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Hammerfall - "No Sacrifice, No Victory" (CD)

Hammerfall - "No Sacrifice, No Victory" CD cover image

"No Sacrifice, No Victory" track listing:

1. Any Means Necessary (3:35)
2. Life Is Now (4:43)
3. Punish and Enslave (3:57)
4. Legion (5:36)
5. Between Two Worlds (5:28)
6. Hallowed By My Name (3:56)
7. Something For The Ages (5:03)
8. No Sacrifice, No Victory (3:32)
9. Bring The Hammer Down (3:41)
10. One Of A Kind (6:14)
11. My Sharona (3:57)

Reviewed by on April 17, 2009

"While ‘No Sacrifice, No Victory’ may not be the best album in HammerFall’s resume, it’s still an excellent listen, and its addictive choruses make it a great choice even for non-power metal fans."

HammerFall is one of those typical power metal bands known for its 80’s style warrior themed music; HammerFall also happens to be a band I’m particularly fond of. One of the things I really like about them is how their gang vocal choruses sound like a bunch of raucous pirates chanting together.

Even though their latest release, "No Sacrifice, No Victory," strays a bit from the band’s formula, even being their first album to reach Billboard charts, it still holds the appeal that makes them one of the best known bands in power metal today.

This release isn’t significantly better or worse from prior albums, but one surprising difference is how much more radio-friendly it sounds. Even for those who aren’t traditional power metal fans, tunes like "Punish and Enslave" should be well received. This track is really more of a hard rock track than anything else, but it, like most of HammerFall’s music, is vocals driven, and easy to sing along with. In fact, the entire album has this sing along quality, one of the reasons why HammerFall is a good choice for fans of 80’s rock and glam.

Traditional metal fans should appreciate "Legion," which mixes death metal growls with a faster tempo, and is something you can sink your teeth into. If the rest of the album is too glam sounding, "Legion" makes up for it. Even the weakest track, "Hallowed Be My Name," is pretty good, with a sound that reminds me of Dio.

What makes HammerFall, and "No Sacrifice, No Victory," such a great listen is that it isn’t the speed power metal that has evolved out of the genre thanks to groups like DragonForce. HammerFall plays mid-tempo power metal at best, and mixes it up with glam guitars, while for the most part avoiding overly long instrumental breakdowns. Most of the songs are four to five minutes in length, surprisingly brief by today’s standards.

For established HammerFall fans, there’s still plenty of warrior theme on this release. "Something For The Ages" opens with a guitar that creates a visual of Highland warriors in a mist-shrouded sky, before a more upbeat, power metal tempo takes over the lead. This track may be predictable, but it is also infectious, and though most instrumental tracks tend to drag, there’s never a dull moment in this one.

The most surprising part of the album is the closer. Eschewing their typical battle themes, HammerFall performs a cover of "My Sharona." The tempo is a bit faster than the original, but overall the sound is very much the same as the original. And though at first, it might seem strange that a group of power metallers would choose such a poppy tune, the sing along, melodic quality of "My Sharona" really makes it a perfect choice for this vocals-driven band.

While "No Sacrifice, No Victory" may not be the best album in HammerFall’s resume, it’s still an excellent listen, and its addictive choruses make it a great choice even for non-power metal fans.

Highs: Infectious melodies with superb lead vocals.

Lows: Not much, though some may not care for the glam style of some of the songs.

Bottom line: A great listen that is sure to have you singing along.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)