Review: HAMMERFALL “Built To Last”

Review: HAMMERFALL “Built To Last”

- in Reviews


November 4th, 2016
Napalm Records

Writing an album review of one of your favorite bands is always tricky. The biggest problem is being objective. So, I have found solution: listen album as many times as you can till it gets old and bored to you.

I have been HF fan sice… Forever. The frist song I have ever heard was “Stone Cold”, and it remained one of my favorites. At the concerts I pray to Metal Gods just to hear it.

Two years after they released “(r)Evolution” (Nuclear Blast Records, 2014), 10th studio album “Built to Last” hits the light of the day. New album, new songs, new label.

  1. Bring It!
  2. Hammer High
  3. The Sacred Vow
  4. Dethrone And Defy
  5. Twillight Princess
  6. Stormbreaker
  7. Built To Last
  8. The Star Of Home
  9. New Breed
  10. Second To None

I will avoid any deep song analyze, I would like to focus on HF career and differences, if there are any, comparing brand new album with previous nine.

For you who never listened HF, few short lines…

Band was formed in 1993 by Oscar Dronjak, guitarist, who previously played in Ceremonial Oath. Again, for those who don’t know, Ceremonial Oath is/was extreme metal band (melodic death metal). Former band members formed influental bands such as In Flames and, of course, Hammer Fall, led by mister Dronjak. Form the beginning, they had a vision. Form the first album, Hector, the mascot, was there. Than, he was pushed away from the covers of 8th album, Infected. But, three years later, he was back where he belongs.

HF haven’t change too much at “Built to Last”. From album to album, they sound very fresh.

Earlier his year, Joacim gave an interview for Spark TV where he said:

“The most important thing of all is that there is still a lot of energy, and even though we are in our mid-40s, it sounds like a young, hungry band.”

Each album is anthemic, passionate played and sung, mostly high tempo tunes with memorable ballads (here “Twillight Princess” well balanced with a touch of surprise: flute).

Of course, this album has new elements. Like never before, HF used choir wherever they could. For some, too much, but it still gives another dimension.

Cans haven’t sung this high on previous albums. That is another difference.

“I always try to renew myself when it comes to composing the vocal melodies. ‘Okay, how should I approach this part? Ah, maybe I should actually go up even higher this time,’ which I did in a couple of songs; I never sang as high as I did on this album.”

(Spark TV)

Some critics I red wrote that lyrics at this point are too weak. I will only quote the first song Bring It!:

“No matter what they will say

Forever we march our own way”

And that is the core. HF are playing their own music no matter what the rest of the world will say.

They play it with passion, they play it for fun, but yet they are very serious band. If we turn back to era when HF was created, and that was the period when grunge was slowly fading out and New Metal was born (sorry, but I could never understand what is that all about), we can say they injected life to heavy and power metal. And that is for respect.

Back to lyrics: lyrics have all elements you expect from HF. Yes, there are hammers, swords, dragons, glory, metal…

“Hammer High, this is a freedom cry

Hammer High, no one should ask me why

It’s my life, proudly I will defy

Hammer High until I die.”

(Hammer High)

“Fear the sound of metal

the clash when steel meets steel

We’re renegades, let’s regulate

let’s finish this ordeal.”

(The Sacred Vow)

“Made of steel-raise your swords to the sky

Charge! In the battle-Dethrone and Defy.”

(Dethrone And Defy)

“The dragon awakens the guardian waiting around

Once touched by fire, the flames kissed the dangerous ground.”

“In the dark ages when mankind gave birth to the beast

The demons and wizards united rejected the priest.”


And it continues from song to song…

During the years, band had a lot of line up changes. Actually, from the first line up, Oscar Dronjak only remained. Yes, you red it well. Joacim Cans was not part of the band from the beginning. The first HF singer was Mikael Stanne, who will later rejoined band for a memorable concert in Dalhalla, Sweden.

Built to last was brought by Oscar Dronjak (Rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals), Jocam Cans

(lead vocals), Fredrik Larsson (Bass, backing vocals), Pontus Norgren (lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals) and David Wallin (drums).

European Built To Tour will start in January 2017 in Bremen, Germany.

Templars Of Steel, get ready!


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