Written by Alex Mrkonjic
The Sacred Vow
Dethrone and Defy
Built To Last
The Star Of Home
Second To None
Release Date: November 4, 2016
Label: Napalm Records
Oscar Dronjak - Guitars, backing vocals Fredrik Larsson - Bass & backing vocals Joacim Cans - Vocals
Pontus Norgren - Guitars & backing vocals David Wallin - Drums
The new album Built To Last is by far their heaviest album I have heard in a while. However, it does not come without its downside. This being the first album without longtime drummer Anders Johansson, who left the band in 2014 after the release of their last album (r)Evolution, Built To Last does suffer in one big way, and that is its repetitiveness. I love HammerFall, but as a whole, Built To Last sounds no different than their previous records. Now I only listen to a few power metal bands and power metal isn’t my strong suit, however changing things up a bit would have been a welcome addition. For example, how many times do you need to use the word "steel" in one album?
Built To Last does have some big strong points. Previously I stated that this is their heaviest record yet. I stick by that, and you will notice it when you hear tracks like “Dethrone and Defy”, “Stormbreaker” and “Built To Last”. “Dethrone and Defy is by far my favourite song on the album next to “Stormbreaker”. Guitarists Oscar Dronjak and Pontus Norgren are at the top of their game on this album with bone-chilling riffs and amazing trade-off solos. Fans looking for traditional HammerFall classic-like songs will get that with “Bring It!”, “The Star Of Home”, and “Hammer High”.
I like it when certain bands add a power ballad to their records, but sadly “Twilight Princess” is not one of those cases. It is a good song but it was missing the power in the term "Power ballad", so if you are into power ballads, I wouldn’t recommend it. However, you have plenty of other kick ass tracks to make up for it.
Overall, Built To Last has many songs that made me bang my head, play air guitar, and sing along while raising my fists. However, I get the feeling the band is running out of ideas. Built To Last is a good record but like I said, changing things up a bit after this long of a career would have been a welcomed idea. However, if you love power metal and want to listen for yourself, definitely check this record out for yourself.