By Albert Mansour
The five piece Swedish band Hammerfall started in the late 90s as a power metal side project of members from bands such as In Flames and Dark Tranquility. No Sacrifice, No Victory is now the band’s seventh full-length studio album and marks the debut performance of new axe man Pontus Norgren (who replaces Stefan Elmgren)and the return of bassist Fredrik Larsson, who had originally played in the band from1994-97. Jens Johansson, one of the greatest metal keyboardists of all time, is a guest on two songs here and also has a family connection – he is the brother of Hammerfall drummer Anders Johansson. Of course, the Johanson brothers’ first band was the 80s Swedish power metal band Silver Mountain, and Jens is now currently playing in Stratovarius.
This eleven track cd is a little on the cheesy side of metal and with a cover of a track from the new wave/rock band The Knack (1979’s “My Sharona” there is a little bit of extra cheese to complete this cd, but it sure does taste good. No Sacrifice, No Victory is a solid album and arguably shows the best form Hammerfall have been in for many years. This album showcases a band ready to bring their hammer down on anyone who thinks otherwise. It’s also worth noting that the cover artwork this time around was created by Sam Didier, well known for his artwork on the covers of the computer games Warcraft, Starcraft and the Diablo.