By Colonel Angus

There was a lot of controversy over this record before it even came out.  The cover is a very big departure for the band who up until this point have had their mascot “Hector the Knight” on all of their records.  Many fans thought that this was a sign that the band was also going to drastically change their sound.  To a certain extent, they were right.  The band is less power metal these days and I for one enjoy this release.  "Infected" does have its power metal moments in songs like “B.Y.H.”, “Dia De Los Muertos”, and a bit of “Immortalized” but for the most part, the tracks are more just straight ahead metal.  Songs like “Patient Zero”, “One More Time”, and “666-The Enemy Within” all have a great metal groove but I can see how long time fans would be disappointed.  Hammerfall was known for it’s power metal riffs and “Viking-like” choruses but on "Infected", they only show those elements briefly and quite honestly, not even in full songs.  I prefer this new version of Hammerfall because it has more depth.  The old version, while great, was very one dimensional.  They created a template and stuck to it pretty consistently.  I don’t fault them for that because it was a winning formula but I like the fact that they are stretching out a bit and adding some sounds (even if there is nothing really original in these new sounds). The only let down I have for the whole record is the chorus on “Let’s Get It On”.  The music itself is great but the chorus really lets down what could have the been the gem on the album.

Whether you like Infected or not, Hammerfall has always been a band of quality musicians who put out quality product.  The production is great and each musician knows their way around their instrument.  Joacim Cans has tremendous vocal abilities and he certainly shows them on "Infected".  Oscar Dronjak and Pontus Norgren both riff with the best of ‘em while Fredrik Larsson and Anders Johansson lay down a solid foundation for the rest of the music. I have always thought Anders Johansson was under-rated as a drummer because he always seems to come up with great drum patterns and "Infected" is no different.  I think both Johansson and Cans are the stars of "Infected" but they don’t completely outshine the other players

Nuclear Blast Records has a lot of great music on their roster and Hammerfall has always been up at the top.  I know there will be a lot of disagreement over the direction of "Infected" but I like this new record.  Maybe a compromise between their traditional power metal style with this newer “just traditional metal” style would please everyone but probably not.  Many fans want the old Hammerfall but based on the last couple of releases, it seems that the band is going in this direction.  For older fans of Hammerfall, just listen to this record as just another metal release and don’t compare it to previous disks.  I think that you will find yourself enjoying it more than you thought.  For fans who aren’t quite indoctrinated in to the church of power metal, "Infected" will be right up your alley.