Yes! This is the most Hammerfall have felt like Hammerfall in awhile. Every band has a right to experiment a bit, and maybe it is just having Hector back on the cover art, but (r)Evolution feels like a big winner. White hot solos, soaring near-Manowar lyrics, the occasional plodding riff with gang shouted battle vocals ala “Ex Inferis”…it’s all here. “Winter Is Coming” may be a phrase that is a bit overused these days, but I’m always down for a good Game of Thrones reference. While The Sword beat the trend on Gods of the Earth with “To Take The Black” a few years prior to the show, this Hammerfall song is one of the better sing-a-longs of the year (this side of Iced Earth’s “If I Could See You Now” from mighty Plagues of Babylon). “Origins” and the absolutely memorable, epic single “Bushido” are power flourishing classic heavy metal about following the truth in your heart and honor to victory.”Live Life Loud” is a command and challenge to do just that, an epic case for the health of heavy metal from Joacim and the boys. This record just hit #1 in Sweden. Can we just agree that is fucking awesome? These guitar parts mean business.
From Accept’s Blind Fury to this Hammerfall monster to the aforementioned Iced Earth, there is so much to be said for classic influenced metal in 2014. Everything sounds big, clear and yet not too polished. Album closer “Wildfire” is a total thrill of hyper darting licks and crazy key hits plus some of the most soaring vocals since recent Stratovarius. “Bushido” as a codde might seem a bit distant in origins from Gothenburg, but the sense of devotion and purpose will infect you. Never surrender. There might even be a hidden Stryper shout out, as at one point the lyrics say “I’m a soldier under command.” I’m cool with that.Hector can be proud to hold his hammer high knowing this release is indeed worthy.
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These songs have some really catchy moments but in a good way, never sacrificing the metal impact by bowing to some overwrought hook. The guys make it look easy, but when “Wildfire” moves into the 2:30 mark solo section you will get goosebumps as pre-bridge brief solo sets up a complete mood of inspiration and contemplation before a full inspired longer solo takes it all home and the song explodes back to a finale. This is the kind of attention to detail and fans that we need for this genre to once again rule the world. “In the rising sun I stand…”