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Hammerfall - Masterpieces (CD)

Hammerfall
Masterpieces
by Grigoris Chronis at 02 June 2008, 9:37 AM

I can recall year 1997, with the news spreading fast - via record store owners mainly, no Net days - that Nuclear Blast would strike hard with a new Swedish band playing 'true' European Heavy/Power Metal in the vein of the 80s 'cult' heroes. Then, Hammerfall hit the stores, we 80s lovers praised the WARLORD cover inside but kinda doubted 'bout the act's over-polished sound and ultra-clean vocals; but - eventually - hailed HAMMERFALL's debut LP/CD with much of hope for the future.
Time passed by, the band now achieves platinum status with overloaded sales and countless recognition worldwide, old-school fans like me still buy the albums but do not put enough of trust in the band's ideals while…the youth of today still gladly follows HAMMERFALL and (why not?) supports a band that - want it or not - both revived some of the glorious 80s days plus they opened some new paths on how Euro Power Metal should be played for the new generation. Would live without 'em, but - truth is - HAMMERFALL is, at least, a Metal act.
This compilation consists of tracks the band covered in its albums, as B-sides in singles, for tribute CDs plus a set of three newly-recorded cuts. In terms of statistics, there's enough of interest ('omitting' track No.15): five of the 'original' bands released their debut album in the 70s, while the rest did burst out in the 80s. One of them is located in Japan, five come from the American continent while the rest hail from Europe (most of them form Sweden). If you'd ask a 30-years-old-plus 'still Metal' fan, he'd probably recognize all of them. An 'once a metalhead' guy would have difficulties in remembering e.g. STORMWITCH, PICTURE and HEAVY LOAD. A today's teenager would probably 'match' not more of 25% of the original bands, while - last but not least - a juvenile 'digging in the 80s' metalhead would as well 'have avoid' checking e.g. CHASTAIN. Last last last: most songs come off the 'Heavy Metal' genre 80s term, with one or two being 70s Hard Rock and at least one bearing the 'Hair Metal' title.
The music? HAMMERFALL consists of fine musicians, in all levels: instrumentation, gear, smartness…plus a 'studio' team willing to come up with the finest result regarding today's 'true' Metal needs. The takes are more than good, the new ones - Flight Of The Warrior, Youth Gone Wild and Aphasia - are impressive, too, and the overall feeling I re-got from this bunch of tributes is that…
…Masterpieces is a 'must' for the new generation of their Metal devotees. They'll have their HAMMERFALL playing and singing, while the chances will be high to 'dig' further for one or two of the originators. Average fans can act based on their wallet. People in their 30s already have half of the original discographies, I guess, so there's no need to benefit from this combo, unless they'd like to check it out for their own historical necessities. For me, Masterpieces was a good reason for a trip to nostalgia. I thank HAMMERFALL for this plus they - eventually - still enjoy my kindness…
P.S.: Swedish musician Roger Pontare participated in 2000's Eurovision contest with the song featured here (applies for When Spirits Are Calling My Name). He climbed up to rank No.7.

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Tracklist:
Child Of The Damned (WARLORD cover)
Ravenlord (STORMWITCH cover)
Eternal Dark (PICTURE cover)
Back To Back (PRETTY MAIDS cover)
I Want Out (HELLOWEEN cover)
Man On The Silver Mountain (RAINBOW cover)
Head Over Heels (ACCEPT cover)
Run With The Devil (HEAVY LOAD cover)
We're Gonna Make It (TWISTED SISTER cover)
Breaking The Law (JUDAS PRIEST cover)
Angel Of Mercy (CHASTAIN cover)
Rising Force (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN cover)
Detroit Rock City (KISS cover)
Crazy Nights (LOUDNESS cover)
Nor Vindarna Viskar Mitt Namn (Roger Pontare cover)
Flight Of The Warrior (RIOT cover)
Youth Gone Wild (SKID ROW cover)
Aphasia (EUROPE cover)
Lineup:
Joacim Cans - Vocals
Oscar Dronjak - Guitars
Pontus Norgren - Guitars
Magnus Rosen - Bass
Anders Johansson - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
     


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