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HammerFall
Glory To The Brave
February 2014
Released: 1997, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Erich

Editors Note. Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of Master Of Puppets, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.



Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards our 10,000th review and the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any website were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!







Everyone knows the story by now, and many things have been said about GLORY TO THE BRAVE. Oddly, Metal-Rules.com never had its say though, and I am here to right that omission. There are transitional points in metal, or plateaus as Martin Popoff calls them. Popoff has always been very clear about his three plateaus: the invention of metal with Sabbath, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, the re-invention of metal with Priest’s SAD WINGS OF DESTINY, and the re-intensification of metal with the emergence of Metallica. I basically agree with these transitional points. However, I am going to add a few of my own here with Pantera, re-intensifying yet again beyond Metallica or even Slayer. Pantera influenced metal for much of the early and mid 90s, and then Hammerfall with a refreshing return to classic metal, taking things back to a traditionally grounded sound.



GLORY TO THE BRAVE was released nearly 17 years ago, at a time when classic power metal was a mere dot on the metal landscape and hard rock, death metal and alternative metal were ruling the land. Formed by a group of Swedes as a side project, Hammerfall would eventually take on a life of its own that merged all of the band’s influences into one sound. Singer Joacim Cans recalls, “We didn’t invent anything new. We just took the best bits and parts from the ‘80s and put it in a blender and out came Hammerfall. I think you can find many different influences in the music of Hammerfall, but you can never say we sound exactly like another band.”



Recorded in just 14 days on a budget of $4000, GLORY TO THE BRAVE was the clarion call for a return to traditional metal in the mold of Helloween, Iron Maiden and Warlord, whose forgotten tune at the time, “Child of The Damned”, was reverently covered by Hammerfall on the album and introduced to a new generation of metal youth. That call was indeed heeded, GLORY TO THE BRAVE being the album that launched the retro metal movement that continues to this day and inspired literally scores of classic power metal bands. GLORY TO THE BRAVE’s themes and lyrics can now be found everywhere, from Viking metal to Folk metal.



The strength of GLORY TO THE BRAVE is the memorable melodies, the addictive hooks, and the songs that fans can sing with ease, a perfect accompaniment to the many festivals that would begin to proliferate in Europe during that time. From top notch opener “The Dragon Lies Bleeding” to the album closing and poignant ballad “Glory To The Brave”, vocalist Joacim Cans proves to be the perfect deliverer of these tales of chivalry, glory to metal and the Crusades. Glenn Ljungström’s guitar solos are concise and memorable, complementing the songs, while the riffs and tone of the guitars themselves show a purity of purpose rather than virtuosity, galloping across the dales and hillocks of the Middle Ages.



Perhaps not perfect from a production viewpoint, GLORY TO THE BRAVE’s passion and fresh delivery of timeless metal ultimately attracted legions of young metal fans to the sounds of the golden age of metal. Taken from a 2014 perspective, Hammerfall would continue to release solid but often formulaic albums that eventually allowed other bands to leap frog them, but without GLORY TO THE BRAVE, it is doubtful if many newer power metal bands would exist, and some of the older ones might have had to continue to slave away in relative obscurity. Hammerfall does not get enough credit for helping to uplift the careers of some of the original bands in this style like Jag Panzer, Blind Guardian, and Gamma Ray, fans flocking to this style of music that they were only just discovering and voraciously seeking out other practitioners of this style. Hammerfall, let us hail!
Track Listing

01. The Dragon Lies Bleeding

02. The Metal Age

03. HammerFall

04. I Believe

05. Child Of The Damned

06. Steel Meets Steel

07. Stone Cold

08. Unchained

09. Glory To The Brave

Lineup

Joacim Cans - Vocals
Oscar Dronjak -Guitar,
Stefan Elmgren - Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic)
Fredrik Larsson Bass
Glenn Ljungström - Guitar,
Fredrik Norström - Keyboards, Piano
Patrik Räfling Drums
Jesper Strömblad - Drums,


Next review: » HammerFall - Infected
Previous review: » HammerFall - Crimson Thunder





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