|Review: Hammerfall - Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken|
|Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: July 21, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Rated 3.08/5 (61.67%) (24 Votes)
I don't hate Hammerfall, I just think they are massively overrated. They get credit for being there when the Power Metal tide started to come back in, and they showed that there was still money in real metal, breaking the Death/Black stranglehold that had been in place since the early 90s. But let's be real here: Hammerfall are just not a great band. A good one, yes, but not great by any stretch.
So here we have their 5th album, grandly titled and much anticipated, but really just another Hammerfall album. There are two great songs on here, one or two that suck, and the rest are OK. Things get started with the ill-chosen opener "Secrets", which is so generic it will put you to sleep. I mean it has nothing memorable about it at all. "Blood Bound" is better, with a simple but fun shout-along chorus. "Fury Of The Wild" is one of the crackers here, as it just kills with cool riffs and a great chorus. "Hammer Of Justice" is OK, but never really kicks into high gear.
"Never. Ever" is another one of Joachim's sucky love ballads, and by now we know to skip those. "Born To Rule" is pretty darned good, as is the slower, heavier "The Templar Flame". "Imperial" is an extremely dull two minute acoustic bit that is neither catchy, nor impressive. Snore. Fortunately it is followed by the other killer track here, the awesome "Take The Black", which is a fist-pumping, head-banging winner right through.
Much has been made of the epic "Knights Of The 21st Century", which as Tony pointed out, is really just an 8-minute song with a couple of minutes of atmospheric bullshit tacked onto either end. The guest vocals by Venom's Cronos are a treat, but the song as a whole is pretty plodding and uneventful. As a try at an 'epic' I have to call it a failure.
The production is pretty good, with a less overproduced sound than "Crimson Thunder", though the guitar tone is not that great. Joachim sounds a bit weak, but that's par for a Hammerfall album. One thing that stuck out at me was how lame most of the leads are on here. They are not badly played or anything, just extremely cliché and uninspired.
So we have a decent album here that will no doubt satisfy HF fans all over, as it is a bit better than the uneven "Crimson Thunder", and in fact harks back to their older material quite a bit. In the final analysis I have to say "Chapter V" is fun, but not really that impressive overall. If you're a fan, you will love it, but if you never liked them before, this won't change your mind.
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