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Hammerfall - Legacy of Kings Review

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Artist: Hammerfall

Album: Legacy of Kings

Released: 1998

A mixture of styles and genres: Melodic Power Metal

Review:

Hammerfall's second album, "Legacy of Kings" released back in 1998 is, for many fans of the genre; "THE power metal album". This being Hammerfall, it has all the qualitites we've come to expect from their later releases. Heartfelt choruses, pounding guitar riffs, and a complete denial of the existence of things like bass guitars. Of course, this being Hammerfall, it also means they are as surprising in their discography as ACDC, which, simply put, isn't a whole lot. However, the forumla still works, and beautifully at that.

First up, great job on the vocals. With the exception of a few tracks, the vocals are extremely well done and add beautifully to the melodic, fast paced guitar which sets the entire mood of the album. The Drums too, provide a superb, atmospheric backdrop and as exemplified by tracks like "Let the Hammer Fall", provide amazing leeway for the guitarists to play one fist-smacking, head-banging riff after another.

As in all power metal, the drumming in any song is not enough to carry the song on it's own, or even to be an overly obvious feature of it. But what it aims for, i.e. to allow the most beautiful guitar and vocal combination possible in 60 minutes of music, it certainly acheives. Overall, the album is a beautiful mixture of speed and aggression, but despite it all, allows amazing amounts of serious emotion to soak through. The overall experience is uplifting enough to turn a manic-depressive away from suicide. Don't believe me? Try listening to the killer chorus on "At the end of the rainbow" and you'll get what i'm on about.

Proceeding track by track, it is overall a brilliant album, albeit one which may not appeal to too many on the first listen alone. Bear in mind that EVERY SINGLE song on this album has atleast a few absoloutely loveable riffs, and an amazing chorus.

'Heed the Call': A perfect album opener. The instantly absorbing intro takes you by the hand and thrusts you into the amazingly well structred chorus without a moment of weakness or hesistation along the way.

'Legacy of Kings': Next comes the slightly fast paced, albeit typical title track. The mood set is not what you would expect however, as the chorus on this song, while not matching the first song, does make this a pretty good tune nonetheless, and leaves you no choice but to sing along.

'Let the Hammer Fall': Easily the most memorable track on the album, this one is an instant fist-smacker. Slightly laid back, heavy riffs and an amazing vocal performance (especially in the choral section in the later half of the song) make this an exceptional track and a must listen for ANY metal fan.

'Dreamland': While not my favorite track on the first listen, the slightly laid back, atmospheric, almost (no puns intended) "dreamy" feel of the guitars and drums PERFECTLY capture the tone of this song and make this and excellent respite from the previous three exhaustive, aggressive tracks. The lyrics do tend to drag a bit though, but hardcore fans will easily overlook this.

'Remember Yesterday' and 'At the End of The Rainbow': Why do I merge these two tracks together? Because these tracks perfectly complement each other in my opinion. The former sets up the mood perfectly, and the amazing chorus on the latter simply blows the listener away, and completes the effect leaving one emotionally drained yet ecstatic. 2 must listen songs on a must own album.

'Back to back', 'Warriors of faith' and 'Stronger than all' : are the three weaker tracks on the album. Thats not to say they arent good, no. They're all perfectly fine tracks with decent guitar and good, often unpredictable buildups. However they are simply not as absorbing as the first half of the album, and seem even weaker as they follow the mind-blowing "The End of the Rainbow". To listen to as singles, or randomly, they are pretty solid tracks. However, they just do not provide a forcefull enough contrast from the rest of the album to be remembered as classics.

'The Fallen One': is the closing track of the album, and surprisingly, despite being a typical ballad, it still entertains. The only thing weak about this song were the vocals which could have been delivered with less cheese and more passion. However, an extremely good track, which sets it apart from the previous three weaker ones.

All in all, it is an extremely listenable album which just gets better with every listen. I would be lying if I said it was flawless. But it's still pretty damn close!!!

In a nutshell: Brilliant album. Highly recommended for newcomers and hardcore fans alike. The flaws, (which are miniscule to begin with) become completely negligible with later listens. If you don't own this CD yet, your simply not metal. GO GET IT TODAY!!!



Summary:
Vocals:9.50 of 10
Instruments:9.50 of 10
Skill:9.00 of 10
Originality:8.50 of 10
TOTAL:9.125 of 10

Reviewed by: Spikedtasbeeh /03.12.2003/



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