Hammerfall - _Glory to the Brave_
(Vic Records, 1997)
by: Drew Schinzel (
Wow, I wasn't expecting this at all. A brand new side-project of two In Flames members and a couple of Crystal Age members, and in addition to having featured Mikael Stanne and Nilkas Sundin from Dark Tranquillity before the recording of the album, I was expecting "just" another Swedish melodic death release, but this is nothing like that style at all. This is more of a "typical" speed metal band, and in fact not very original at all, but this is just absolutely killer stuff, and its unoriginality really doesn't harm its appeal much at all. Replete with clean, moderately high-pitched vocals (much like Helloween, Gamma Ray, and others of their ilk), relatively simple, driving riffs, lyrics about gleaming steel swords, fighting alongside one's brothers in the night (all in the name of glory, of course), and those ultra-cheesy choruses where the whole band sings, Hammerfall is -not- to be mistaken for an extension of In Flames, and only sounds even remotely like them in a couple of riffs where some influence is evident. Another thing you won't see on an In Flames album: a simulated live setting with crowd noise! You know something's amiss when the song breaks to a slow part and you hear cheers and whistles coming out of the speakers from a supposed concert for a band who have never released an album. Ok, so some of this album is a bit on the cheesy side, but who cares, I get the chills when listening to _Glory to the Brave_; some of the material present is so truly inspiring, it makes me shiver just thinking about it (how's that for cheese, eh?). If you couldn't already tell, I am utterly blown away by _GttB_, and recommend it to -everyone-.
(article published 3/16/1997)
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