Few bands have been forced to take as much crap as Swedish metal heads Hammerfall. I might not be their biggest fan ever, but the criticism towards the band is sometimes so harsh and mean that you feel sorry for the guys. Because love them or hate them, you have to give them tribute for never backing down, no matter what any mob might have to say about them. Make no mistake, these guys released their debut album Glory To The Brave in 1997, when grunge was fading out and nu-metal started to rear its ugly head and the title of that album was very suitable as coming out as a heavy metal band in 1997 was a very brave and bold move. And the glory? Well, let’s say that Hammerfall created a huge fan base with that album – and its follow-ups Legacy Of Kings (1998), Renegade (2000) and Crimson Thunder (2002). But, I can might as well admit that I was never that impressed with the band. Quite the contrary, I though that Hammerfall was nothing but an ordinary metal band in the second division, but their big fan-base said otherwise. No matter what, Hammerfall will always have my respect, see, this band brought metal back, more or less all by themselves – at least in Sweden and Scandinavia. They kept their long hair, leather pants and devil horns in a time when you either wore flannel and a goatee and looked like you had been living on a diet of heroin your whole adult life and played the music that was the soundtrack to that – depressing stuff – or turned your hat backwards, sampled music and talked to a drum machine while you acted really angry. For shitloads of young people, metal was introduced by Hammerfall – they were to teenagers in the mid 90’s what Iron Maiden and Judas Priest was for me and my friends in the early 80’s.