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Hammerfall - Built To Last album review

Prime pomp from Sweden’s power metal kings

Hammerfall know what they’re doing – and how to do it better than most. This is their 10th studio album, and the ability to go right across the power metal spectrum is very much in evidence. Oscar Dronjak and Pontus Norgren combine for some passionately accomplished dual guitar moments, across which Joacim Cans sounds sturdy on vocals, clearly benefiting from working with Sixx:AM singer James Michael in LA. As soon as Bring It! thunders over the horizon you know this is going to be an album that presses all the right buttons. Hammer High has an irrepressible rhythm that brings to mind early Accept, while Twilight Princess is a tight power ballad that never becomes soppy. There’s a real thrust and zest throughout; for all the brickbats thorwn their way over the years this is a band who accentuate their side of their metal domain without ever being drawn into unnecessary experimentation. The pace does slow down on tracks like The Sacred Vow and Second To None, but producer Fredrik Nordström ensures there’s no drop in energy. Built To Last shows it is possible to sound fresh without changing the basics. And that’s what Hammerfall fans want.