Built To Last

HammerFall are a heavy metal band from Sweden formed in 1993 by guitarist Oscar Dronjak after he left extreme metal band Ceremonial Oath. With the interest in power metal increasing as the nineties progressed, HammerFall would become a huge influence within the genre, releasing their debut album in 1997. The band have built a massive following through their career and have gone on to release eight more studio albums alongside a number of live and compilation albums. With their twentieth year anniversary coming up, HammerFall have released their tenth studio album 'Built To Last'.    
With the opening song titled 'Bring It!', you'd expect an attitude laden, aggression fuelled storm...and that is almost what you get. Full of power and pace, 'Bring It!' does pack a punch and throws in a drop kick just for good measure. Catchy and addictive, HammerFall are back and are blasting hard. The more melodic 'Hammer High' is a majestic anthem of a song that will have their hordes of fans chanting and screaming along. Clean and clear vocals over superb guitar work and galloping rhythms, 'Sacred Vow' takes on the baton and races along at a head bangingly addictive pace. 'Sacred Vow' is reminiscent of the late eighties evolution of European power metal and is an excellent song that has the "magic" ingredient to make you smile a mile wide with pride. For nigh on twenty years, HammerFall have stayed true to their roots and produce top notch heavy metal albums. This album is no exception as a turn of pace hits hard and 'Dethrone And Defy' gallops ferociously along at a blistering pace. 'Dethrone And Defy' is speed metal at its very best.    
No power metal album these days seems to go by without a ballad, and in the shape of 'Twilight Princess', HammerFall give their fans an opportunity to lower their fists and raise their lighters high in the air. A vocal performance that borders the operatic, soaring towards the symphonic, is faultless in its delivery. And the guitar solo, is, well is, just wow... The aptly titled 'Stormbreaker' is a rougher and much more tougher song that sets a scorching pace as it rumbles by. Heavier and harder than any prior song on the album 'Stormbreaker' is a ruthless barrage of thunder. The title song 'Built To Last' is a mid tempo thunderous stomp that to coin an age old phrase is simply "out of this world". The heaviness batters you as 'Built To Last' cuts its way viciously through the airways. And the heaviness doesn't end there...'The Star Of Home' is a rocket fuelled romp. It's almost like the ballad ('Twilight Princess') was a turning point in the vibe and feel of the album. Since then, the songs have become much heavier and the head banging has become much harder.    
HammerFall may be a twenty year old outfit, but the stuff they are made out of was made to last. 'New Breed' is a hard rocking slab of anthemic power metal with a prophetic chorus that has so much meaning for new and old bands and fans alike..."new breed, old breed, we are all the same breed, heavy metal running through our veins" will be sung, chanted and screamed all around the world. All good things must come to an end is an old expression and unfortunately 'Built To Last' (the album) does come to an end in the shape of the powerful power ballad 'Second To None'. Another faultless, operatic vocal performance over superb musicianship, 'Second To None' ends the album in glorious fashion. HammerFall may have been built twenty years ago but they were most definitely built to last . . .    
Overall, a cracking album of explosive power and speed metal that is catchy and addictive and will have you head banging very hard for a very long time.    
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
Reviewed For Metal Gods TV