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HammerFall: Dominion

There was a period where HammerFall was a really important band for me. The 1990s were a bit of a barren waste musically for me. I really hated grunge and living in the UK I had to endure Britpop, most of which, but not all was utter bilge. If I ever (adopts Chris Jericho voice) EVER have to listen to "She's Electric" by Oasis again thoughts and prayers will be required for whomever inflicts it on me. Then HammerFall came along.

Glory to the Brave, Legacy of Kings, Renegade, Crimson Thunder followed by the One Crimson Night live album/DVD. Holy great runs Batman! HammerFall restored my faith in music and metal in particular after a quite a fallow period. I think it is fair to say that I don't worship and adore their albums from Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken to Built to Last quite as much although they all have their moments. I carried on buying them and seeing the band as often as possible, which in the UK isn't nearly enough but that awesome blinding love wasn't quite there any more.

Then I bought the vinyl version of Dominion before I was asked to review it and once again I am ready to saddle up and follow the band on their Crusades. I think the success of Dominion is in the back to basics approach in the songwriting and performing, not that HammerFall have ever been likely to break out any free form jazz moves. Maybe it's that the actually-quite-brilliant Pontus Norgren has finally found his place within the band, maybe it's because the band have remembered exactly what HammerFall is all about, maybe it's that middle-age has given the maturity and confidence to just be themselves but Dominion if the best HammerFall album for fifteen years.

Anthems are back, back, back in abundance in songs such as "Dead by Dawn", "Scars of a Generation", which might be the best Judas Priest song since the turn of the millennium, the title track and single and pretty ludicrous "(We Make) Sweden Rock" and yes, there are of course a couple of ballads in the vein of "Glory to the Brave", both of which remind us that Joacim Cans remains, at forty-nine years old arguably the gold standard for power metal vocalists. I very much suspect this will be very high on my year end list.

Track Listing:
  1. Never Forgive, Never Forget,
  2. Dominion
  3. Testify
  4. One Against the World
  5. (We Make) Sweden Rock
  6. Second to One
  7. Scars of a Generation
  8. Dead by Dawn
  9. Batteworn
  10. Bloodline
  11. Chain of Command
  12. And Yet I Smile

Added: September 9th 2019
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 781
Language: english

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