Company: Nuclear Blast Release: 2011 Genre: Power Reviewer: Chris Kincaid
A long way off from being memorable
Champions of Power Metal--Hammerfall return with their 8th studio album "Infected". I have to say being a Hammerfall fan since I first heard "Glory To The Brave" I had huge expectations, like I have with their other efforts, going into this release.
Sad to say Hammerfall falls short.
Some will say that when an artist spreads their wings and explores their creative options it's a good thing. In Hammerfalls case they're the champions of Power Metal for good reason--they carry the torch better than any other band out there; keeping it's pulse beating at a rapid fire rate and if something works why screw with it in favor of a more modern approach?
Aside from the dreadful cover art that could be a poster for the movie "Idle Hands" and the fact they've ditched their famed mascot Hector, they've also severed ties with their long standing producer Charlie Bauerfeind to work with James Michael, whose resume of artists he's worked with ranges from the Scorpions and Sixx AM to Hilary Duff and Alanis Morissette.
New producers always signify game changers. Well, out of the 11 tracks featured only 5 are keepers staying the course Hammerfall fans know and love with their galloping riffs, tumbling bass and pounding drums. Fist pounding anthems like 'Bang Your Head', the MMA inspired 'Let's Get It On!', 'Dia De Los Muertos', the axe grinding assault of 'The Outlaw' or the irresistable 'Immortalized', which makes use of their trademark gang vocal harmonizing skills.
But the rest of this offering like 'I Refuse', the lyrically silly '666 The Enemy', 'Patient Zero' or the horribly repetitive 'One More Time' is bleak, lacking any real momentum and brings the flow of hard charging guitars to a halt. While it's not the first time they've shoved slower tempo songs into their albums these cuts tend to suck the life out of Hammerfalls sound, clearly showing James's preference for brooding and depressing tones that prefer to send us, the 'Templars of Steel', off on a detour into uncharted territory that doesn't click.
In the end there are good songs to be found but when the weaknesses are as strong as they are here, they prevail in overshadowing the strengths. It's not a total 360! But it's a long way off from being memorable.
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