from) Hell”. This is your trip as a scaredy-cat when you were a kid in the hell of rejection and abandonment, with pounding bass lines held together by a non-stopping, heart pounding drum lines, dangling you between the multiple meanings of the track: is it a wakeup call for the underdogs? Is it a revolution against what stops you from asking “Why?” in any form? I leave this to your own imagination.
Picking up the pace with ‘We won’t back down’ to complete the good ol’ Power Metal atmosphere, but this time with the spicy taste of SPEED metal since the first second of the track. Going down the mellow road with ‘Winter is coming’, a perfect timing if you are listening to the album now… great mood setter without any complications or ear-catching lines/solos.
Here comes the folk-ish touch alongside ‘Origins’ intro then bullet-speed after-intro riffing similar to the one in ‘We won’t back down’, and the same goes for ‘Tainted metal’ and ‘Evil Incarnate’.
The closing track is a chill to the spine piece called ‘Wildfire’, and my god was this a perfect choice of a name?!!! Absolutely mind blowing track with literally all the ingredients of what you will call “Power Metal” in one track: the very speedy pace, crazy fast and will conducted solos and twin riffing with Tommy gun’s fast drumming, and the crown gem will be the chorus, THE CHORUS PEOPLE!!! So much power and passion when chanting the word “Wildfire”, perfect choice and well placed.
In the end, we have to mention that the producer Fredrik Nordström pushed all the limits with this record especially the vocal appliance through the album by Joacim Cans who sounded very skilled and will tuned all across the album. Hands down dude, hands down.
I had loads of fun reviewing this piece of art and I am sure it’s gonna be the same for you. Power metal has always been and forever will be a source of joy and adrenaline pumping energetic music. Till we meet again peeps, Salute!
Edited By: Nehal A.Ali