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Review: Hammerfall - Legacy of Kings
Legacy of Kings

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 1998
Duration: 45:07
Tracks: 10
Genre: Power Metal


Review online: March 18, 2010
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.53/5 (70.61%) (49 Votes)

I am surprised how well this album actually holds up. I got this thing about five years ago now, and listening to it still sounds good. HammerFall were/are basically the everyman's metal band, the poster band for cheesy, simplistic 90s Power Metal, and this is still my favorite album of theirs by far. Legacy of Kings is just full of blazing speed, sleek metal riffs and the high, smooth vocals of Joacim Cans, who has never sounded better. It takes its cues from Judas Priest and Accept and a lot of other bands before them, but it uses them in stride, adapting them to the band's own style, which was finally coming into fruition after the juvenile debut album. Everything on here is just fun. Nothing is bad spirited, nothing is shot in the dark, nothing is even remotely negative at all. The songs are simple, but they are loud and infused with several doses of classic metal vigor. Kick ass.

I don't know; there's just something really endearing about this album. It's just so childishly idealistic. These guys are looking toward the positive, with the notion that everything will turn out right and that they'll be the heroes in the end. It's got a lot of heart to it, and I really dig the upbeat feel that these songs have. I mean, these songs are so happy that they could cheer up a fucking cancer patient whose family just got killed in a fire. And whose girlfriend just dumped him. It exudes happiness without fail.

Pretty much every song here is good, albeit not really rising above that to "great." But I can't complain when an album is this flat-out enjoyable. "Heeding the Call" is fast, ripping through the speakers with careening guitar work and Cans' vocals delivered with intensity. The title track is an anthemic pounder with a kick ass chorus and a driving rhythm that makes me want to stand up and pound my chest. Further killers include the Priest-esque "Let the Hammer Fall," with its swirling melodies and booming riffs, the catchy "Dreamland" (that chorus melody is heavenly!), the heavy anthem "At the End of the Rainbow" and the double-whammy duo of the heavy "Stronger than All" and "Warriors of Faith." The two ballads are good enough, and I usually like one of them more based on mood – they're pretty standard, but again, they're enjoyable and heartfelt, so I'll take them just fine.

HammerFall are a lot of things, from enjoyably cheesy to stupidly cheesy. Their later albums sort of lost the plot, and even when they sounded good, it never lasted that long before I was tired of them. But this one has surprisingly stayed with me and never stagnated, and although I've found a bunch of better bands since I first heard this album at the young age of 15, I still put this one on every now and again and rock out. It's good stuff. Stereotypical of Power Metal, sure, but unless you're really trying too hard, hating Legacy of Kings is hard to do. Recommended.

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