|Review: Hammerfall - (r)Evolution|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2014
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Review online: January 17, 2015
Reviewed by: MetalMike
So here we have full-length #9 from venerable Heavy/Power Metal stalwarts Hammerfall, a band often given credit for "resurrecting" what is today considered "Power" Metal. Debatable to be sure but albums like Glory to the Brave and Crimson Thunder cannot be dismissed due to their quality songwriting and performances. What has dogged Hammerfall is the specter of stagnation as one album sounds pretty much like all the others, with the exception of 2011's Infected. I laud the band for trying a new direction (and even a new logo) even though both were terrible in execution. So, what does 2014's (r)Evolution bring us?
To be honest, it's basically Glory to the Brave Vol. VIII. Hammerfall give us the same up-tempo rockers like "Hector's Hymn," anthems like "Live Life Loud" and "Ex Infernis" and slower ballads like "Winter is Coming" that they've given us before. Everything is drenched in Hammerfall hallmarks including Joacim Cans soaring clean vocals, catchy choruses, Oscar Dronjak's and Pontus Norgren's riffs and solos and solid bottom end from Anders Johansson and Frekrik Larsson. Gone are the modern Metal trappings of Infected (and good riddance) and Hammerfall have reverted to form. There's nothing wrong with any of this but you've heard it before, the songwriting is average and the performances sound a bit tired and more than a little "by the numbers."
Long-time fans are not going to hate (r)Evolution but it certainly won't replace the classics I mentioned earlier. Fans who like melodic Metal but not Hammerfall especially can skip it, as there's nothing here that is in any way essential.
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