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Hammerfall | Renegade | review | metal | Lollipop


Renegade (Nuclear Blast)
by Scott Hefflon

You don't have to get out much to know who these guys are... Many consider them the leaders of the new wave of heavy metal, and while we haven't come up with a clever contraction like NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal), Hammerfall are certainly in the thick of it. Dreamy twin guitar leads somersaulting and blazing across the sky like trick fighter pilots at an air show, chugging, melodic riffs interspersed with those long, dramatic holds in which the guitarist can point out across the audience like RJD used to with that classic "Look out!" pose, and warbling, oft-layered falsetto skippy vocals... I kid because I love. Or at least I like a lot...

It always makes me chuckle that frilly-shirted falsetto is the voice of choice for medieval metal, the epic telling of tales of war and maidens in distress with huge tracks of land and manly exploits of warfare and conquest and riding horseback across mountainous terrain and taking long walks on the beach and snuggling in front of a roaring fire with the one-eyed, half-crazy tavern-keeper's youngest daughter, the one with the rack to die for and the keys to the wine cellar... But I digress. Since Helloween, these kinda fruity, almost glammy vocals have been par for the course, so who am I to complain? And while I'm still embarrassed by the dorky lyrics, ya gotta put your foot up on something, hold your cupped hand high (never figured that one out - maybe a taunting "I have your chieftain's still-beating heart in my hand, and the blood drips down my arm. Look, oh worthy adversaries, and dismay"), and pretend that you don't sound like a squealing sissy as you "belt out" the chorus to "Destined for Glory" or some other rejected Priest rebel anthem. For fans of Stratovarious, Primal Fear, Gamma Ray, and all the other pretty damn good heavy metal bands.
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