HAMMERFALL – “Hammer of Dawn”
By Colonel Angus
I was a late bloomer when it came to HAMMERFALL. The first record that I purchased was “Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken” and since then, I have not only gone back and gotten their earlier releases but also continued getting each subsequent disk. I find comfort in their brand of power metal and feel as though I know what I’m going to be getting before the first note is played. Many of my metal friends complain that they play it safe and “stay in their lane” too much. My response is that we love bands like MOTORHEAD and AC/DC who stay in their lanes as well. That’s not to say that some records are better than others but if you come upon a great recipe, why change it just for the sake of change.
“Hammer of Dawn” is just what you would expect from HAMMERFALL. Now that being said, there are plenty of stand-out moments on this album starting with the title track and opener “Brotherhood”. The former has a great driving rhythm with the usual Viking-ish vocals while the latter starts off the record in fine power metal fashion. One of the things that I feel HAMMERFALL has mastered is the ability to take Norse lyrical imagery and not make it cheesy. Joacim Cans not only sings it like he means it, he also makes us listeners believe in it as well. “No Son of Odin” is a great example of just that quality that is also featured all over “Hammer of Dawn”. Other high points are the fast riffing power metal of “Live Free or Die”, “State of the W.I.L.D>” and “No Mercy”. While I like HAMMERFALL’s brand of power metal, they add slower material that is more traditional metal which gives the disk a nice flow of different rhythms. “Too Old to Die Young” breaks things up nicely and “Not Today” is almost a ballad (almost). Aside from “Reveries”, which is the only minor misstep (not a bad tune, just not as good as the rest), this record is solid from start to finish.
The band has been pretty consistent in releasing new material every few years and quite honestly, the quality of the albums has been very consistent. My favorites are “Glory to the Brave” and “Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken” (my first intro to HAMMERFALL so it’s naturally gonna rate high) but any of their records are a great place to start. There are definitely a host of quality track on “Hammer of Dawn” so if you were to start with this record, then I’m sure you’ll like it enough to the point of getting the back catalogue. While the band has not broken any new ground with this release makes no difference because they continue to deliver albums full of that classic HAMMERFALL sound – and “Hammer of Dawn” is no different.