Hammerfall - Hammer of Dawn
Napalm Records
Heavy / Power Metal
10 songs (45:45)
Release year: 2022
Hammerfall, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Goat

Coming off the back of the beyond solid Dominion, it's hard not to be a little disappointed with Hammer of Dawn in comparison. Even those that love Hammerfall would admit they can play it a little too safe in an already generic style at times, and there's absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about this, their twelfth full-length. But why fix what isn't broken? and there's absolutely nothing broken about these Swedes' formula of upbeat heavy metal. The galloping, endorphin-releasing heavy metal of opener Brotherhood hits all the band's cliches, from awkward lyrics about "marching through fires of hell/just to be first at the strike of the bell" (?) to undeniably catchy riffing and Joacim Cans' unmistakeable voice. Yet it's effective and infectious, and opens the album well, leading a collection of songs that don't even pretend to be different to the band's dripping-with-cheese metier.

And of course, if you've read this far into a Hammerfall review it's fair to assume that you're not entirely hostile to cheesy power metal! Even if inferior to Dominion there's much to like about Hammer of Dawn regardless, the choral epic backing to the title track raising the hairs on the back of your neck before the grandiose singalong No Son of Odin comes along, sure to be a live favourite. The band are beyond expert at pumping out fist-pumping melodicisms and it's hard to pick a track here that doesn't live up to the standard set so far beyond personal taste - the way that Reveries relies a little too-hard on 'nah nah nah nah nah' ing, for instance. It's still a compelling bit of power metal with some great guitar leads, the underrated talents of duo Dronjak and Norgren more than holding up their end of the band's sound. And when even ballads like Not Today are among the best that Hammerfall has produced, it's hard to be too down on Hammer of Dawn as a whole. As the band say:

"If you don't like it, there is the door
Heavy is our metal, hear our mighty roar"

and when they're producing even throwaway, late-tracklisting cuts as solid as Life Free or Die you can't criticise them too heavily. Not quite up to Dominion, true, but still a solid burst of Hammerfalling metal, Hammer of Dawn is precisely what you'd expect to hear from the band, for better or worse.

Killing Songs :
No Son of Odin, Venerate Me, Not Today
Goat quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Hammerfall that we have reviewed:
Hammerfall - Dominion reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 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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