HammerFall
Crimson Thunder


2.0
poor

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
October 19th, 2006 | 23 replies | 8,814 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


Within the last 11 months, power metal has become one of, if not my favourite genre of music. Aside from the cheesy lyrics subjects that many bands use, there is very little I dislike about power metal. I can't get enough of the melodic guitars, high pitched vocal style, the high speeds, the upbeat tempos, the powerful mood that it emits, I enjoy it all. That said, there are a few bands I cannot get into. Take Rhapsody for instance. Definitely a talented band, but I can't dig their "Hollywood metal" style or their insipid lyrical approach. Sweden's Hammerfall is another band I just cannot get into. They're constantly being praised as leaders of European power metal, with releases like Glory to the Brave and Crimson Thunder, but I'm just not seeing where this praise comes from.

With 2002's Crimson Thunder, Hammerfall took all of power metal's most ridiculous clichés, and mixes & mashes it together. The result: a boring, average album from a boring, average band. The music is both very simple and very weak, containing few memorable moments. Songs like Riders of the Storm and Crimson Thunder plod on and on seemingly without anything driving it. It has that standard power metal sound, yet it's dumbed down to the point where you'd want to put it down after listening to the first few songs. Sub-par melodies, harmonies and riffs plague Crimson Thunder, an album which requires the opposite to maintain any sort of interest. Truly an unacceptable recording from one of power metal's so called experts. The only song that manages to create interest and excitement is the Hearts of Fire. I do have to admit the intro is pretty good, and it features the best riff of the album. But aside from that, the album is very lacklustre, and very uninspiring.

If you even know the slightest thing about Hammerfall, you'll know that their lyrics are cheesy. The too go hand in hand perfectly. Cheese – Hammerfall. Hammerfall – cheese. However, their writing does not age very well. Oh no, the whole steel, honour, Templars, destroy the evil, glory ride lyrical approach gets really stale, really fast. There is very little variety until Dreams Come True, a sappy ballad that is just as cheesy as the likes of Riders on the Storm and Hero's Return. Normally I don't mind cheesy lyrics such as those by the likes of DragonForce and Helloween, but the difference here is that both of those bands make up for it with an excellent musical aspect, where as Hammerfall seems like they're on autopilot. I think they could have spent a lot longer refining their work, but hey, if unoriginal mediocre lyrics are what they were aiming for, then they certainly have succeeded.

However the worst part about Crimson Thunder is quite easy to identify. Vocalist Joacim Cans has a comically high pitched voice that while fun to laugh at, just destroys any momentum that the band might have built up through their riffs or harmonies. Just check out the single, Hearts on Fire. Despite probably being the most memorable track on the album, it could have been much stronger if it featured a singer who had some power in his technique. Instead, we're stuck with helium induced singing for the better part of 11 songs. It doesn't help when Cans' voice has very little variance in it, and gets more and more irritating as time goes by. But despite that, it isn't ALL bad; there are still golden moments, such as when Joacim wails "We hold our rebel banners up with pride!" Good Lord…

I like listening to power metal, I like it a lot. Chances are, I'll like most of the stuff I'll listen to, to a certain point. But Hammerfall is one of the exceptions to that. With atrocious riffs, laughably bad singing, dull song writing, lame lyrics, everything that's wrong with power metal can be found here. Crimson Thunder is quite a poor album and has very little, if any, redeeming factors. With albums such as this and Chapter V, it is very hard to see why Hammerfall has been hailed as such a great band, as neither album, particularly the former, display anything that would suggest it. Quite a disappointing record. Don't bother picking this up as there are plenty of better power metal albums worth looking into.

Recommended Tracks:
Hearts on Fire



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user ratings (149)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
wikuk
October 19th 2006



1110 Comments


Awesome review. And check out my Clayman (in flames) review, I just added it.

Thor
October 19th 2006



10176 Comments


Hammerfall is terribly mediocre.

Mikesn
Emeritus
October 19th 2006



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

True that.

south_of_heaven 11
October 19th 2006



5433 Comments


Good job Mike, looks like I'm not missing out on much here.

Mikesn
Emeritus
October 19th 2006



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks

You aren't missing anything here, no. But their new album isn't that bad. Probably a 3.

Ross22
October 19th 2006



1596 Comments


I think Hammerfall is pretty good though, Ravenlord and Hearts on Fire are awesome.

Dethtrasher
October 20th 2006



2211 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hammerfall is Sweden's greatest metal band nowadys (according to the general public). I hate this band, I think that they sound like a crappy PM-clone.

Mikesn
Emeritus
October 21st 2006



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Haha, no way is Hammerfall Sweden's greatest metal band.

Dethtrasher
October 21st 2006



2211 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's true! This is the only band that shows up on TV a little now and then. The Swedish people are so sold on Hammerfall, why I don't know.

freudianslipknot
February 17th 2007



803 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I don't like this record. It is just so ordinary and uninspiring. I have a friend who really likes Hammerfall - so I really tried to give this a chance . . . but it's no use . . . when I think of Sweden, I think Opeth, amon amarth etc etc. Man a lot of great acts originate there. This is just not one of them.

Good reviewThis Message Edited On 02.17.07

Altmer
October 30th 2007



5652 Comments


Is this worse or better than Renegade?

Because Renegade is so meh.

Mikesn
Emeritus
October 30th 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I don't know, I haven't heard Renegade

It's probably exactly the same, though.

BallsToTheWall
October 30th 2007



44164 Comments


I only have Chapter V: Unbent from Hammerfall but love it.

Dragonforce89
December 31st 2008



326 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

hearts on fire is decent as best.

BludgeonySteve
June 26th 2009



558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You all piss on the one Hammerfall album that I really really like? Pff. Honestly guys.

*sulk*

Jayxsnoogans
December 15th 2009



72 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love this album......everyone hates the posterchild


ForTanis
March 15th 2010



3 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This was the first Power Metal I every heard.... It is still in my Cd player, a true classic. Who cares if the lyrics are "cheesy" ITS ABOUT THE MUSIC! Granted they play a simpler, slower form of Power Metal that in no way means they are inferior to other power metal acts. Being faster or more technical is not always best, Hammerfall brings their own sound to the genre, and it is GREAT.

KjSwantko
December 4th 2011



9054 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is a 3, but Title track is epic as fuck and bumped it up to 3.5

XfingTheSullen
March 6th 2012



2372 Comments


Hearts of Fire is so terribly cheesy and bad. Daamn. If you want some terribly cheesy heavy metal which is enjoyable for a change, check Axxis - Paradise in Flames. Shit's soo fucking cheesy and dumb but omg is it fun. And the vocalist doesn't sound like a fucking daddy.

KjSwantko
March 6th 2012



9054 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hearts ON fire



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