Review: Hammerfall

“One Crimson Night”
(Nuclear Blast)

This is a two-disc set of live Hammerfall.  22 tracks covers the spectrum of what Hammerfall does, namely Swedish flavored power metal.  Power metal is a genre line that finds music fans on one side of the ‘hate it’ or ‘love it’ line. Not much middle ground.  The sound is usually defined by liberal power chords interjected with intricate dual guitar leads and an endless barrage of double kick drums.  And of course, the power metal singer with the ability to howl with an operatic range.  Do your best parody of Rob Halford from Judas Priest, and you’ll be close.  As for Hammerfall, they are one of the best powermetal bands out there, so here is the beast live.  Hammerfall do work a clichéd aspect of powermetal, and that’s this obsession with Dungeon and Dragons type imagery.  It comes from the whole Nordic upbringing I suspect.  Hammerfall are guilty of such accusations, but again, for the powermetal fan, that would be like criticizing hardcore because they talk about ‘rising up against opposition’.  It just kind of comes with the territory.  On this live release, the sound is clear and captures the essence of the live Hammerfall well.  Although between song banter is in Swedish, it just drives home the cultural aspects to the band.  This album is for the fans (as most live albums are) and shouldn’t disappoint lovers of the progressive power metal attack from overseas.