Hammerfall - Crimson Thunder
After the very tame and mediocre Renegade, the templars in Hammerfall have returned with Crimson Thunder, their fourth full-length album. Fortunately, the band decided to record in Europe again this time and that led to that the wimpy and thin sound of Renegade has totally been erased. *Sighing with relief* The fat and heavy guitars in both leads and more standard riffing is back and with that the number-one trademark of the band. This of course means that Hammerfall have with Crimson Thunder taken a big step back towards their glorious earlier days.
But a new thread regading the overall image of the band has emerged, that perhaps began already a bit on Renegade. The focus is no more on the mach-2 speedier tracks but more in the mid-tempo area. These heavier features bear a certain resemblance to Accept and even Judas Priest and those band's type or refrains, riffing and leading. The Iron Maiden-influenced beginning of Angels of Mercy is also worth mentioning when it comes to likenesses of more classic metal bands. If this is just temporary or not is impossible to say of course, but if it should be a remaining element I hope they continue to do it like this, because they've managed to intertwine these bands' fittings with their own sound in avery good way.
That's the good parts (which are extremely good in some cases). The more bad aspects are somewhat personal but still negative ones. The first is that we of course have to suffer through a completely insignificant and vacant ballad. The second one is that there's still more to wish for when it comes to the vocal-department. Hammerfall wouldn't be Hammerfall without Joakim Cans, but I'm not that impressed by his skills with a microphone although he does perhaps his best performance so far.
I also wish that Hammerfall would make at least one more longer epic song per album. With the capacity of this band, this should be something really out of the ordinary (as they've already shown us with Glory to the Brave). They have the image of a metal-warrior band and their lyrics of steel, battles, dragons and so on really deserves a more epic track and would definitely be in place next time.
Nevertheless, Crimson Thunder is still a very good release. Way better than Renegade, and not that close from pushing Legacy of Kings down to a second place on the band's album top-list. It's very well produced and orchestred and lack of highlights and really awesome stand out classics like Heading The Call and the likes doesn't really matter since just one song out of the eleven isn't full measure (and I think you know which one I refer to...)
Come up with some cash and buy it unheard if you're familiar with the band and Legacy of Kings if you're not. Hammerfall prove that they still got what it takes and that they want to hang around and play with the big boys on the worldwide metal arena. Crimson Thunder has all the ingredients to succeed in becoming a bestseller and should easily set many metalhearts on fire!