HAMMERFALL — Crimson Thunder (review)

HAMMERFALL — Crimson Thunder album cover Album · 2002 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Another mixed bag from HammerFall. On the one hand, it's a bit less samey than Renegade - the songs don't all blend into one another like on that one, so that's a plus. In fact, the difference between, say, the operatic On the Edge of Honour and Hearts On Fire, one of HammerFall's more poppy tracks, is vast. But not always in a good way. Whilst On the Edge of Honour takes us through a real journey in terms of both music and lyrics, Hearts on Fire is aggravatingly repetitive; the call and response "Hearts on fire, hearts on fire/Burning burning with desire" goes on and on, over and over again, until by the end of the song you never want to hear it again. Granted, the lyrics of songs like On the Edge of Honour aren't exactly startlingly original ever - fantasy monsters and knights and quests yet again - but at least they don't ever get dull.

That said, in general the album's a very, very slight improvement over the last one, during which HammerFall seemed to be treading water. The title track, Crimson Thunder, is slower and darker than almost anything else the band had played up to this point - don't get me wrong, we're not seeing HammerFall playing doom any time soon, but it's an experiment with a mood which they had avoid so far in favour of unicorns and pixies. Dreams Come True, a fusion of an acoustic guitar ballad and an orchestral dirge, likewise explores grimmer than usual territory for HammerFall, as does the brooding Angel of Mercy. Overall, despite a slightly weak opening, the album really firms up towards the end. HammerFall haven't rewritten the power metal rulebook with this one - when have they ever? - but they do find a little room to stretch out within the formula they've set for themselves.
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Psydye wrote:
9 months ago
Tbh, I rather like the Hearts On Fire song. Of course, it could be the nostalgia glasses...it WAS one the first metal songs I REALLY got into!


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