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Review: Hjallarhorn - Iron Clad Soldiers
Iron Clad Soldiers

Label: Pure Steel Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 50:00
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: September 30, 2009
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.86/5 (77.14%) (7 Votes)

Hjallarhorn (I'd like to hear how this is pronounced) hail from Norway and play old school Heavy Metal. They formed way back in 1993, but this is their first full-length, following three demos that they started releasing in 2004 – no hurry there. :) Lots to like here: No gimmicks, just your traditional instruments of metal torture without any modern-ish parasites. The music flirts a little bit with "light Thrash" (a bit of a Bay Area thing going on here and there), though barebones Heavy Metal is definitely predominant throughout. The guys mix the slow with the fast, with some very emotional slow (at least in part) songs that hit the right notes, especially thanks to the vocal melodies that can't get pretty high on the "catchy scale." The faster stuff is pretty much in your face, sounding a bit disorderly/chaotic at times – this has a little bit of a "garage band" charm that can make you go "fuck yeah!" at times. Some of the material on Iron Clad Soldiers must literally kill live – I can very well see a crowd go nuts over some of the songs here.

The vocals are a bit of an acquired taste, however. The guy isn't the best vocalist out there, and sometimes the vocals sound a bit "wrong", but at the same time there's a bit of an amateur-ish charm that eventually won me over – your mileage may vary. Still, the guy is capable of delivering some damn good vocal melodies here and there. Just like the production and the music, the guy's vocals are rough-sounding, and he can deliver quite a punch when needed on the fist-pumping, headbanging numbers found here.

The main issue is that this is a bit forgettable – good while on, but it doesn't leave much of a lasting impression (though I have the vocals of "Eye of the Storm" stuck in my head.) But it kicks so much ass while on that we can forgive this… hehe Iron Clad Soldiers is a pretty rough album, not unlike what one could hear in the late 70s and early 80s. Fans of overpolished Power Metal will probably shy away from this, but old schoolers who like throwing a rough one in the CD player from time to time are likely to find something to like here.

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