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Hammerfall Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken

Hammerfall - Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
01. Secrets
02. Blood Bound
03. Fury of the Wild
04. Hammer of Justice
05. Never, Ever
06. Born To Rule
07. The Templar Flame
08. Imperial
09. Take The Black
10. Kings of the 21st Century
2005 Nuclear Blast Records

Reviewed by: Cory   //   Published: 5/30/2005

While metal has evolved and transformed in the last twenty years into more genres than one would even care to count, there are some musicians and fans whose true love is still one of its earliest incarnations: power metal. While bands like Iron Maiden, Helloween and Manowar and King Diamond are still going strong after two decades, a few younger groups have emerged worthy to stand amongst their esteemed ranks. Among the most successful and accomplished of these groups is Hammerfall, a group who have been largely ignored or overlooked in the US for most of their twelve year career.

Originally formed in 1993 by Oscar Dronjak and Jesper Strombland (of In Flames fame), the group has seen ups and downs and lineup changes, but has never strayed from their trademark brand of thrashy dual guitars, powerfully uncomplicated rhythm lines and soaring vocals. Quite frankly, Joacim Cans is one of the greatest clean metal vocalists around, both live and on record. Also, where a band like 3 Inches of Blood, although equally talented, are often humorously over-the-top, Hammerfall's sincerity and theatrical presentation should appeal to all genuine fans of authentic power metal.

As far as Chapter V is concerned, while not as immediately catchy and impressive as 2000's Renegade, I found it more enjoyable overall than the group's last disc, Crimson Thunder. It starts off with a pair of the group's strongest compositions, "Secrets" and the disc's first single "Blood Bound." After that, the disc has its share of rockers, a couple of ballads and an instrumental before finally wrapping up with "Knights of the 21st Century," a song so unabashedly epic, the first few minutes merely serve as an introduction to its story, as Joacim and some sort of monster trade lines about "the prophecy." Once the song truly begins, the force of the music definitely justifies the extended explanation.

Lyrically, most of Hammerfall's material takes its cues from groups like Dio and Helloween (whom the band has toured and recorded with respectively) with lines like "Charge into the vein / Like a needle for the pain / Thunderbolts clashing down / A new sound across the land." Admittedly, there's a certain cheese factor to lyrics like these, but Hammerfall, like most of their great metal forefathers, have a way of making these words come to life. Hey, maybe this sounds like Dungeons & Dragons Nerd Metal to you, and maybe it is, but its also infectiously catchy and undeniably powerful.

Bottom Line: In the last few years, Hammerfall have become one of my favorite bands. They are extremely talented musicians as well as songwriters and their millions of loyal fans worldwide are the proof. For the uninitiated, I might suggest tracking down a copy of Renegade first, as that is undoubtedly their best work, but Chapter V is definitely another in a string of excellent releases from these kings of metal. I would urge anyone who appreciates classic metal with great melodies to check it out.

wolfpack_   posted 6/8/2005 1:30:13 AM
gay shit
joehardcore_   posted 6/6/2005 6:40:55 AM
MANOWAR are the only true Kings of Metal.
Mark_   posted 6/5/2005 5:46:00 PM
Most of you take this way too seriously.
TheWood_   posted 6/1/2005 2:09:09 PM
These dudes are hilarious. If you take them too seriously, you might miss the point.
PalmerLCC_   posted 6/1/2005 1:28:16 PM
By the way nick your a goo guzzler. There is no originality in this cd AT ALL. From the cover to the song names its on big lump of cheese. you cant take lyrics like this seriosuly because if you do your admitting that dragons exist. 4/10 just for song stucture as nice as I'll get.

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