Hammerfall - No Sacrifice, No Victory (Nuclear Blast/Riot)

This is an excellent album with many stand-out tracks, and many an ear-worm lurking therein.

Before I sat down to listen to Hammerfall's latest release, No Sacrifice, No Victory, I went way back in time in the band's discography and revisited Legacy of Kings. It was an interesting place to start from because, while you can really see how the band have evolved over the years. These days, their albums are far less raw, but at the same time they don't sound overly engineered, or like they spent more time in post-production than they did early on. I find that it's always a testament to a good band that they can still keep their roots whie simultaneously evolving beyond them.

This release is incredibly catchy. There are some great moments on this album: from the almost chunky, great thematic hooks in tracks like By Any Means Necessary, to the ear-worm goodness of Punish and Enslave, to the very excellent ballad Between Two Worlds, which features Jens Johansson (Stratovarious). If you don't know what an ear-worm is you do now: it's a track that gets in your head and doesn't get out again.

The absolute stand-out track for me, though may I be shamed to admit it, is the band's fantastic cover of My Sharona. Yes, it sounds unlikely, but it has to be one of the best covers I think I've ever heard. That song was just made for a band like Hammerfall to cover.

If you haven't got this album under your belt yet then you need to acquire it if you're even remotely into this shit. It's great stuff.

Hammerfall's No Sacrifice, No Victory is out now on Nuclear Blast/Riot.