HAMMERFALL – Threshold

HAMMERFALL - Threshold
  • 7/10
    HAMMERFALL - Threshold - 7/10


Nuclear Blast
Release date: October 18, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Would you, dear reader, admit to having ejaculated on your auntie’s bed during Christmas dinner? No, you certainly wouldn’t. But, if you had to choose between admitting to that disgusting deed and that of being a passionate Hammerfall-fan, what would you choose then?

This comparison is obviously exaggerated, but Hammerfall is clearly the one band – alongside Nightwish, perhaps – which the Metal community loves to hate. The steel-clad Swedes have experienced phenomenal success since they released Glory To The Brave in 1997, and revitalised the entire Classic Metal scene -– all of a sudden it was accepted to wear spikes and leather again. The band has never been one of the most inventive bands around, but has always preached to be “aware” and “proud” of their influences rather than just nicking their riffs, and the guys should have credit for never ever trying to be something they’re not. Unlike other bands emerging at the same time –- a certain Italian band who nowadays carry a very funny name, for example –- Hammerfall never did brag about inventing anything they didn’t, it’s pretty much just about “reinventing the steel,” as Pantera put it.

Threshold is now here, and this is the band’s sixth studio album (being signed on Nuclear Blast they have {of course} also released a shedload of EP’s, DVD’s, silver boxes, LP’s, picture disc LP’s, “exclusive diamond editions” including the bonus tracks you downloaded from their official Web site last week, etc). Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken was a step in the right direction after the rather mediocre Renegade and Crimson Thunder releases. Threshold continues this trend, featuring a solid mix of entertaining Heavy Metal.

The album opens with the very cool title track, a solid mid-to-uptempo thumper with a cool riff and a great chorus. Singer Joakim Cans reaches new heights in terms of pitch on this album, and whether or not you consider this a good or bad thing, it suits the music well. The two pre-released singles -– “The Fire Burns Forever” (the official theme song of the Swedish athletics theme) and “Natural High” (the first official single off Threshold) are okay, although nothing more, but the hard-hitting “Rebel Inside” comes in as a fresh breeze in-between the two tracks. “Dark Wings, Dark Words” is the calmest of the album’s eleven tracks, but isn’t really a true “ballad.” This might be just as good, as Hammerfall has come up with some horrible attempts at that earlier -– the self-mutilating of songs like “Dreams Come True” and “Always Will Be.” Instead, “Dark Wings …” is a slow, majestic number featuring the best vocals on the entire album, and this is a great choice for spicing up the live set.

Another typical choice for the stage is probably “Howlin’ With The Pac,” although this track is nowhere near the album’s top 5. That certainly also goes for the rather embarrassing “Shadow Empire” –- a typical run-of-the-mill up-tempo song, which, together with the successor, the instrumental “Reign Of The Hammer,” comprises the album’s weakest spots. “Genocide” is lead guitarist Stefan Elmgren’s attempt at writing a Malmsteen track, and just in case you were wondering if this rather average guitar player could ever succeed at such a task, he fails greatly. The main riff of this track would definitely make the legendary Swede “unleash his fokkin’ fury,” and an okay chorus is the only thing that saves this track from disgrace.

After four poor songs in a row, “Titan” luckily comes in and makes up for everything. This is another powerful and majestic mid-tempo number, and a great choice for an album closer. Once again, the band shows they still possess the ability to come up with good riffs and melodies, and this is pretty much what this album’s about. Threshold is an album made for playing live in front of hordes of Heavy Metal drunkards, and with that in mind, it works very well. So fetch yourself a few cans of beer, put your prejudices aside and (after you’ve programmed your CD player to skip tracks 7 – 10) enjoy the new Hammerfall album, Threshold.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.