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Review: Hammerfall - Crimson Thunder
Crimson Thunder

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2002
Duration: 51:22
Tracks: 12
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: December 5, 2002
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Crimson Thunder

Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (34 Votes)

Hammerfall... I think I'm not too far off if I say that half the metal community loves them, and the other half hates them. The third album was quite a departure from the sound of the first two albums, but most people regarded it as weaker. "Crimson Thunder" is more of a return to their winning formula, although I must say that I found that the lyrics were beyond cheesy (up from just cheesy :))... Let's just say I wouldn't blast this in my car with the windows open! :) Also a bit too much repetition on some of the choruses, not bad for a couple of listens, but if you listen to the album repeatedly for an extended period of time, it can become annoying (trust me on this one.) Joacim Cans' vocals haven't changed, he's adequate but his voice has a limited range. There's quite a bit of choir singing on this, and I'm 50/50 on this - sounds very good on some songs, but very bad (or simply way too cheesy) on some others.

Musically we're back to the power metal-ish heavy/speed sound of the first two albums. Fast and precise, not groundbreaking but very entertaining and catchy - if you're not headbanging to some of the songs, you'll at least be tapping your foot. Sometimes the songs are a bit repetitive and could have benefitted by being shortened a little bit, but it's nothing to lose sleep over (and I suspect that me having listened to this album all day may have a little to do with the tiring effect of the repetitiveness... :)) Just like on "Renegade", I could have lived without the ballad, the romantic crap just doesn't fit in there. Anyway, musically no surprises here, the guys seemingly having decided to play it safe. Not necessarily a bad thing. ;) As an added bonus, there's a decent cover of "Detroit Rock City".

Reading back, I have pretty much highlighted the negative, but it definitely is a good album, and it's better than "Renegade" (which wasn't that bad to begin with.) I'm not sure if I'd put it above "Legacy of Kings" yet - that album's only crime being that it was way too close to "Glory to the Brave". But to put it simply: If you hated Hammerfall before, this album won't change your mind about the band, so don't waste your time. If you liked them before, you'll definitely like this. Simple as that. :)

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