The sound is stripped-down, tasteful, NWOBHM-influenced classic sounding Heavy Metal, with plenty of double-kicks and guitar solos. Its not too cheesy or over-the-top but somehow still feels really bombastic and fun. Loveable singer Joacim Cans, provides melodic, enjoyable and not-too-shrill vocals over the top. Oscar Dronjak’s iconic rhythm guitar style pulls the whole thing together with long ringing Power chords and memorable, hummable riffs.
The production job is excellent, with a perfect balance between instruments and a clear, clean sound for the time. Best of all, the songwriting is extra special here, these are songs with a lot of replayablity and you can listen to this record over and over again without getting sick of it. Many of these songs have turned out to be concert classic over the years. Everything about this album is classic. Even the figure on the album cover, Hector the Paladin, went on to become the band’s mascot and return on most of their artwork ever since.
Highlights include the absolutely intensely catchy ‘The Dragon Lies Bleeding’ as well as the Warlord Cover Song “Child Of The Damned” and the band’s self-titled anthem “Hammerfall.”
Overall; Hammerfall’s debut is an absolute classic, its well-written, well-produced, masterfully performed and immensely re-playable. It is an absolute must-have for fans of the band and the subgenre, and I highly recommend giving it a listen if you haven’t heard it yet.