HAMMERFALL has done it again. This Power Metal outfit wasn’t about to release a sound scape of easy listening, calming, ocean waves… no way. “No Sacrifice, No Victory” (released March 24, 2009), is Power Metal with several exclamation points after it. For anyone new to Hammerfall, they are similar in musical style to that of Helloween, a long standing originator of this Power Metal genre. With approximately 15 studio albums behind them, (not counting EP’s, Greatest Hits or Singles), Hammerfall on this new release, sound as if they are hell bent on dominating the world with their Power Metal brand. I am not about to get in their way, if anything I will raise my Metal fist into the air and cry out the lyrics to “Hallowed Be My Name” and be glad I did. If you are totally into Power Metal and cannot become inspired by “No Sacrifice, No Victory”, well, then you are not into Power Metal music at all.
In my Metal opinion, I find beauty to be an attribute of the musical sound of Power Metal. (Yeah, I did say beauty… let’s not get carried away here). On “Something For The Ages”, if one cannot hear the beauty in the melodic guitar leads and solos, then I will stand alone with my belief. (From this day forward, I shall call it Metal beauty). How many Metal bands can make a church organ sound cool in any song? Hammerfall can… on “Between Two Worlds”, courtesy of Power Metal veteran Jens Johansson. Now, do not hesitate to think for one Metal second, that Hammerfall does not hand unto us a heavy, Power Metal album… they do hammer down the heavy, the power… the Power Metal. The background vocals throughout are trademark and at the upmost heightened level throughout “No Sacrifice, No Victory”. Without these backing vocals on high, it would not be Power Metal. If I was to choose one track off this album that carries each crucial characteristic of Hammerfall’s Power Metal, it is “One Of A Kind”. The sweeping and confident lead vocals of Joacim Cans coupled with the musical totality of this band make this song a signature example, for me.
I found it to be a cool surprise, that Hammerfall added the cover version of “My Sharona” to this new album. (Not that Hammerfall is new to cover songs, their “Masterpieces” album is nothing but Vintage Metal cover tunes). The Knack originally released this song on their “Get The Knack” album, (circa 1979), a band and album I always felt was at least a decade ahead of their time. (I found this vintage album at a thrift store a couple months ago… mint condition and 50 cents too). Not to get stranded here, I really do admire Hammerfall for covering “My Sharona” and recognizing a true classic, a song that bordered and teetered on Punk, New Wave and Rock – an interwoven treat of a band is celebrated here by Hammerfall, The Knack should feel great about now. As for the cover version by Hammerfall? It Rocks, very well indeed. I have made a new rule about this “My Sharona” cover song… I must always play it extremely loud for maximum listening pleasure. Will Hammerfall resurrect “My Sharona” and once again make it a #1 hit single? Of course not, yet who cares? This song, being the last track on the album, is a grand way to end ”No Sacrifice, No Victory”.
From the high, all enveloping lead and backing vocals, to the searing and soaring guitar leads, numerous and melodic solos, combined with the groove and thump of the rhythm section – add the keyboards and organ for the sensory surround sound that gives Power Metal it’s name… you will have ventured into the Metal world of Hammerfall’s “No Sacrifice, No Victory”.