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Renegade

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Album Review

As the second wave of power metal stretched on for a period that seemed longer than the genre's original period of glory years, preeminent practitioners like Sweden's Hammerfall recognized that their sound needed sprucing up. A few musical concessions to the 21st century were needed if the group was to remain within striking distance of relevancy. Fortunately, on the 2000 Nuclear Blast release Renegade, Hammerfall took a collective glimpse into the future, turning away ever so slightly from their '80s metal influences. The guitars still gallop and scream, the lyrics still conjure familiar images of dungeons and dragons, but the band does manage some progress while maintaining its loyalty to epic power metal. The updates on Renegade are discernible, but incremental at best. Precision is at a premium, and while the lyrics are still way over the top, there's a universal appeal to hard-charging numbers like "Keep the Flame Burning" and "Living in Victory" that speak to a marginally wider audience, not just obsessive power metal enthusiasts.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Gothenburg, Sweden

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the leading lights of the European metal resurgence in the mid- to late 1990s, Sweden's Hammerfall helped to bring melodic power metal back to the forefront of a scene that was struggling to find its footing amidst the alt-rock/grunge boom. Founded in Gothenburg in 1993 by ex-Ceremonial Oath guitarist Oscar Dronjak -- the dissolution of that band would also help launch another influential group, In Flames -- Hammerfall took some time getting off the ground. Many of its then-members were...
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Renegade, HammerFall
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