'Built to Last' is HammerFall’s 10th studio release. However, this is my first foray into the band and boy, was it a lot of fun. The album kicks off with the 80’s throwback "Bring It." It seriously rings of Dio-era Sabbath with a riff and chorus that will be stuck in your head for days. Next up is "Hammer High" which will make you want to sing along to the chorus while swinging a mug of your favorite ale back and forth. This song is seriously addictive.
"The Sacred Vow" starts off a bit slower but quickly picks up pace with a tale of defenders protecting their kingdom. This is the most varied track yet. The verses will make you want to speed in traffic with another sing along chorus and a great slower part in the middle. The fourth song will have you wanting to march into battle against frost giants, "Dethrone and Defy" is a blast both literally and figuratively.
And now we come to the most unique song and my personal favorite on the record, "Twilight Princess." It would probably considered a ballad if it wasn’t so dark and moody. This song will make you melancholy and has one of the most beautiful guitar solos I’ve ever heard. The mood changes quickly though as "Stormbreaker" brings the tempo way back up and is as heavy as the title suggest.
The title track feels like it was written specifically to have a back and forth response between the band and audience at live shows, at least that’s how I imagined it driving around town shouting the chorus out my window. Remember earlier what I said about swinging ale and marching into battle? "Built to Last" encompasses both with your free hand fist pumping. "The Star of Home" is another European power-metal shredder that leads into another heavily 80’s-inspired tune in "New Breed." Finally we have "Second to None" which might have the best vocal performance of the collection and definitely has a lasting impact and a triumphant bravado that will leave you feeling it long after the record is over.
I had a ton of fun digging into this release and will definitely start clawing through the back catalog of Hammerfall. The songs are meaty, but never too long to lose you as some of their contemporaries can. The playing ranges from solid to great throughout, the lyrics are a blast and the signing is on point.
'Built to Last' will be released on November 4th via Napalm Records.
Stand out tracks: "Bring It," "Hammer High," "Twilight Princess," "Built to Last" and "Second to None"
HammerFall will be touring North America next spring with Delain. Check the banner below for dates and click it for tickets!
HAMMERFALL - Hammer High (Official Video) | Napalm Records