HAMMERFALL return after a somewhat disappointing in the form of "Renegade". So, how does this release measure up? Well, I have to say once again I am slightly disappointed. I don't think they have quite the same punch in their sound as on their debut which just rocked from beginning to end. Here the songs a bit more mature in terms of sound.
I don't know what it is, but I just think that Joacim's voice is weak for Power Metal. It doesn't have the oomph of Ralf Scheepers, Halford or Matt Barlow. "Riders On The Storm" is not a bad opener, but lacks in vocal power. The music is there. What is also somewhat disappointing is Anders Johansson's drumming. I know that this isn't his band, but you would think that Oscar would let him go off and be heavier than hell because he is an absolute talent and one of the best drummers in the world. It just seems like that HAMMERFALL takes some energy out of him. He is capable of so much more than what is presented here.
The songs are not badly written. There is some energy in their music. "Hearts On Fire" and "On The Edge Of Honour" show it, but it seems like Joacim's singing take away a little bit of their sound. I will say that the title track is actually really good. It's a bit slower, but the feeling is there and the sound is just kick ass. Joacim's voice actually works really well here too. "Trailblazers" is also a jam too.
HAMMERFALL is a really good band in the Power Metal scene, but there is just something missing. The CD isn't bad overall, but I think it could just a little more power in the vocals. Fans of the band from day one will still relish them and this disc. (Online November 16, 2002)