Ferdi : When Hammerfall released their debut-CD 'Glory to The Brave' in the Black Metal-summer of '97, nobody expected it to be the runaway hit that it became. And looking back it was an unlikely success. Five Swedes making German Heavy Metal. Full of clichés, truly honest and sincere, but a bit rough around the edges. Back then nobody could predict that five years later the band would lead the crusade against everything not Heavy Metal.
Crimson Thunder is miles removed from that legendary record. Take Crimson Thunder's production: the band improved their sound ten times. Not by hiring a pop-producer like they did for the disastrous Renegade, but by focussing on their musical strengths and exploiting them. Producer Charly Bauenfeind (ao Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, Saxon) truly had his work cut out making this album sound as good as it does. The rhythmsection is as solid as a rock, the guitars sound very heavy and the overall sound is very rich. The solid production aids the band in sounding more like Accept than Helloween. The opener Riders On The Storm starts with a genuine Wolf Hoffmann-riff, and songs like On The Edge Of Honour and Trailblazers contain the same combination of metallic force and great melodies that made Accept world-famous in the eighties.
I'm tempted to go through this album on a song by song basis, but I'll leave the joy of dissecting this album up to you. Because a joy it certainly is. Crimson Thunder has the true 80s feeling to it, but comes across as a really modern Heavy Metal album. In some respect it is Hammerfall's best album so far, although I must admit that somewhere I do miss the cute charm that made Glory To The Brave such a winner. It would be daft though for criticising an album for actually being better than previous albums, so I'll leave it at that. Let me just say one last thing: miss out on this CD and you'll miss out on one of the best releases of 2002.