Now it's here: Only few CDs had been so eagerly anticipated as this one by HAMMERFALL. And the expectations mostly have been met, so much for the beginning. "Renegade", so the title of the album, has really blown me off. I had not believed that this band would manage to get back to their "Glory To The Brave"-level after the weaker "Legacy Of Kings" again.
But let's start at the beginning. What becomes evident from the first intro on, is the incredibly fat and powerful sound, which the HAMMERFALL-releases so far lacked somehow. So the money-burning recordings with Michael Wagener were still worth the cost! "Templars Of Steel", a riff-laden mid-tempo-song, makes the reviewer's head rotate, great! But as the time passes by, the archetypical chorus-choirs are starting to bore you. A good bit faster is "Keep The Flame Burning", before the title-track is yet another excellent song.
Typically HAMMERFALL, yet without any highlights "Living In Victory" passes me by and also the balladesque, partly acoustic track "Always Will Be" makes my euphoria ebb away - if it continues that way... Phew, no! With "The Way Of The Warrior", a speedy, driving Metal-cracker they manage to get back to the highlight-side again. "Destined For The Glory" and "The Champion" are two more very fast, yet very melodic tracks that without doubt are among the top songs of "Renegade", too, while the equally fast instrumental "Raise The Hammer" is good, but lacks originality and ideas. The last track "A Legend Reborn" is yet another typical HAMMERFALL-hymn, which has a classic-solo in its middle, which reminds a little of ACCEPT's "Metal Heart", closing off an album that surely will find its fans again.
Conclusion: Apart from a few exceptions, a really strong album by a band that had to live with a lot of criticism of late (optically as musically)!