Thus we have sweetly nostalgic glimpses of a young Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood in Splendor in the Grass and Marilyn Monroe circa on the big screen, among others. In Pain and Glory, this multi-Oscar-winning filmmaker goes deeper into the past of Mallo to put meaning into a present, where his artistry and well-being are at risk but hopefully renewed with movies still at the heart of who he is. Frequent colleague Albert Iglesias contributes his most lyrical musical score yet.
Sony Pictures Classics puts the film into limited release on Friday.
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They made an album that spits fire from its nostrils and travels you to mythical time dimensions. It feels like a sharp blade made from pure steel, a worthy successor to the tradition of the great bands of the genre. Without any doubt, when this album gets faster, the galloping of a whole brigade is weak compared to it. It is full of passion, strength, feelings and tension. The storming rhythms, epic choruses and melodic parts are a guarantee for genuine, traditional and hot power metal. They have combined the best elements of American power metal bands like Warlord and Heir Apparent with those of European origin Maiden, Helloween, Gamma Ray in a unique way.
A plus for the album is the crystal clear production that allows the band, which by the way sounds particularly bonded, to express their love for heavy metal. Every word he sings is comprehendible and given with incredible strength and passion. The pounding drumming adds more power to the track and to me it is the best moment of the album by far, simply superb. On The Metal Age the guitars make an exhibition of exquisite, skillful sharp riffing while the song that follows and bares the name of the band is doomed to become a classic with its pompous refrain and the amazing breath taking double solos.
The song I Believe is a beautiful, both heavy and melodic, power ballad where Cans makes you believe in the abilities of Hammerfall. There are only a few ones like this out there. The cover of Child of The Damned remains true to the authentic performance although the drummer, Patrik Rafling is by no means Mark Zonder!
Then listen to Steel Meets Steel, do you want heavy riffs, fast solos and a devastating rhythm section, then try Stone Cold. The self-titled track which closes the album is simply majestic.
You close your eyes and let the music take over you. And when the song ends, your hand goes back to the PLAY button. But most important, it proved that back in the womb of power metal was still fertile and strong enough to glorify the brave! In there was a turning point in the world of music, as a collection of younger metal faithful began to abandon the underground death metal scene in favor of a new alternative to the bankrupt thrash scene, which fortunately was finally starting to die off.
Hammerfall is one of the earliest examples, along with their more technically proficient fellow Swedish counterparts Nocturnal Rites, of what I would call the 2nd tier of the power metal rebirth of the late 90s. The very depiction of a lone warrior standing tall amidst a forest of withering trees and decrepit soil is a very good visual representation of the contrast between bands like this and what was going on in the realm of music around them.
Other than that, this band is mostly a throwback to that older style with the advantage of incredible leaps made in recording technology to bring that sound to a young generation. To expect innovation out of these guys is in direct contradiction with what the band stands for, which is a no compromising worship of the original brand of metal that graced the stage in the early 80s.
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The guitar work on this release is solid, though it is not the shred fest that some fans of Yngwie and others seem to have been hoping for. The songs on here are all straight-forward power metal, lacking the progressive keyboard elements of bands such as Labyrinth and Stratovarius, the odd song structures of Dream Theater and the large arrangements of symphonic bands like Rhapsody. The format is a clear, formulaic set of Judas Priest inspired riffs with one of those unforgettable choruses that Manowar would use to pump up a crowd during an encore.
Though not quite as well produced as later releases, this is definitely top of the line Power Metal.
If you like your power metal straight up out of the bag, this is definitely the band for you. But even in my opinionated youth I enjoyed some of their songs, and it was only a matter of time before I decided to go back and give them another chance. Theirs is a strong, riff-oriented boot to the face of the keyboard-driven bands, striking with a strong guitar and bass sound, relentless drumming that while double-bass heavy, is not reliant on it and a nice balance between the vocals and instruments. Chalk it up to listening to too much Malmsteen back in the day, I guess.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention that for all their trueness, they always throw a ballad or two onto their albums, and most leave you feeling as though they were contractual obligations. The album sounds like it was made by real people using real instruments unlike so many modern power metal bands, Hammerfall themselves occasionally included , with minimal extra flourishes.
A worthy, if non-essential introduction to the genre and an excellent diversion from the more extravagant albums out there.
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HammerFall are one of the biggest acts in the power metal scene right now, and are worshipped by power metal fans and loathed by death metal fans- two very good signs. Close your eyes, I will take your hand. Through the river of steel we'll go when the dragon lies bleeding" and their general approach is the classic 'mighty warriors and ferocious dragons", the music on this record is fairly different from most other bands, and also very varied.
The music is based on very solid speed-based riffwork, catchy drumwork with lots of double bass, and very solid basslines, and also features the instantly recognizable voice of Joacim Cans. He's a pretty decent singer, but his doesn't have a very wide range, something that usually is expected from a power metal singer. Nonetheless, he's got a strong midranged voice that works very well in the band. The songwriting itself is pretty varied and very interesting, featuring a several really cool riff sequences and some nice tempo changes in several of the songs, keeping it interesting and varied.
This is probably the album's strongest side, as it sets HammerFall apart from many other power metal acts that suffer from being somewhat predictable. But the songs themselves can sometimes vary in quality, and there are several tracks that feel quite boring and forgettable. Same goes for "Stone Cold". These are good songs, but just don't have the same power as some of their other stuff. The first of the album's two ballads "I Believe" is also pretty weak, despite a very nice solo. The rest is all pretty damn solid though.
The Warlord cover "Child of the Damned" is a heavy can of melodic asskicking. The title track closes the album in a huge fashion; very powerful and emotional don't mistake for 'whiny' ballad.
But the real highlight is the song "HammerFall". Awesome speed metal with a huge epic atmosphere, headbanging guitar rhythms, and that excellent slower bridge towards the end- "Just follow your heart, don't listen to the crowd That's probably the best song I've heard from the band, and it's easily the best track on "Glory To The Brave".
The second highlight would have to be the title track. In conclusion HammerFall brought something new and instantly recognizable to the world of power metal with this debut, and while this is certainly a strong album it is a bit inconsistent, and they would soon get better. Nonetheless, I'd definitely recommend this to fans of power and speed metal alike.
The debut from HammerFall was the largely the start of the huge "True" melodic Metal explosion of the late 90's, even though the main influences of HammerFall were bands from the 80's. The opener, "The Dragon Lies Bleeding" is a great double bass and gallop filled track that contains an excellent chorus and memorable melodies.
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Most of the songs follow the same principle, with "The Metal Age" and "Stone Cold" being a tad slower, but still very melodic. It isn't until "Hammerfall" that we hear the first inclusion of back up choirs. As always with HammerFall, they are used very well and they make "Hammerfall" my personal favorite track on the CD. The token ballad is up next with "I Believe", the similar ballad on Legacy Of Kings is a stronger song, but since this was the debut, they can be forgiven for not perfecting the ballad quite yet- still a solid song though.
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