Infected by HammerFall (Nuclear Blast Records)
HammerFall delve in darker metal territory with Infected, their eighth masterwork to date. This Swedish heavy metal band has come a long way since their Glory To The Brave days, and with the mighty strains of Infected, HammerFall chart a new course of action that is absolutely mesmerizing to behold. This is the first HammerFall effort not produced by long time collaborator Charlie Bauerfeind – instead we find James Michael at the helm, whose noted past work includes production credits with Mötley Crüe, Meat Loaf, and the Scorpions.
One could see right away that HammerFall are not singing about slaying the dragons this time around. Instead a bleaker work is encountered, much along the line of Dio’s vastly underrated Angry Machines. Infected kicks off with the contagious reveries of Patient Zero, a track filled with sonic dynamics and a grand guitar solo towards the end. This one is guaranteed to chill the listen to the very core.
Bang Your Head is up next, a thrilling anthem mixing the glorious HammerFall themes with their newfound sound – destined to be a classic within the band’s mighty repertoire. One More Time is a fist pounding anthem, with dramatic vocals and a chorus that should have crowds all across the world singing along.
The Outlaw is a slamming tune with it’s wildly infectious melodies and resourceful musicianship. The following cut is Send Me A Sign, a power ballad that is absolutely wondrous to behold, featuring a staggering vocal performance from Joacim Cans.
Dia De Los Muertos is heavy and haunting with a compelling thrash underscore. And then there’s the victorious I Refuse, a wondrous triumph of a track in this new metal age of HammerFall.
666 – The Enemy Within would be the perfect soundtrack to any number of epic video games on the market. Immortalized is a mixing of the old and the new sounds, with an imaginative interconnection between the lead and gang vocals.
Infected concludes with the dynamic one-two punch of the explosive Let’s Get It On and the sweeping magnum opus Redemption. Older fans should really be impressed by the progression HammerFall has made within their band. Newer converts will definitely be made as well when checking into HammerFall’s dark and compelling new work. A thrill to the senses, Infected is HammerFall in their finest hour, gearing up for a truly exiting next chapter within a stunning metal legacy of kings.
(Review by Kenneth Morton)
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