Hammerfall - Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Nuclear Blast
True Metal
10 songs (50:40)
Release year: 2005
Hammerfall, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Jeff

Within the last few years, Hammerfall have successfully positioned themselves as a premier power metal band within the European metal scene. With their identifiable sound, polished production and knack for writing catchy metal anthems, they have created a style that many other bands have tried to emulate, only to fail and get lost in the countless pool of imitators. Once again, Hammerfall have declared war on the infidels and delivered a solid piece of true metal with "Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken". The line up for "Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken" is the same as it was for "Crimson Thunder". It consists of Joacim Cans (vocals), Oscar Dronjak (guitar), Stefan Elmgren (guitar), Magnus Rosen (bass) and Anders Johansson (drums).

After several listens of "Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken", I concluded that this release takes on a slightly different direction from where "Crimson Thunder" might have peaked at. "Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken" contains more progressive parts. There is a mix slower songs like "Knights of the 21st Century", to mid tempo songs such as "Bloodbound", and less speedy double bass drum tracks in the vein of songs like "Legacy of Kings" or "Heeding The Call". The choruses seem bigger, more forceful like in "Hammer of Justice" and the continued use of acoustics is expanded on the songs "Imperial" and "Never Ever".

I hear lots of Judas Priest influences in a song like "Fury of the Wild". The riffs and guitar lead effects remind me of those used in "Electric Eye". The opening notes of "Secrets" includes a lead guitar hammer-on/pull off intro, accompanied by an underlying doomy keyboard and male priest like Gregorian chants. One of the most unique songs I have ever heard from Hammerfall has to be the epic but very different styled "Knights of the 21st Century". It's a slow, pounding power chord chugger of a song that picks up in tempo, which includes more rain and thunder effects, as well as chants and a duet of clean and evil vocals between Joacim Cans and Cronos of Venom, respectively. I didn't even realize it was Cronos until I read about his contribution to the album. Cronos had a very bad rock climbing accident a few years back and has been out of the spotlight for sometime (more recently appearing on the Probot release). As much as I love Cronos, his appearance on a Hammerfall album kind of taints and soils the purity of what is true metal. In fact, I had a brief relapse of what another power metal outfit, (Sacred Steel), decided to do when they released "Slaughter Prophecy"; experimenting with clean and death vocals. I don't think that Hammerfall will ever go the way of Sacred Steel, but "Knights of the 21st Century", (although not a bad song and listenable), would have been better suited as a B-side.

On a personal level, I like "Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken" better than the last two releases. "Crimson Thunder" had great production, but lacked memorable songs and "Renegade" had some excellent material but the production on it, especially the drums, was weak. I feel "Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken" combines great production with some excellent song writing and musical performances with the end result being a quality metal album. "Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken" takes albums like "Renegade" and "Crimson Thunder" a step further.

Musical arsenal such as memorable choruses, straight ahead heavy guitar riffs, thundering drums, pounding bass lines and outstanding vocals are what make Hammerfall's "Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken" a must have for any true metal fan!

 

Killing Songs :
Secrets, Fury of the Wild, Hammer of Justice, Take The Black, Bloodbound, Born To Rule
Jeff quoted 80 / 100
Chris quoted 85 / 100
Danny quoted 92 / 100
Jay quoted 55 / 100
Other albums by Hammerfall that we have reviewed:
Hammerfall - (R)Evolution reviewed by Joel and quoted 89 / 100
Hammerfall - Infected reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Hammerfall - No Sacrifice, No Victory reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Hammerfall - Threshold reviewed by Jeff and quoted 79 / 100
Hammerfall - One Crimson Night reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
To see all 11 reviews click here
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