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November 2006
Released: 2006, Nuclear Blast/Sound Pollution
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

Because of their commercial-sounding power metal and extremely catchy choruses, Sweden’s Hammerfall have never stayed in my CD player for any long period of time. At first I didn’t think much of this album either and I was surprised when I found out that it was actually not so bad - in fact, it’s rather great. Something major has happened with Hammerfall on this album. Compared to their previous album, THRESHOLD feels darker and not as catchy. Of course they still play power metal, but this time it doesn’t sound as commercial as before. Maybe the addition of more heavy metal is what makes the difference. Their lyrics also seem to be more focused on things other than dragons and templars of steel and fire. The tempo is not frenzied power metal; it’s a littler slower which helps the music a lot.

Charlie Bauerfeind produced the album, and he managed to get a crystal-clear sound which at the same time is heavy, powerful, and dynamic. I was stunned when I heard Joacim Cans actually had a pretty good voice; he sounds much darker now, which is something I welcome with open arms. I have always thought Cans’ voice to be way too screamy and thin. There’s nothing much to say about the band’s heavy rhythm section that contains the world’s greatest bassist and drummer: Magnus Rosén and Anders Johansson. Guitarist Stefan Elmgren impresses as always and Oscar Dronjak isn’t too bad on guitar either.

It’s the little things that count, and Hammerfall have definitely proven themselves worth listening to. THRESHOLD is nothing but a pleasant surprise from a band in which I had no previous interest. The album’s strongest tracks are “Threshold”, “The Fire Burns Forever”, “Rebel Inside” and “Howlin’ with the Pac”. “Titan” is another great song in which they pay their respects to the German legends Accept. As always, Hammerfall featured a few ballads with “Dark Wings, Dark Words” and “Carved In Stone”, both of which are bound to be hits. The only weak link on the album is the instrumental “Reign Of The Hammer”.

I know that EvilG and Rick are great fans of Hammerfall and even though I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of the band I definitely give them credit for such a stunning album.
Track Listing

The Fire Burns Forever
Rebel Inside
Natural High
Dark Wings, Dark Words
Howlin With The Pac
Shadow Empire
Carved In Stone
Reign Of The Hammer


Joakim Cans – lead vocals
Oscar Dronjak – guitar
Stefan Elmgren – guitar
Magnus Rosén – bass
Anders Johansson – drums

Next review: » HammerFall / Labyrinth - I Want Out / Timeless Crime
Previous review: » HammerFall - The Templars of Heavy Metal: The First Crusade (DVD)

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