HammerFall - Crimson Thunder

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Nuclear Blast
Catalog Number: NB1021-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:29:00

I used to love HammerFall but the HammerFall of today, who have just released their fourth studio album Crimson Thunder, are not a patch on the successful band of just a couple of years ago. HammerFall brought metal back into the hearts and minds of people who were looking for something catchy and heavy, but unfortunately the band seems to have run out of steam at a time when they should be championing the best of metal instead of repeating themselves over and over.

Crimson Thunder is another dud album - their second in a row - following the lamentable Renegade, and whilst pre-hype surrounding the album was positive, that hype has once again proven to be, well, hype. First up though - this album is better than Renegade. But don't let that statement go out and make you purchase this one. Sure, the guitars and the overall feel of the album is heavy, but the biggest problem is with vocalist Joacim Cans. He sounds so bored on the album, aside from the odd spots of brilliance, namely on "The Unforgiving Blade," "Trailblazers," "Hero's Return," and "On The Edge Of Honour." Second-tier faults include some shocking lyrics (even for HammerFall), weak & apathetic guitars from Stefan Elmgren and Oscar Dronjak, and some of the song-writing which is average at best and poor most of the time. Everything sounds so painfully put together - group choruses with no excitement, long solos that bore instead of raise my metal fist in the air. I keep wondering why I'm criticising them so much, as I still listen to both Glory To The Brave and Legacy Of Kings, but there is so much missing here that maybe I can only put it down to the loss of proficient song-writer Jesper Stromblad (In Flames).

The best thing about this album is the cover of Yngwie Malmsteen's "Rising Force," which shows how good HammerFall can be. Remember the covers of "Pretty Maids" and "Warlord" from past albums? Why can't they put this much effort into a whole album instead of just a handful of songs?

Unfortunately, Crimson Thunder never really rises to the occasion and instead stands closer to mediocrity. The novelty has gone and there are better bands out there playing similar, more exciting music. Maybe the hammer is falling on HammerFall because Crimson Thunder reminds me more of Crimson Chunder.

[This review originally appeared December 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Riders Of The Strom (4:34) / Hearts On Fire (3:51) / On The Edge Of Honour (4:49) / Crimson Thunder (5:05) / Lore Of The Arcane (1:27) / Trailblazers (4:39) / Dreams Come True (4:02) / Angel Of Mercy (5:38) / The Unforgiving Blade (3:40) / In Memoriam (4:21) / Hero's Return (5:23)

Joacim Cans - vocals
Oscar Dronjak - guitar
Magnus Rosén -bass
Stefan Elmgren - guitar
Anders Johansson - drums

Glory To The Brave (1997)
Legacy Of Kings (1998)
Renegade (2000)
Crimson Thunder (2002)
One Crimson Night (2004)
Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken (2005)
Threshold (2006)
Steel Meets Steel - Ten Years Of Glory (2007)
Masterpieces (2008)
No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009)

The First Crusade (DVD/VHS) (1999)
The Templar Renegade Crusades (DVD/VHS)(2002)
Hearts On Fire (DVD) (2002)
One Crimson Night (DVD, box w/CD) (2003)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: February 5th 2006
Reviewer: Gary Carson

Artist website: www.hammerfall.net
Hits: 775
Language: english


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