Jori : After a time travel of twenty years we found ourselves in the year 1998. A drowning Leonardo DiCaprio is the first to breach the magical billion dollar gross limit in films, a couple of nerds in the US found a company by the name of Google, and in Sweden a heavy metal band is sitting under a few megapascals of pressure to deliver. For how is Hammerfall ever going to top its debut album ‘Glory To The Brave’? Nuclear Blast had its expectations expressed in eeh, well not euros at least, and the explosively growing fan base was extremely curious to what their templars would deliver. Not buckling under the pressure, Hammerfall released ‘Legacy Of Kings’.
Twenty years later it needs no explanation that this album immediately became a classic in Swedish metal history. At the very start of the record the listener was captivated by the whipping ‘Heeding The Call’ and the tough ‘Let The Hammer Fall’. By way of the happy ‘Dreamland’, ballad ‘Remember Yesterday’ and the mysterious ‘At The End Of The Rainbow’, it was a ride from one “classic to be” to another. With ‘Back To Back’ there was an ingeniously powermetalized cover and of course ‘Stronger Than All’ was one heck of a singalong. It was ‘Legacy Of Kings’ that made Hammerfall singlehandedly revive the somewhat declining heavy metal scene. This album broke the way for an entire legion of bands from the 21st century that might not even have existed if not for Hammerfall and ‘Legacy Of Kings’. A whole generation of metalheads including undersigned grew up with this band and this album. Time for a homage to this piece of music history, so though the band and Nuclear Blast.
Of course, ‘Legacy Of Kings - 20 Year Anniversary’ contains the entire album, along with a sound-technical boost. Mainly bass and guitars have a fuller and heavier sound, bringing the album up to the modern standards also featured on the newer Hammerfall albums. And damn, I almost forgot what an incredibly badass album this is! Before I can help myself I am annoying my neighbours by singing along full-throttle with ‘Heeding The Call’ and the rest of this album. After the original work we find a bonus cd with some collected stuff, the covers of ‘I Want Out’ and ‘Man Of The Silver Mountain’, a live medley of some ‘Legacy Of Kings’ stuff and five complete live renditions of the same album, and six demo’s for the album. But the cherry on the pie is located on yet another circular disk. The bonus DVD contains several cuts from the older ‘First Crusade’ and ‘Templar Renegade Crusade’ releases, but also ancient video registrations of several ‘Legacy Of Kings’ but also ‘Glory To the Brave’ songs. Also there is a brand new forty-five-minute interview with band members and old band members about the time around ‘Legacy Of Kings’.
Though I always have my reservations about paying twice for the same product, ‘Legacy Of Kings - 20 Year Anniversary’ is definitely worth your money. The legendary album with up to date sound quality and a whole cartload of extra stuff. If you do not have the original yet, there is not a single excuse left to not make a purchase. ‘Legacy Of Kings’ was Hammerfall at its best and in the meanwhile it has become a piece of musical history that no heavy of power metal fan’s collection should lack.