With relative cohesiveness, it’s hard to say that HAMMERFALL has ever really disappointed. Their style rarely changes in drastic measures with gradual movement towards a more standard Heavy Metal sound and away from their initial Power Metal roots and their latest slab of Metal called “Infected” never deviates from the formula – for both good and bad.
Fans of the previous few albums will find more than enough to love on “Infected”. HAMMERFALL rarely changes it up on the album. The riffs still punch with Heavy Metal intensity, occasionally speeding up for that Power Metal sound on tracks like “Dia De Los Muertos” and their drumming is ably effective with energetic bouncing and double bass foundations. The melodies are catchy in both guitars and through the soaring vocals and certainly highlight the album with the ear grabbing moments on great chant along choruses of “Bang Your Head” and the more traditional HAMMERFALL sound on “The Outlaw”. To many of these elements, “Infected” gives us exactly what we expect.
This regularity is also one of the reasons that “Infected” sits too comfortably in its own. It rarely deviates from the formula we know and it leaves the album feeling tedious and boring at times. The occasional moments when the band cuts a new sound, the keys on “666 – The Enemy Within” or the modern swagger of “One More Time”, comes too little to make the impact it could have. Only a few times are we reminded of the true power behind the act that became in leader in the genre not so long ago like on the epic sounding “Redemption”.
As is, “Infected” is a decent addition to the band’s catalog, but it rarely strikes the same balance that the band has been known to accomplish with simplicity, catchiness, and fist pumping anthems. Mostly a record for fans, as it rarely adds anything new to the status quo.
Songs to check out: “Redemption”, “Bang Your Head”, “The Outlaw”.
(Online December 12, 2011)