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ALBUM REVIEW: Built To Last – HammerFall

In a career than has spanned almost 20 years, HAMMERFALL have album number 10 coming in November. The new record, named Built To Last, comes two years after (r)Evolution, and is the first album released by the power metal group with their new record label Napalm Records.

Right from the off, the heavy metal elements are there, and show that the HAMMERFALL concept has not changed over the 20 years. The first track off the new album, Bring It!, is a fast paced anthem that sets the tone straight away. The riffs of Oscar Dronjak’s guitar are simplistic, but the pace and overall build up gives the urge to pick up your air guitar and head bang. Linking that in with Joacim Cans’ vocals, and you have yourself an epic four minute heavy metal anthem.

There are a number of standout tracks on this album, all of which have different elements to them which make them highlights of Built To Last. The second song, Hammer High, has a memorable chorus to it which can be heard right at the start of the track. In the words of Oscar Dronjak, Hammer High has a lot of heavy metal spirit in it, and the chorus sums that up – the message from the band is “you can’t tell me what to do; no matter what you say I will hold my hammer high for what I believe in”.

Another song which stands out in the new record is Twilight Princess, which is the ballad on this HAMMERFALL record. This song is much more gentle compared to some of the other songs, and includes more of the power metal elements that you would expect to hear on a HAMMERFALL album. The song itself sounds like your typical love ballad, about a girl who is the fairest of them all, how much the singer Joacim misses her…that kind of thing. However, when you listen to the song all the way through, you realise that this is not the case at all, and it comes as a bit of a surprise towards the end which alone makes it stand out.

While HAMMERFALL are described and often seen as a Power Metal band, Built To Last contains more heavy metal elements than anything else, which the band execute to perfection. One of the best examples of this on the record is Stormbreaker, which starts off with another fast paced riff from Oscar Dronjak, and is one of those songs you would expect to be on the set list at any HAMMERFALL gig to really get the crowd going.

If you’re a fan of the band in any way, then this album is right up your street. The recipe for HAMMERFALL hasn’t changed, but each record on the album has something that’s a little bit different and shows that the band can create fresh material while using the same ingredients.

Even for those who have not listened to the band before but are fans of power and heavy metal, then they too will find this album very enjoyable. While some bands may struggle to keep on recording new material over such a long period of time without changing too much, HAMMERFALL are proof that it is achievable without affecting the quality of the music.

Rating: 9/10

Built To Fall - HammerFall

Built To Last is set for release on November 4th via Napalm Records. 

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