Despite leaving this DVD behind on many a quest for CD’s and DVD’s at my local record stores, I finally heeded the call of the HAMMERFALL DVD “The Templar Renegade Crusades” and sat down to watch the legacy of these Metal kings. HAMMERFALL was one of the first European Metal bands that I was exposed to many years ago when I first started listening to Metal, but I could never find the CD’s I wanted, so I let this band fall by the wayside for sometime, but I never forgot tracks like “Heeding The Call” and “Warriors Of Faith”. This DVD brought back a lot of good memories even though it was not a complete concert DVD like most other bands, but rather a retrospective look at the four year span from 1998 to 2002 in the life of HAMMERFALL.
Most of the footage taken from the studios was great at showing the process of how albums are made and there were some nice guest appearances for the vocal recordings on the track “I Want Out”. A big surprise for me was seeing the USA templars tour in an opening slot for the now legendary Florida Death Metal band DEATH. The line up pairing seemed strange, but then I realized that both HAMMERFALL and DEATH are on the same label. The footage of being on tour with DEATH and their now mourned frontman Chuck Schuldiner was especially intriguing to see and the fact that this DVD was released after his death, a short memorial to Chuck was also added after the US tour segment. Other notable offstage footage from the Japan tour was having Korean barbeque with some of their hosts I suppose and Karate matches in housecoats in their hotel at in the morning.
As for the stage footage, the sound quality is not quite as rich as it could have been on a lot of the performances and is why this DVD did not rate a little higher. (Online July 18, 2004)