From its earliest days to the present, power metal stalwart Hammerfall has never made audiences wait too long for new albums. Three years is the longest that the band has gone between releasing any of its 11 albums. The band will keep that streak going Friday when it release its 12th album, Hammer of Dawn. Set for release through Napalm Records, the 10-song album offers plenty for audiences to appreciate whether they are seasoned Hammerfall fans or more casual power metal fans. That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content alike, as its current singles have proven. Those songs are just a sampling of how the album’s overall content makes it so engaging and entertaining. ‘No Son Of Odin,’ which is one of the album’s early entries, is another example of how that content makes the album succeed. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Too Old To Die Young’ is another standout addition to the album and will be discussed a little later. ‘Live Free Or Die,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is yet another example of how much the album has to offer audiences. It will also be discussed later. Each song noted does its own share to show the album’s strength. When they are considered along with the album’s singles and with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes the album one more of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums so far.
Hammer of Dawn, Hammerfall’s forthcoming 12th album, is a shining new offering from the veteran power metal band. Its current singles have already done plenty to make that clear. They are just a small example of what makes the record engaging and entertaining. ‘No Son Of Odin,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another example of what makes the album a success. The musical arrangement featured in this song is just one part of what makes the song stand out. The driving guitar work from Oscar Donjak and Pontus Norgren pairs with the solid time keeping of drummer David Wallin and low end of bassist Fredrik Larsson to flesh out the song so fully. The production is to be commended as each musician’s part cuts through so clearly without overpowering that of its counterparts. Front man Joacim Cans’ vocals soar so powerfully, too. His delivery immediately lends itself to comparison to that of Judas Priest front man Rob Halford. The whole of the song’s musical content makes for its own powerful presentation. When the power in the song’s arrangement pairs with the song’s lyrical content, the whole becomes even more engaging and entertaining.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘No Son Of Odin’ is, on the surface, a presentation based on classic Norse mythology. That in itself is interesting enough. On a deeper level though, the song’s lyrical content seems to be much more than that. At least, that is the interpretation of this critic. The deeper meaning comes across as being a statement of celebrating individualism, which is an all too familiar topic in the rock community. This is inferred as Cans’ sings in the song’s second verse, “From the day that I was born/I’ve been misunderstood/I broke new grounds/I set the sails/Played by my own rules/Lightning strikes and thunder roar/I’ve seen my destiny/I’m the hammer/The hammer is me/Pounding to be free/Watch me wind up the power/Relentlessly pursuing my foes/I am fierce eyed and evil/Hell’s gonna follow wherever I go.” From there, he sings in the song’s chorus, “I am I/I am me/Heart of steel/No son of Odin/I am strong/I am brave/Let the hammer pave the way.” The song’s lead verse builds on the song’s second verse, finding Cans singing about not being royalty so to speak, being proud of who he is. He goes so far as to note that “My home lies beneath us/through fire and ice/alone in my fight.” He mentioned along with that, that he had never been to Valhalla. Again, this all comes across as an allegory of sorts about that pride and individualism. If in fact that is the case, then this is truly a unique, original way in which to deliver such a familiar theme. To that end, it makes the song all the more interesting. When it pairs with the fiery energy in the song’s musical arrangement, the song in whole makes for even more interest and proof of what makes Hammer of Dawn work. It is just one of the songs that shows the record’s strength. ‘Too Old To Die Young,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another notable addition to the album.
‘Too Old To Die Young’ presents a musical arrangement that wastes no time catching listeners’ ears. In the case of this song, the sharp guitar line and bass line work with the drums and vocals to lend the song to comparison to works from the likes of Dragonforce, Saxon, and Judas Priest. The harmonies (instrumental and vocal), ensure audiences’ engagement and entertainment from beginning to end.
The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement makes it all the more appealing. In the case of this song, its lyrical content the theme comes across as delivering a message of making the most of life. This is inferred in the song’s lead verse and chorus in which Cans sings, “For as long as I remember/I’ve been paving my own way/Life’s one true defender/Since my first step/Walked wherever I may/Of all the stars in the heavens/I’m the brightest of them all/Always shining/Carry on/Carry on/I will shine a light/Forever and a day/” It is inferred even more as he sings in the song’s second verse, “Turn the amp up to eleven/let your time on Earth be loud/Why limit your sins to seven/Nothing ventured/Nothing gained/Stay unbowed/Wade out in the water/Let us part the raging seas/So come-at-able/Come with me/Carry on/Always strive/Succeed and plan to live forever.” Again, here is a statement that seems to deliver a message of living life; of perseverance and determination. Again, if that is indeed the case, then the song gains even more appeal, especially when it pairs with the energy in the song’s equally enjoyable musical arrangement. The whole here is just one more example of what makes the album that is Hammer of Dawn stand out among this year’s new hard rock and metal albums. ‘Live Free or Die’ is yet another notable addition to the album.
