Reviewed: June 2002
Released: 2002, Spitfire Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
When Stefan’s regular band HammerFall took a break, Stefan had some time left over and therefore decided to form his own band/project. Another reason for having his own band is because he also writes lyrics/music that doesn’t really fit the HammerFall style. This album was recorded between November 2001 and January 2002. Most parts of the album were recorded in Gothenburg, Sweden in Fredrik Nordströms studio. It’s produced by Stefan and co-produced by Fredrik.
Elmgren/Johansson has written 9 of the 11 songs on the album with Elmgren writing 1 alone and Elmgren/Mikael “…berg with 1. All of the songs are strong. Music-wise this is similar to what Stefan does in HammerFall, but this is a bit of a heavier hard power metal album. Niclas Johansson has wide vocal range and depth. Stefan also shows what a brilliant guitar player he is, both on solos and rhythms. The first song on the album, “END OF TIME”, is a typical power metal song. “ENLIGHTEN ME” starts off fast before Niklas begins singing and then it goes into power metal. “WE WILL RISE” is calmer in tempo but is still power metal. This song also has a strong chorus that audiences will easily sing a long with. “METAL MIND”,”CREATED FANTASY” and “WHEN WILL I KNOW” are much harder than what Stefan usually does in HammerFall. The speed on these songs is fast and this could NOT fit in on any HammerFall album. As usual when it comes to power metal bands they must have a ballad on every record, so it is here as well with “SILENT SCREAMS”. This song is extremely slow, nothing interesting really happens on it besides Stefan’s guitar solo in the middle. “MANDRAKE`S DREAM” and “MASTER OF MY SOUL” are typical power metal with some big similarities to HammerFall. “FIRST STRIKE” is pure instrumental, no vocals at all. This is straight up Stefan’s song to show off what a brilliant guitar player he is. “FORCE OF THE WORLD” closes this debut with more heavy power/metal.
Stefan has created a very strong and well produced debut album with very well arranged and strong songs. This is heavier power metal than what he normally does in HammerFall. Reportedly the songs for the follow up album are almost done, the recording is due to start soon, but right now Stefan is out on tour with HammerFall so it’s uncertain when it will happen.
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