HAMMERFALL - Built To Last

November 8, 2016, a year ago

(Napalm)

Mark Gromen

Rating: 8.0

review heavy metal hammerfall

HAMMERFALL - Built To Last

Some might bristle at the title, but the Swedes, who single-handedly resurrected traditional metal from the ‘90s doldrums (despite professional and personal attacks) have proved their staying power. Riff happy “Bring It” is an all guns blazing opener, recalling the initial pair of albums. Sort of a partner to “Let's Get It On” off Infected, albeit without the MMA lyrical overtones. Fulfilling the seemingly requisite hammer quotient for each disc, “Hammer High” is one of those mid-tempo, big singable chorus, fist thrusters targeted to the live set. Lone acoustic guitar introduces “The Sacred Vow” another upbeat number that locks into groove, utilizing past titles in the lyrics. However, come Joacim Cans' soaring chorus, things temporarily downshift. Double bass drums and guitar (including extended pick running against the length of the strings) greet a rapid “Dethrone And Defy”. 

Almost every track features gang backing vocals and this one has the “whoa whoa” heard throughout the Hammerfall canon. Quick snippet of classical music (think Peter & The Wolf), a lone, clean guitar and Cans begin the “Twilight Princess” ballad. A showcase for the singer, it's more than half way through its 5:04 before the band kicks in (and nearly as fast, drops back out). “Stormbreaker” returns to metal, picking up pace as it progresses. From trot to full speed gallop, trading guitar breaks and showing off new drummer David Wallin along the way. The title tracks is a heavier, but yet another mid-tempo number. After ten albums, don't expect the game plan to be radically altered, do you? “The Star Of Home” is an air guitar/drum splendor. A call to all metalheads, old or new is the backbone of “New Breed”, with a slightly more modern sound and keyboard begun “Second To None” closes out this strong effort. Don't expect anything you haven't heard before, just the best moments from their metallic past.

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