With "Renegade", Hammerfall have released an unsurprising album full of metal anthems with titles like "Templars of Steel", "The Way of the Warrior" and "Raise the Hammer". Well played, well written, well produced, so there's nothing to complain.

Or is there?

"Renegade" in fact has the same strengths and weaknesses as their previous efforts. The strengths are powerful riffing and generally great singing, the weaknesses are their poser tendencies and sometimes dodgy singing. The singing, indeed, is usually at a high level but sometimes, especially in a cliche ballad like "Always Will Be" and in "The Champion", Joacim Gans' singing traverses into areas where it oughtn't: Slower, more restrained or something high singing. His voice just totally fails to convince when he does that.

In general, though, "Renegade" is a powerful album that nobody who loved their earlier CDs full of powerful metal hymns and sing-along choruses will fail to appreciate.

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Written November 2000


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