HAMMERFALL is a name everybody knows. If your journey through Power Metal has yet to take place (if you’re a regular on this site, feel free to skip this part) here’s the “short-short” version of their significance: they heeded their call when the Power Metal scene was crumbling in the mid nineties. “Glory To The Brave” showed the true meaning of real Metal music. The follow up firmly guided Power Metal back on track, if only for a few years. It’s been said by fans and journalist worldwide that the band’s debut ”Glory To The Brave” could not be topped. I guess that’s true somehow, it was a pretty damn good album and “Legacy Of Kings” (while preserving the same quality) seems to be a complete replica of the debut.
This album might as well had the title ”Glory To The Brave – Part Two” because it sounds so alike and the cover artwork is equally close to matching the previous one; on the debut you had this dark hooded figure standing in the woods with his oversized hammer, now he’s sitting on a throne inside a castle. Not that this is a bad thing, clichés are a part of the Power Metal game you know.
If you heard ”Glory To The Brave” you know what’s in store on this album. Excellent songs like ”Heeding The Call”, their best song together with ”The Metal Age”, ”Dreamland” and the mid-paced ”Let The Hammer Fall” sure make me happy of being Metal. HAMMERFALL are Power Metal but their working formula also revolves around their love for 80’s Heavy Metal, the cool cover of PRETTY MAIDS’ 84 classic “Back To Back” couldn’t more appropriate. ”At The End Of The Rainbow” begins with a bass line that’s very reminiscent of IRON MAIDEN’s ”Stranger In A Strange Land”, I sure hope Steve Harris is ok with them using it he he.
Not much has changed musically; good ol’ Power Metal is the name of the game, the only change audible to these ears is that the songs have a more crispy sound. The band lost three members from the line-up to ”Glory To The Brave”, including Jesper Strömblad and Glenn Ljungström, probably because of their commitment to IN FLAMES at the time. New members are Stefan Elmgren on lead guitars, Patrik Räfling on the drums and Magnus Rosen on the bass. What’s remarkable is that almost nothing has changed by losing three members and gaining three new ones, oh well I don’t complain.
HAMMERFALL’s first two albums are of great importance but musically it’s far from being revolutionary. Bottom-line: ”Legacy Of Kings” is a very good album with no experimentation or anything, just well done Power Metal from the heart that unites us Metalheads in the ongoing crusade against mainstream music. (Online February 23, 2004)