It was only a matter of time until Swedish Power Metal resurrectors HAMMERFALL would be gracing us with a best of compilation, and “Steel Meets Steel: 10 Years Of Glory” is a full double CD with a grand total of 27 tracks spanning each album and even adding one brand new song to the mix. Now when the Swedes hit the scene back in 1997 with “Glory To The Brave”, it was a glorious kick in the head of all naysayers that still claimed that Power Metal was dead and if you look at the monumental wave of new Power Metal bands this band created, then their influence and impact on the scene is undeniable.
Original they never were, as they were heavily influenced by the HELLOWEEN school of Power Metal, but to the majority of young Metalheads at the time, it sounded fresh and new and admittedly, even as fan of the old HELLOWEEN and consorts, it was a welcome return of this sound, since the original had abandoned its roots by then. Each of the six (studio) albums in their history to date has four tracks each on this double-decker, with the exception of “Glory To The Brave”, which has an added bonus of two live versions as well, plus the mentioned “Restless Soul”, which is a brand-new track.
The nice thing about “Steel Meets Steel” is that the albums are worked off chronologically, well, almost, as the 2007 download only single “Last Man Standing” kicks things off, but then it is working its way through all the songs, showing how the HAMMERFALL sound has changed throughout the 10 years up to this compilation and while some may argue that the only difference is that the quality has declined over the span of their existence, there are some changes to be observed, nothing major, but overall the band never bombed and still counts among my favourites in the genre.
We get everything from sing-along hymns, up-tempo breakers, emotional ballads and I couldn’t come up with any song that really is missing, so good work lads, if you already have the whole collection at home, the three previously unavailable (on CD) songs will not make much a difference for you, but who wants to dive in and see what the fuss is about, “Steel Meets Steel” is an ideal starting point!
(Online June 2, 2008)