Hammerfall - Threshold
Nuclear Blast
Power Metal
11 songs (50:21)
Release year: 2006
Hammerfall, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Jeff

When it comes to Power Metal, the word "consistency" is Hammerfall's middle name.

"Threshold" is Hammerfall's latest release and there is very little deviation musically since Hammerfall's last album, "Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken". Mostly anything and everything we've come to expect from a Hammerfall album can be found on "Threshold"; an excellent, polished recording with solid, punchy production and recording techniques, killer guitar riffs, soaring vocals with clarity, pounding drum patterns, etc.

I think the one dynamic that has changed over the last few Hammerfall releases is the dominant use of speedy, double bass drumming ala Helloween in a majority of songs. This style was more evident on earlier albums like "Glory To The Brave" and "Legacy of Kings". As of late, Hammerfall seem to incorporate a balanced mix of slower paced songs ala Scorpions, using heavy guitar chords with some mid-tempo ones, characterized by numerous guitar riffs and power drumming.

I also feel that alot of the song titles are strongly emphasized during the main choruses with the use of militaristic styled male vocals. Tracks like "Rebel Inside", "Howlin' With The 'Pac", "Shadow Empire" and "Titan" are just a few that will immediately hook you in.

A minor element that I found interesting was Hammerfall's use of harpsichord keyboards at beginning of the title track. The beginning of "Threshold" is given an ominous feel with the use of haunting, male choir vocals. Both of these elements sound like something you'd find on a Stratovarius album.

"Natural High" is one of the few, up tempo songs reminiscent of classic Hammerfall. There is a line in the song that says, "...it keeps on hammering in my head". That is exactly what this track does for me. It's a passionate yet fiery song filled with blistering riffs and guitar soloing.

"Dark Wings, Dark Words" is a slow pounding song that has the feel of doom written all over it. I can't help but envision a clear sky suddenly being covered with dark gray clouds and a passing wind.

"Reign of the Hammer" is an instrumental that sounds like it could easily be used as the theme song for a TV show or something. Very Maiden-esque in style with the harmony guitar parts, which are very melodic and not over done.

The beginning of "Genocide" has an almost classical, heavy metal feel ala Yngwie Malmsteen with the arpeggio runs. It then kicks into some mid tempo double bass drumming and aggressive riffing.

Overall, "Threshold" is a very good album, but nothing that is going to blow you away. I'm not sure where else Hammerfall wants to go musically. I mean, they could go symphonic, write longer songs, or even include death metal vocals. However, I don't know that I'd want them to do any of those things. I do wish they would have some more speedy double bass drumming songs like some of those found on the first two albums. I think they have found there niche in the Power Metal world, which gives them an identity and style that is easily recognized by any listener. "Consistency" seems to work for Hammerfall.

Killing Songs :
The Fire Burns Forever, Threshold, Rebel Inside, Howlin' With The 'Pac, Natural High, Shadow Empire, Genocide
Jeff quoted 79 / 100
Chris quoted 69 / 100
Mike quoted 58 / 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 - Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken reviewed by Jeff and quoted 80 / 100
Hammerfall - One Crimson Night reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
To see all 11 reviews click here
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