“Steel Meets Steel – Ten Years Of Glory” by Hammerfall

Artist: HammerFall
Title: “Steel Meets Steel – Ten Years Of Glory”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 10/23/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

Journey with me now as we walk with torches in hand through the corridors of Metal’s caverns and hidden passages in the castle that HammerFall built. Their fortress stands high on the brink of the abyss at the end of the rainbow where its secrets are safely guarded by the templar’s of steel who are all blood bound to protect the legacy of kings. With hearts of fire this crimson thunder shall be a flame kept burning until the threshold is crossed and leads to a hero’s return. For ten years now the mighty HammerFall has been bringing us tales of Knights and Kings, Forgotten Lands and epic battles all for the sake of honor and glory and of course the purity of Heavy Metal music. Now you might be thinking that this sounds quite a bit like the kind of stuff that Manowar has been doing for decades and while I’ve liked that stuff myself at times, I have to admit that in recent years that I have found HammerFall to be more of a refreshing difference when it came to the Heroic Metal genre. I think the larger appeal in how HammerFall does their thing is based on how they focus on the epic nature more in their storytelling during the song rather than by executing long and sometimes unending forays all for the sake of “majesty”. Too many epics can get a little boring if you ask me and by keeping most of their songs at standard length HammerFall is able to kick your ass and leave you wanting some more. With seven chapters written in the bands book of Metal lore they now proudly present “Steel Meets Steel: Ten Years Of Glory”, a thirty song retrospective anthology that gives the world their best and brightest material and it’s a perfect way for all of their existing believers to reflect back on the bands accomplishments for the causes of Metal. Across the years we have seen the band change in the way of members on a few occasions and these musicians all make an appearance across the tracks on these two discs. As 2007 draws to a close we find the lineup set as Joacim Cans (vocals), Oscar Donjak (guitar), Stefan Elmgren (guitar), Fredrik Larsson (bass) and Anders Johansson (drums). Historically speaking all members save Johansson has been in the band since they began recording. Larsson however would leave in 1997 only to be replaced by Magnus Rosen, who he would in turn replace in 2007 when the bassist decided to move on. Larsson kept himself busy for a couple of these years by serving in Arch Enemy while Chris Amott was on his musical sabbatical.

The two CD’s feature something for everyone and it’s sure to please the hard core Power Metal and Fantasy Metal fans without question. The newer fans can think of this as a personal history lesson in all things HammerFall and should be aware that with many of the believers own favorites already in place, they are off to a safe journey along this path that has been forged in fire and steel. Given there are only seven albums to focus on the managed to cover a lot of ground by presenting these thirty songs. I am hopeful that in the future we will find other bands delivering a package such as this one in terms of quality content. The band has remastered all of the tracks and even included four new ones with “Last Man Standing”, “Restless Soul”, and “The Abyss”. There is also a re-recording of the track “HammerFall”, from their debut album “Glory Of The Brave”. As you might expect, all of the new songs continue along the same lines of the bands previous work and should help keep the fans at bay while they await the bands new studio album which is set for sometime in 2008. A twenty eight page booklet comes with the release and it’s loaded with photos from across the bands career and has liner notes about their history. They also list where each track comes from and who the lineup was on it and to top it all off we get the lyrics for the new tunes as well. With “Steel Meets Steel” the listener gets to relive the glorious battles of the past while planning future campaigns with a sword in hand. Those listeners can also proudly raise the horns high with the other hand if the mood strikes them. This must have collection allows Metal fans worldwide to strike like a hammer of justice. Congratulations on the past ten year anniversary HammerFall, we look forward to seeing what you do for us going forward.

Track Listing:
1. The Abyss
2. Last Man Standing
3. HammerFall v2.0.07
4. The Dragon Lies Bleeding
5. Steel Meets Steel
6. Glory To The Brave
7. Heeding The Call
8. At The End Of The Rainbow
9. Legacy Of Kings
10. Let The Hammer Fall – Live
11. Templars Of Steel
12. Renegade
13. Always Will Be
14. Keep The Flame Burning
15. Riders Of The Storm
16. Hearts On Fire
17. Crimson Thunder
18. Hero’s Return
19. Blood Bound
20. Secrets
21. Fury Of The Wild
22. Never, Ever
23. Threshold
24. Natural High
25. Dark Wings, Dark Words
26. The Fire Burns Forever
27. Restless Soul
28. The Metal Age – Live
29. Stone Cold – Live
30. HammerFall v.2.0.07 – MPEG

Official Website: www.hammerfall.net

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