Hammerfall band photo 2011

HAMMERFALL – Infected

Hammerfall - InfectedWhen Hammerfall started in the early 90’s, I thought of them as a bit of a joke. I could hear that the guys could play and I knew that they were serious about their Metal, but I always thought that they sounded second-rate. Today when I think back on the big success that they had, a success I could never understand, I know that Hammerfall was to the kids then, what Iron Maiden was to me and my friends when I was a kid. But still to this day, when I hear their older songs, I really can’t grasp them. Besides, I always thought the production of their albums was too weak. I still do. But something happened when they released their last album No Sacrifice, No Victory. The sound was much bigger and fatter and had more depth and the songs were much stronger. So with the release of this, their new album, I became really curious, especially when I heard that they had hired Sixx A.M. singer / guitarist / songwriter James Michael as producer.

At first glimpse, the production sticks out the most. It’s very well produced and the sound is big and feels very much alive. The songs don’t hit you directly and after one listen you’re left standing with a big ”So?”. But the album grows already after another spin. ”Patient Zero”, the opening track is very good, catchy and heavy. ”Outlaw” is one catchy song, ”I Refuse” is a great hard rock song, ”666 – The Enemy Within” is great metal, but almost symphonic at times and ”Redemption” is real good, a heavy song that leans towards gothic style a bit. On the other hand, there is stuff like ”B.Y.H. (Bang Your Head)” that is not crap, but such a huge cliché it’s embarrassing, ”One More Time” which is, for some reason, the first single. The song is dull, doesn’t go anywhere and doesn’t feel like a hit at any point, ”Send Me A Sign”, a cheesy power ballad and a pointless cover and ”Let’s Get It On”, which is really bad. And here lies the problem. Hammerfall’s material is too uneven and even though their two latest albums are their best work to date, they never seem to write an album that is great all the way through. The good thing, though, is that they’re getting better and better which is quite the opposite to many other aging rockers who seems to get worse and worse. Who knows, maybe next time around, they will release their magnum opus.

Jon Wilmenius (6/10)

Tracklist:

01. Patient Zero
02. Bang Your Head
03. One More Time
04. The Outlaw
05. Send Me A Sign
06. Dia De Los Muertos
07. I Refuse
08. 666 – The Enemy Within
09. Immortalized
10. Let’s Get It On
11. Redemption 

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