Review Summary: Sloppy, boring, third-rate power metal.
Hammerfall � Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
If you don�t know who this band is, don�t feel bad about yourself. They�re a fairly unknown power metal band that hails from Sweden, a country that�s got some great metal bands. This album which I will be reviewing is the band�s most recent album. I read some reviews about the band saying that �If you like Iron Maiden, Helloween, etc. then you will love this band!� Sure, I love both of those bands, so I decided to buy this album without even sampling it at first. If you want to find out the rest of my thoughts on this album, just keep on reading.
The album�s first song Secrets starts out with low chanting and some cool high guitar riffs until the band comes into full swing with heavy riffs and some typical high pitched power metal-esque singing. I think it�s best if I just tell you this right off the bat. The lyrics on this album are cheesy. Really cheesy. I mean, I listen to loads of power metal bands and I can tolerate most of the lyrics, but these just bother me more than any other power metal band I have listened to. If this song didn�t have a good guitar solo in it then it would have been a total waste of my time. Let�s hope that the album will progress from here on out, because so far, not so good.
The next song is called Blood Bound and it was also chosen to be the band�s single. I�m glad that they picked this song to be the single, because it�s the only real song that I can listen to all the way through without getting bored at one point or another. The opening riff is really catchy and the vocals actually don�t bother me this time. The verse is has a nice, heavy riff that you could possibly bang your head along to. The highlight of this song has to be the chorus though. It�s one of the catchiest things I�ve ever heard a power metal band write, and you�ll probably find yourself singing along with the band �We�re blood bound!� The band certainly recovered, but sadly, this is the best part of the album. It only goes downhill from here.
The third track is pretty dull if you ask me, and it�s called the Fury of the Wild. The high pitched vocals in the verse just annoy the living daylights out of me. I just can�t listen to this song, and I skip it whenever I get the chance. There�s also another sing-songy chorus, but I wasn�t thrilled by it at all. At about 2:30 the song finally begins to get cool with some melodic guitar riffing and then a solo. It�s a good part of the song, but I can�t listen to it because the rest of the song is just a total flop. Hammer of Justice is next, and it�s got some more melodic riffing in the intro. Sorry guys, but your verses and lyrics are just lame. They don�t do anything for me, and I just get bored when I listen to them. Once again, the only part of this song I liked was the guitar solo. If this band sticked to just playing cool stuff like this I would love it. But sadly, they don�t.
Most power metal bands will slow down their albums at one point and make a powerful and lovely power ballad. This band gives a shot at doing this, but fails. It�s more of a comedy track, really. The lyrics are �depressing�, but I don�t feel like the vocalist is really meaning what he is saying. The chorus is also terrible; the vocals just annoy me until there is no end. I think it�s now implied that the only part of this band that I like right now is the guitar solos and an occasional good riff. This is actually the weakest part of the album so far. Born to Rule is the next song and it sets off trying to be really touch sounding, but with a vocalist like this guy, you just can�t pull it off. There are some pretty cool riffs in this song, but they�re hard to listen to with the other low points happening at the same time.
If you�ve read any sort of biography about this band, you may have come across the fact that this band sings songs about templars. This song�s title is called The Templar Flame, so the band lives up to what has been said about them. The lyrics in this track have a cheese factor of a million, so it�s just another laughing moment for me. By this point, I�m really starting to get angry and I want this album to just end right now. But sadly, I still have three tracks to listen to. Imperial is actually a song I like, because there are no vocals and it�s a short and beautiful sounding acoustic instrumental. This certainly is a good song, and it�s surely worth listening to.
Take the Black is another typical Hammerfall song that sounds like seven other songs you�ve heard already. There�s absolutely nothing here than enthralls me and makes me want to listen to it again. One listen to this song is plenty. I�ll skip this song every time I listen to this album.
Now, what a better way to end your album than with an epic song that concludes your album with a bang! That�s a great idea, but it�s a tricky affair. The last song, Knights of the 21st Century, clocks in at over twelve minutes and begins with scary voices and sound effects of rain. So far, so good, this sounds really evil and I want to hear more. The low end chanting gives this album a haunting feel in this really long intro, but then the normal clean vocals come in and bring the song down. At about 2:45 the drummer starts pounding on his bass drum and then a slow and chugging riff enters that I actually really like. This song is actually really good so far, and I�m hoping that they don�t screw it up. For the most part, they don�t, but the song could have been a few minutes shorter and it would have been better. There are plenty of time changes and key changes which will appeal to all of you musicians out there. Oh yeah, there are also some cool guitar solos on this track, and they�re some of the best on the album. This song is certainly a triumph and is ends this album on a good note.
Now that the tracks are all done, let�s go to a good old pros and cons list.
--Some cool guitar riffs and solos
--Blood Bound, Imperial, and Knights of the 21st Century
--The vocals and the cheesy lyrics
--A ton of the songs sound alike
--The bass can�t be heard at allwe
Even though I started talking positively about this album because of the last track, almost this entire album is pretty lame. There are only three songs that I truly like, and the rest just bore me practically to tears. Unless you really like this band, don�t give this album a spin. Go listen to some Dragonforce instead.
Final Rating: 2/5