I first encountered Hammerfall courtesy of a Metal Hammer cover disc. I think the track – certainly the album involved – was “Crimson Thunder”. It was probably the first track I ever heard which could class as battle metal, and I was hooked.
Since then, I’ve been a little disappointed by other Hammerfall releases. It’s not that they’ve not been good, just that Crimson Thunder is just such a damn fine album that I’ve found it hard to compare. Until now.
(r)Evolution is a collection of stunning tracks, lovingly produced to show off the music as a whole and the lyrics in particular. Joacim’s vocals are as clear as anything Bruce Dickinson has wailed out over screaming guitars and a chugging baseline.
Hammerfall have, with (r)Evolution, mastered the art of heavy yet catchy. A classic metal sound with hooks that dig in and just can’t be pulled out.
While some tracks are better than others (“Hector’s Hymn” and “Origins” are quality), there isn’t really anything I would class as filler. There’s even a power-ballad-esque track in the form of “Winter Is Coming”.
If you liked the lead single, “Bushido”, then I’d be fairly confident in saying that you’ll like the rest of the album.
Hand on heart, I think Crimson Thunder still just pips this one, but albums by bands are a bit like Doctor Who and James Bond – the one you started off with is often very hard to shake as your favourite.
(r)Evolution is out now, as of September 1st.