Hammerfall - Dominion
Napalm Records
Heavy/Power Metal
12 songs (50:29)
Release year: 2019
Hammerfall, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Purveyors of finest Swedish cheese since their true metal debut in 1997 brought some life back to a flagging genre, Hammerfall have become something of an institution. Although their albums are fairly similar in style and sound (with the exception of 2011's still surprisingly odd attempt at a change-up Infected) they are generally of a decent to high standard, and if you enjoy the band's sound on their own terms then you're sure to have a good time with a new Hammerfall record. As (toe)curlingly embarrassing as power metal can be, there's a solid songwriting unit at the heart of the band that gives the hammer-pounding anthems an extra infectiousness and charm, which is more than on show here with the eleventh Hammerfall full-length. Opener Never Forgive, Never Forget is a solid, typically epic Hammerfallian pounder with lyrics about the Vietnam war far from the usual fantasy metier, but it's the following title track where the album really picks up. Kicking off with a chugging Judas Priest riff and continuing to allow the guitars dominance between Joacim Cans' usual majestic vocals, the track lyrically tackles the fall of Satan and will make for a wonderful time live, particularly with that excellent guitar solo and singalong chorus that soon gets stuck in your head.

Albums like this stand or fall based on the songwriting quality, and thankfully Hammerfall bring all their tricks to the table. The contrast between the intense, ominous anti-religious Testify and the more epic metallic anthem One Against the World, representing the band's later and earlier periods respectively, may be subtle but it is present and makes for a more varied listen than you might have thought the band capable of. And while the wannabe-Eurovision-esque bit of silliness that is (We Make) Sweden Rock may roll a few eyeballs it's still a fun, catchy song that fits in the tracklisting well and is certainly less energy-sapping than the following romantic ballad Second to One, the album's only real weak spot. At over fifty minutes it's unnecessary, especially when followed by the likes of galloping thunderer Scars of a Generation, the sort of power metal rocker that the band could probably write in their sleep by now, and Dead By Dawn, sadly not a Deicide cover but a fun little mid-paced heavy metal chugger. Brief interlude Battleworn could have been left out too, a completely unnecessary intro to Bloodline which is one of those Hammerfall songs that is perfectly loveable but close enough to being a rewrite of Legacy of Kings that it's hard to ignore. All metal bands of this age become self-referential to some extent or other, and although Hammerfall have arguably been rewriting the same album for years now their love and passion for power metal still shines through, giving late-album widdly highlight Chain of Command and uplifting album closer And Yet I Smile that extra bit of oomph. As before, so again; another fun album from the Swedes that's far better than their reputation would have you expect.

Killing Songs :
Dominion, Testify, Scars of a Generation, Chain of Command
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Hammerfall that we have reviewed:
Hammerfall - Hammer of Dawn reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Hammerfall - (R)Evolution reviewed by Joel and quoted 89 / 100
Hammerfall - Infected reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Hammerfall - No Sacrifice, No Victory reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Hammerfall - Threshold reviewed by Jeff and quoted 79 / 100
To see all 13 reviews click here
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