Two years on from their last release and Swedish metal overlords HammerFall return with their tenth album Built To Last….an album bursting with positivity and urging the listener to fight the good fight (as always)!
To be honest, Built To Last does not get off to a flying start. Opening number, “Bring It!” is perfunctory at best and doesn’t really seem to go anywhere or bring much to the table. Fortunately, this is a minor blip and things only improve from there. Second track “Hammer High” has all the hallmarks of a future Hammerfall classic, with its mid tempo, hummable music and a rousing chorus that’s just begging to be yelled out by thousands in concert halls around the world. The rest of the album is of an equally high standard and from “Sacred Vow” to the lighters – or should that be smart phones – aloft ballad “Twilight Princess”, the band barely put a foot wrong.
Unlike many of their power metal peers, HammerFall like to keep things simple and we mean this as a compliment. They’re not concerned with how many notes a second they can blast out in outrageous feats of guitar wankery, instead they concentrate on writing catchy, memorable songs that sink their hooks into your brain and refuse to let go. It also helps that frontman Joacim Cans has grit to his voice á la Hansi Kursch and isn’t intent on merely delivering ball busting high notes.
So, Built To Last has everything you want from a great HammerFall album; tales of good versus evil, forging steel, endless crusades and heroic knights swinging great big fucking hammers! Check, check and fucking check!
Some elitists may find the lyrics slightly preposterous and to them we would say ‘catch yourself on’, HammerFall’s themes are no different to those Maiden and Priest have been harping on about for years. For the rest of us though a new crusade is upon us….it’s time to saddle up and join the legions in battle once more. Built to last perfectly sums these guys up! 8/10