No Sacrifice, No Victory
5/15/2009 - Review by: Hail and Kill
Striking playlists like a hammer dashed against an anvil, HammerFall's gazillionth (actually it's more like seventh) studio opus carries on the noble tradition of, well, uh, every other HammerFall album since "Glory To The Brave" arrived in the late 90's. You just gotta hand it to these Swedes for keeping true to their formula; while their genre compatriots have fallen by the wayside (read: Edguy, Blind Guardian, Dream Evil), these metal templars deliver the cheese fresh from the bottom of the cliché barrel on every outing. Yet by some trick of fate, their recycled approach never gets stale. So in the year of our lord 2009, we find HammerFall still blessed with the literary imagination of 13 year olds hooked on Judas Priest; which is why they are so loved in the first place.
Keeping it true from the first second of music onward, "Any Means Necessary" combines Joachim Cans' ageless pipes with a galloping melody to spin another yarn about renegade warriors. The new members who've replaced departed stalwarts Stefan Elmgren and Magnus Rosen (on guitar and bass, respectively) seems to have had no effect on the band's sound, as HammerFall stay within the straight and narrow path of their Heavy Metal vision throughout the album. You hear their usual crusading zeal animate "Life Is Now"; its old-school tinged follow up "Punish and Enslave" (which wouldn't be put to shame next to a WASP album from the 80's); the run of the mill speed metal on "Legion"; right through the album's token Scorpions-esque ballad "Between Two Worlds."
The finest cuts on "No Sacrifice, No Victory" only arrive past the halfway mark, beginning with the fist-raising, neck-bobbing anthem "Hallowed Be My Name". It's a mighty, slamming, number whose meaty riffs compel HammerFall fans to worship their idols. Judging by its start, "Something For The Ages" promises to deliver the same as its predecessor until the listener realizes it's a speed-driven instrumental that's not overly complex, but still rocking. The title rack "No Sacrifice, No Victory" is. . .there really isn't much to say about the songs here if you've been into HammerFall for the longest time now. "No Sacrifice, No Victory," "Bring The Hammer Down," "One Of A Kind" are Power Metal to the core. But once the epic closer "One Of A Kind" bows out to the band's rendition of "My Sherona," you've just been treated to a dose of good, friendly, HammerFall fun. With this album, the order of the day is: no tongue-in-cheek, no glory.
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