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Articles Home » 2005 Articles » Hammerfall - 2005 Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Hammerfall - 2005 Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken

Joacim Cans - vocals
Oscar Dronjak - guitars
Stefan Elemgren - guitars
Magnus Rosen - bass
Anders Johansson - drums

Three years since the rather disappointing 'Crimson Thunder', Hammerfall are back for another shot at the throne of traditional metal. In many ways I should appreciate a band who sticks so steadfastly to their metal beliefs, but when the music isn't there it's hard to feel assured about their ability, no matter how sincere they are in their old school heavy metal dramatics. 'Crimson Thunder' suffered from all of the above, the music heavy but bland and all too predictable. With an unchanged lineup Hammerfall have delivered more of the same, in even more unspectacular fashion. After being the toast of the metal world during the late 90's, Hammerfall appear to be dwindling with each successive release.

The Songs
'Secrets' is a typically energetic opener, high on speed and energetic riffing, but when really dissected is throwaway Euro metal which differs little to anything the band have done before. That could be seen as good for fans, but unlike a Judas Priest or Iron Maiden the quality isn't there musically to make it work repeatedly. 'Blood Bound' made waves in the Swedish charts, reaching number four, which isn't bad for anthemic metal, let's be honest. 'Fury Of The Wild' sounds aggressive and is, with some Saxon inspired riffing which lifts affairs briefly before the stale vocal work of Cans kicks in. That European vocal sound leaves me utterly cold. 'Hammer Of Justice' reaps acclaim thanks to an over the top chorus, but is followed by an inevitable ballad, 'Never, Ever'. The propensity for Hammerfall to include ballads seems mystifying. Keep it heavy. 'Born To Rule' is by the numbers in all areas, while 'The Templar Flame' is the biggest rip off of Priest's 'Touch Of Evil' I've ever heard. Elsewhere 'Imperial' is a brief medieval acoustic interlude heard a million times leading into 'Take The Black', yet another Euro yawner. The album concludes with a twelve minute epic, 'Knights Of The 21st Century', a mostly cornball affair which plods for the opening half, before being redeemed by some galloping riffs. The songs conclusion is sheer comedy, as a monstrous voice mutters 'hell fuckin' yeah, the prophecy!!' A nice touch.

In Summary
As much as I would like to say this is worthy heavy metal, it isn't. Opposed to Judas Priest's recent 'Angel Of Retribution' this is second rate. Priest know how to make the over the top aspect of metal work without becoming too familiar. Hammerfall sound like they've been recording the same song for three consecutive albums. I could have submitted my review for 'Crimson Thunder' and just changed the song titles around as I feel I'm writing the exact same words as I did a few years ago. That doesn't bode well for Hammerfall, who I'm sure will sell a decent amount of copies of 'Chapter V', but at the same time are in need of a radical shakeup. Whereas I'll continue listening to 'Angel Of Retribution', 'Chapter V' is immediately shelved. Hammefall simply don't have the ability to keep making the same album.


Track Listing:
01 Secrets
02 Blood Bound
03 Fury Of The Wild
04 Hammer Of Justice
05 Never, Ever
06 Born To Rule
07 The Templar Flame
08 Imperial
09 Take The Black
10 Knights Of The 21st Century


Related Articles:

Hammerfall - 2002 Crimson Thunder

Hammerfall - 2005 Chapter V: Unbent Unbowed Unbroken

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