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Thrashback Thursday: Hammerfall - Hearts On Fire

It can be surprising where some seeds are sewn. If you were to tell someone that members of two of Sweden's most influential death metal bands were in the same group together at one stage, they'd probably think they already know what the music would sound like. Then tell them that the band in question that featured members of Dark Tranquillity and the founder of In Flames was one of the biggest names in power metal and they might not be so sure of themselves. Nevertheless, Hammerfall has included members from these groups and while starting off as something of a side project, as over time become one of Europe's most beloved heavy metal groups, selling thousands upon thousands of albums worldwide and becoming a mainstay of the summer festival circuit. This week we'll be taking a look at one of their most popular songs, "Hearts On Fire."

"Hearts On Fire" is arguably the stand out track on the "Crimson Thunder" album from 2002, which is not the most revered release by the band but nevertheless has its place in Hammerfall history. After the superb debut, "Glory to the Brave" in 1997 and the strong follow ups, "Legacy Of Kings" and "Renegade" in 1998 and 2000 respectively, some fans were a little disappointed with this fourth effort, feeling it was overproduced and formulaic. Despite this, "Hearts On Fire" is generally seen as a good starting point for those seeking to find out about the band or the power metal genre.

It begins with a two punch opening, led by a memorable riff. The verse itself doesn't offer much musically to be honest, but this is where the song is more focused on the delivery of the lyrics, leaving the listener to focus on the story at hand, told by vocalist Joacim Cans. This works in service of the sweeping, almost football chant style of the chourus. Essentially being a song about brotherhood, the chanting of the title works excellently as a unifying cry, aided by additional lines from Cans. After repeating this structure, the song lulls a little into a more hushed take on the refrain, before exploding with energy again. It may not be the most complex song Hammerfall have ever written, but it will stick in the listener's head for days and has become one of the band's best known tracks ever since.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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