Review Summary: Overall, his is some of Hammerfall's strongest material.
Okay, get this from the start. This album is definitely classic power metal. It doesn't have progressive/melodic elements like many power metal bands haves started to do. Just regular old power metal.
1. The Dragon Lies Bleeding (4:22)- This track proves Hammerfall's simplicity from the very beginning. Joacim's voice comes out with a "WE RIIIIIIIIIIIIDE". Pretty simple guitar work from Dronjak and Ljungström, and a simple solo. Before the solo begins, Joacim tells us "Above the glory we carry on, when the time has come to return back home. The setting sun illuminates the dead, the battlefield, it's shining red!" It's my favorite part of the song. The drums are a bit generic, but overall good. As you can tell from the title, the lyrics are super cheesy. A regular happy metal song.
2. The Metal Age (4:28)- A step down from The Dragon Lies Bleeding, but it's an alright song. The lyrics are better in this song, in my opinion. The solos are slow, but really nice, nonetheless.
3. Hammerfall (4:47)- Now, if you were beginning to wonder if this album was good, all thoughts of that would be taken away. This song is AMAZING. Lyrics are the best so far. The chorus is just alright, but the rest of the song overrules that. The solos, are a little annoying at parts, but not bad. The song gives us a soft and perfect ending. One of my favorite songs on the album.
4. I Believe (4:53)- You think you can have a corny power metal album WITHOUT a ballad? Psh, try again. Acoustic intro. Nice lyrics involving personal struggle. The chorus is nice and sad. Slow, tear-jerking solo.
5. Child of the Damned (3:42)- I guess the guys at Hammerfall think you're supposed to just get out of the sadness they just put you in with "I Believe". This is a cover from the band "Warlord". It's my favorite song on the album. Surprisingly, Joacim's voice fits perfectly with the song and doesn't sound off-beat at all. This is an up-beat song that can really "get you going" in the morning. Lyrics are quite bold. "I'm a child of the damned, they follow where I go. Rigging to the cross, as holy as a whore." I just don't like the slow ending, personally. It ruins the feel of the rest of the song.
6. Steel Meets Steel (4:02)- Hence the title, this is another cheesy song. But it's not what you're thinking. Actually, it has a meaning to it. It's about the crusades ("Jerusalem was free. We thanked the Lord for our glory!"). Alright song, though it is a bit monotonous, in my opinion.
7. Stone Cold (5:43)- Basically everything in this song makes me think it should be in a Rocky Balboa movie or something. I'm not sure why. I think it's the guitars. The lyrics are pretty good for classic power metal. The guitars a step more technical in this song compared to the rest of the album.
8. Unchained (5:38)- Cheesiest song on the album. Lyrics involve a king and his servants being taken and stuff like that. Music is really good. Perfect, almost. I really enjoy the chorus ("Brothers in arms, are fighting tonight. The forces of steel meet again. Born in the fire, they look to the sky. The power of metal unchained!")
9. Glory to the Brave (7:20)- By far the longest song on the album. This song is enough to reduce a cold-blooded serial killer to crying. It's personally dedicated to Joacim's grandfather (Klas Fors). But the song itself is dedicated to anyone who has died. Keyboards play through the beginning of the song. I personally think the low-tuned guitars take the mood from the song a little bit. But other than that, it's a perfect song.
Overall, this is some of Hammerfall's strongest material.If anyone dislikes Hammerfall, point them to this album. Very strong album, if a bit generic at times.