1997 - traditional Metal still was grounded - suddenly a name emerged - HAMMERFALL. Among others with members of IN FLAMES and CRYSTAL AGE/CEREMONIAL OATH, for most (incl. myself) was clear, just more Death Metal. But that was far from the truth... Very far...
"Glory To The Brave" had been the trigger for the unbelievable upswing of traditional Metal, of Power Metal, of True Metal. With typical Fantasy-lyrics, a sound that years before HELLOWEEN had more or less invented and the suiting outfit, basically pure cliché. So what has led to HAMMERFALL becoming the forerunners of the new flood?
Excessive originality could not have been the reason, so the critics, but the freshness with which they delivered this so very round and energetic album, that has been the key. "The Dragon Lies Bleeding" starts out in the typical double-bass-drive, with a strong chorus and melodic guitars, "The Metal Age" is a member of the up-tempo-stomper-guild, with catchy melody and lyrics perfect for live-gigs. The band-hymn "HammerFall" had been my first contact with the band and is a true Metal-hymn, fast, melodic, catchy and with a big chorus you just have to shout along, great!
That a classical Metal-ballad may not be left out is just logical, "I Believe" is it here, and they also are paying tribute to their idols with a very good cover-version of the WARLORD-classic "Child Of The Damned". In "Steel Meets Steel" there follows another up-tempo-cracker with classical shout-along-chorus, with its driving rhythm a live-classic.
After the powerful stomper "Stone Cold" and the double-bass-driven "Unchained" the Swedes once more squeeze the trigger, because "Glory To The Brave" is an epic ballad with just as epic lyrics, which starts out pretty calm, with clean guitar and Joacim Cnas' vocals, then rising in intensity to a broadly arranged epos, which is a worthy closer to this album.
Sure, HAMMERFALL's debut is pure cliché, but the band clearly shows that they still are serious with it, that it is no flavour-of-the-day image. HELLOWEEN or not, "Glory To The Brave" has won me over just like many others, with its freshness and everything and is one of the most important albums of the resurrected traditional Metal!