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Hammerfall - Hammer of Dawn Award winner

Hammer of Dawn
by Kevin Lewis at 21 March 2022, 7:23 AM

Swedish Heavy/Power Metal legends HAMMERFALL are back with a killer new album! Formed in 1993, “Hammer of Dawn” is the twelfth studio album. Released February 25, 2022, via Napalm Records, “Hammer of Dawn” is ten tracks of epic metal at its’ finest. From melodic to heavy to progressive to powerful, HAMMERFALL create a sonic landscape that provides the soundtrack to a heroic journey.

Right from the start, “Brotherhood” is a fast-paced treat with some serious double bass drumming setting the tempo for a rhythm that is destined for glory. The vocals are clean and solid as steel. The chest voice, the soaring falsetto, all of it is classic power metal. The dual guitars playing off each other, trading off solos, those fit more into the traditional heavy metal realm.  That blending is done with supreme skill.

Hammer Of Dawn” starts with a keyboard intro, then the chugging guitars take over. The bass is plodding along under the riff, holding down the bottom end beautifully. The drums keep marching, pushing everything forward. This is such solid songwriting that you immediately know these guys have been doing this for a long time. This is the sound of a well-oiled machine creating excellent art.

For a bit of spice, HAMMERFALL bring in vocal legend KING DIAMOND for a guest spot on “Venerate Me.” Joacim and King, both fantastic singers in their own right, combine for harmonies that are just incredible. Once more, there is excellent dual guitar solo work. The screams the guitars, the chugging rhythm, they all work together to make this one of the best tracks on a really good record. There is so much to love in this song.

Shifting to the milder end of their repertoire, “Not Today” is the ballad of the record. The melodic tones and slower tempo give this song the feel of a turning point in the story. This is when the epiphany strikes and the protagonist realizes the journey is not complete and they must keep going, stay in the fight.

Live Free or Die” is the will to fight to end song. The drums are so good in this song. The bass chugs along like a third guitar, really beefing up the riff and giving it a much bigger sound. The backing vocals, present throughout the record, really shine on this track. Here, they act more like a complete choir, providing a real foundation for the soaring falsetto as it races to the end.

No Mercy” is the classic heavy metal song. Tons of attitude, soaring vocals and blazing guitars over a solid rhythm. This is the song, when played live, will have great crowd interaction. After Joacim yells “no mercy,” the crowd will scream back “no mercy for you.” They won’t be able to resist. This is the song they will be waiting for, just so they can take part in the show.

HAMMERFALL have been making excellent music for almost three decades and are one of those bands that just gets better and better as they go along. They know what the fans like and they give it to them. Rock solid rhythms over killer riffs with powerful vocals, all rolled into an epic tale where the hero emerges victorious. These guys are tried and true warriors of metal. Hammer Of Dawn is another testament to their legacy.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  10
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

1. Brotherhood
2. Hammer of Dawn
3. No Son of Odin
4. Venerate Me (Featuring King Diamond)
5. Reveries
6. Too Old to Die Young
7. Not Today
8. Live Free or Die
9. State of The W.I.L.D.
10. No Mercy
Joacim Cans – Vocals
Fredrik Larsson – Bass
David Wallin – Drums
Oscar Dronjak – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Pontus Norgren – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Record Label: Napalm Records


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Edited 30 January 2023

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