HAMMERFALL — (r)Evolution (review)

HAMMERFALL — (r)Evolution album cover Album · 2014 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
arcane-beautiful
If you haven't guessed it by now, I have an incredible soft spot for power metal. Now, I'm not a major fan, I do think some bands can be a bit stale and repetitive. I also believe that some bands can maybe be a bit too cheesy. Now Hammerfall are cheesy...but they are pretty great songwriters too and are band that are incredibly technically efficient and have a very underrated vocalist in the form of Joacim Cans.

Ever since their first hiatus, the band came back with a sound that was unparalleled and was even better than their early days. “Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken” and “Threshold” would be up their with some of power metals best. But sadly the follow up “No Sacrifice, No Victory” was a slight let down. “Infected” was actually a step in a better direction but didn't see much acclaim from audiences, resulting the in the band going on another hiatus. The band are now back, showing promises and traits of their earlier days, proto and post first hiatus.

Musically the band show flickers of their old sound, but do now and then show off some of the dark moments which sprung up on their last 4 albums. In many ways, the band are still doing what they have always been doing. Some of the cheese which they tried to loose is back, but a bit of cheese never hurt anyone, especially when the songs are good, and proven on this album...they are.

I do admit, I did prefer the band whenever they had their classic line up. While Pontus is an absolutely astounding guitar player, I always think Stefan Elmgreen was and is more to my taste. The band have shown some experimental moments on this album too and it ends up being rather enjoyable at times...but it's all about the cheese.

Opening track “Hector's Hymn” is very much a return to form for the band. An anthem dedicated to their mascot, the song is pretty anthemic and would be perfect for opening live gigs off. The music video for this song is pretty cool, which pretty much builds a narrative around their old album covers.

The album's lead single “Bushido” is definitely one of the strongest on the album. With some pretty spellbinding guitar work, the song is carried well with a pretty great sing-along and powerful chorus. Anthemic and fun, how could you not like it.

Two very interesting tracks on the album would be “Ex Inferis” & “Evil Incarnate.” Taking a darker lyrical stance, the band talk about Satan and evil and stuff, which is a big step away from warriors and templars of steel. The songs musical styles have heavier riffs and “Evil Incarnate” even has some death growls spreading on it.

My favorite song on the album would probably be “Winter Is Coming.” Now, I am a big “Game of Thrones” fan so this is a little biased, but other than that, I do think this is one of the most unique songs in Hammerfall's catalogue. Showing off a great vocal performance from Joacim and a pretty cool slow arrangement, the song is pretty epic.

One of the cheesiest songs on the album and probably one of the most enjoyable songs would have to be “Tainted Metal.” A great sing along chorus with some cheesy moments and oddly funny lyrics, you gotta love the pure nostalgia of this tune. One of the fastest tracks on the album too.

One of the oddest tracks on the album would have to be “Wildfire.” With an odd and rather epic chorus with some pretty cool choir sections, the song has a rather symphonic approach to it. One of the most interesting tracks Hammerfall has ever made.

Overall, this is pretty much a return to form. The band still have a slight edge to their sound from their past releases, but the cheesiness and anthems are back. If you want to put on some leather, grow your hair and bang your fist into the air, this is an album for you.

7.9/10

Genres: Power Metal, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Fist, Speed Metal, Symphonic Metal

Country of origin: Sweden

Year of release: 2014
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