‘Live Free Or Die’ offers audiences a more modern hard rock sound than that of the album’s other songs. The power metal sound and approach is just as present as ever, but there is something about the guitar line here that really makes this song lean more in a modern hard rock direction, too. That balance of modern hard rock and power metal gives this song an identity that is just as unique as the other songs’ arrangements from one another and from this song and the rest of the album’s works. When this notable arrangement pairs with the song’s lyrical theme that openly preaches about the price of freedom, praising those who died for the world’s freedoms, the whole makes the song in whole even more accessible.
As noted, the lyrical theme featured in ‘Live Free Or Die’ preaches about the freedoms that we enjoy around the world while praising those who died for those freedoms. Cans sings of these topics right from the song’s outset, “I am free like an eagle/Spreading my wings in the sky/Protecting the winds that are changing/Therefore, I must give the eye/I know we must defend it/From those who would take it away/There is a price for this freedom/Way more than we wish to pay/Nothing’s free in freedom/Pay the price/There’s no cost reduction to paradise/Live free or die/Come and break the chains/Or do not come at all/Live free or die/Come on/Shout it out and heed the freedom call.” The message continues in the song’s second verse, “By the blood of my brothers/I do solemnly swear/To spread the gospel of freedom/Even if nobody cares/No way to alter the past times/Rewrite our lost yesteryears/Only one thing to remember/Freedom spells nothing like fear/I’ll ignite the fire/Roll the dice/Let us stand together/Break the ice.” If this collective content is not about the noted topic of freedom and honoring those who paid that ultimate price for freedom, then it would certainly be interesting to know the song’s true lyrical theme. Otherwise, it certainly will resonate with a wide range of audiences and do so even more when it pairs with the song’s unique musical arrangement. When the song in whole is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s songs (including its singles), the whole makes Hammer of Dawn a work that Hammerfall fans and power metal fans alike will appreciate from beginning to end.
Hammer of Dawn, the new forthcoming album from Hammerfall, is a work that will appeal widely among the band’s fans and to power metal fans in general. That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike. The album’s singles and the songs examined here all do well to make that clear. When they are all considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the record easily one of the best of the year’s new hard rock and metal albums so far.
Hammer of Dawn is scheduled for release Friday through Napalm Records.
In other Hammerfall news, the band has also announced it is scheduled to launch its “United Forces Tour” alongside Helloween March 22 in Oslo, Norway. The tour, which will take the band’s to cities across Europe, is scheduled to run through May 22 in London, England. The tour’s schedule is noted below.
UNITED FORCES TOUR 2022
25.03.22 NO – Oslo / Sentrum Scene
26.03.22 SE – Göteborg / Partille Arena
28.03.22 FI – Helsinki / Black Box
29.03.22 EE – Talinn / Noblessneri Valukoda
01.04.22 DE – Bamberg / Brose Arena
02.04.22 DE – Hamburg / Sporthalle
03.04.22 DE – Berlin / Verti Music Hall
04.04.22 DE – Regensburg / Donau Arena
08.04.22 ES – Madrid / Wizink Center
09.04.22 ES – Barcelona / St. Jordi Club
11.04.22 IT – Milan / Lorenzini District
12.04.22 DE – Kempten / Black Box
13.04.22 CH – Zürich / Samsung Hall
15.04.22 LU – Luxemburg / Rockhal
16.04.22 NL – Tilburg / 013
18.04.22 PL – Katovice / MCK
20.04.22 BG – Sofia / Arena Armeec
22.04.22 AT – Vienna / Gasometer
23.04.22 CZ – Prague / O2
24.04.22 SK – Zvolen / Ice Stadium
26.04.22 HU – Budapest / Papp Laszlo Sportarena
29.04.22 DE – Bochum / Ruhrcongress
30.04.22 DE – Stuttgart / Schleyerhalle
01.05.22 DE – Frankfurt / Jahrhunderthalle
04.05.22 UK – Manchester / Manchester Academy
05.05.22 UK – London / Brixton Academy
More information on Hammerfall’s forthcoming album and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at: