(7/10) In days of constant change some continuity is a welcomed situation. Hammerfall provides such a stability with their releases and also the newest one, "Built to Last", doesn't change this situation.
In days of many different styles of metal it feels a bit strange to describe Hammerfall as being oldschool. It sounds like living in the past, playing music that is covered in dust. But that's wroung. It’s more that Oscar Dronjak re-vitalized traditional metal in the nineties when grunge, modern metal and nu metal took over, getting a lot of attention and support. Hammerfall, at that time, felt like a relief for metalheads that came from the NWoBHM days. The five–piece from Gothenburg blew in new life into a genre that had to suffer at that moment in time.
After the band released their debut “Glory of the Brave” a success story started that probably couldn’t have been foreseen at that time. The guys published nine albums and build up a more than solid fan base that’s still growing.
After the dark “Infected” album from 2011, Hammerfall returned to their more traditional sound with “(r)Evolution”, a journey which they continue on “Built to Last”.
It feels like ‘nomen et omen’ when it comes to the title. The new longplayer stands like a solid rock and it provides fans with 10 headbangers, most of them pretty good. OK, Hammerfall doesn't re-invent themsleves and their sound is also back to what the guys can do best - writing and playing traditional metal with good melody lines.
"Bring It!" is the fast opener, "The Scared Vow" is a typical Hammerfall hymn and "Stormbreaker" blows more than a metallic breeze right into your face. A song I really like is "The Star of Home" since it belongs to the more straight-forward ones.
I'm not really sure if the quiet "Twilight Princess" was needed though. At least I could have easily have lived without this tune that is a bit too cheesy. Something inbetween is "New Breed". The tune comes with an exciting solo part but sounds, besides the solo, a bit breathless. I almost had the feeling that Hammerfall, in some parts, wanted to write an 'Accept'-song, an endevour that wasn't too succesful.
To conclude: “Built to Last” is a very solid metal record that includes all the trademarks fans can expect from the band. It’s a well-crafted piece of heavy metal without frills. This is heavy metal in the best meaning of the word, placed on an album that is powerful and dynamic.
- Bring It!
- Hammer High
- The Sacred Vow
- Dethrone and Defy
- Twilight Princess
- Built to Last
- The Star of Home
- New Breed
- Second to None
Label: Naplam Records
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date EU: October 28th, 2016