Hammerheart is an album with an epic sound to it. Some would classify it as Folk- or Viking-Metal. Quorthon’s voice is kind of a cross between screaming and singing; possibly wailing at some points. Although “Blood, Fire, Death” is considered by many to be the first “Viking Metal” album, I feel that “Hammerheart” is the first FULL album that is Viking Metal. “Blood, Fire, Death” is mostly speed metal with a Viking theme. If you crave an epic folk metal sound, then this album is for you!
In Arabian, Myrath means legacy but I can tell you that until today, it will also means ”oriental killers of progressive metal”. Myrath comes from Tunisia and they will probably be the first band from Maghreb which will have a famous international career. Leaded by Malek BenArbia a young talented guitarist who has finished his formation at the famous ”MAI School” of Nancy (France), the band is for me the surprise of the year 2007. Between Symphony X, Adagio and Dream Theater, their first real official album ”Hope” is an amazing release of Progressive Metal. If you pretend to like such kind of music, then you’ll not have the right to miss this album. Myrath’s own style found throughout making this a great release for the Power/Prog Metal genre. ”Hope” starts out with a beautiful intro that really shows the bands love for Western influences (the band hails from Tunisia, Africa) before kicking right in with the crushing riffage of the 2nd song ”Confession”! After that the CD does not stop for the remaining 6 songs that follow! Found throughout the disc are monstrous riffs, soaring melodies, Asian influences, and brilliant backing vocals. This is all topped off with Kevin Codfert (Adagio keyboardist) handling the production, and sound engineer duties. The production on ”Hope” is absolutely crystal clear, ballsy, crisp, and punchy! Intelligent, well written and with a ton of great riffs and melodies, ”Hope” is a damn impressive beginning. I’m sure that the band will quickly become famous and will be signed by a major as soon as possible because definitely this album is one of the best releases of Progressive Metal that I had the chance to listen to lately. Now, all the Metalheads from the north of Africa will be able to show to the world that they know what great Metal is. Thumb up to Myrath for this exceptional release this band will become really big and famous you’ll see, I will not be wrong! The grandeur of this release is that the consistency of quality remains very high over all its eight tracks, the majority of which seem to be the embodiments of a trinity of originality, complexity and magic. I believe most, if not all, of those into heavy Progressive, fans of Dream Theater included, will be in the seventh heaven when navigating through the pitfalls and undercurrents that highlight this wonderful recording. Top-20-2007.
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Make no mistake, Bathory’s HAMMERHEART is one of the best metal recordings EVER! When I first heard HAMMERHEART it utterly blew me away. I bought a copy for a friend and didn’t see him again for four months; he said he listened to it EVERY DAY of those four months — it’s that good! This recording is simply the quintessential realization of metal’s potential.
Bathory is, for the most part, a one-man “band” masterminded by ‘Quorthon’, a pseudonym for Ace Thomas Forsberg of Sweden. Forsberg released a total of 12 legitimate Bathory albums and a handful of Bathory compilations (as well as two hard rock recodings under the name ‘Quorthon’). The music on these recordings ranges from black/speed/punk metal to epic/moody/doom/power metal, obviously depending upon Forsberg’s mood. HAMMERHEART is definitely his magnum opus. Please DO NOT judge this album by his other works like the first two satanic/horror/speed platters or the one-dimensional OCTAGON (which was Slayeresque but with lousy production and non-memorable ditties). Trust me, HAMMERHEART stands alone.
The songlist includes:
(1.) “Shores in Flames,” a blow-by-blow account of a savage Viking village-raid.
(2.) “Vahalla” which shares the basics of Norse mythology in an epic way.
(3.) “Baptised in Fire and Ice” which features fitting punkish-styled verse vocals and a brilliantly implemented low-tuned bridge.
(4.) “Father to Son” which starts out calm enough until a startling and crushing start/stop riff speedily kicks in.
(5.) “Song to Hall Up High,” the debut Bathory ballad; Quorthon can’t really sing, of course, but all his vocals strangely fit the music, passionately and naturally.
(6.) “Home of Once Brave” an emotional slow-paced juggernaut marred only be Forsberg’s inexplicable rip-off at the end of the closing riff for “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (still, I admit, it totally fits!).
(7.) lastly, there’s the hallowed “One Rode to Asa Bay” a potent historical relating of how Christianity was introduced to the Viking culture, which was the death-knell of fantastical Norse religion.
“One Rode to Asa Bay” is a long but simple song; it’s also one of my favorite metal pieces, a masterpiece, in fact. It stands up there with the very best metal songs you can possibly cite (e.g. “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” “A Dangerous Meeting,” “Crown of Sympathy,” “The Cry of Mankind,” “A Celebration for the Death of Man/In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion,” “Wings of Time,” “Beyond the Realms of Death,” etc.).
The production isn’t the greatest; in fact, it was literally recorded in a garage in suburban Stockholm (the so-called “Heaven’s Shore Studio” — yeah, right); but it in no way mars this work of genius.
I strongly encourage fans of all styles of metal to add HAMMERHEART to your listening arsenal, unless of course you only prefer bands like Poison and Warrant (giggle).
Personally, I won’t even take calls from supposed metal fans who don’t own HAMMERHEART and hold it dear.
the only music i`ve heard where i`m transported to earlier times ,preparing a dragon ship ,crashing over cold waves, distant lands on the horizon. This has an atmosphere all to itself,cold,haunting, melodic,passionate.Thankyou Quorthon , you,ve gave me something special…
.. When the wind cries out my name
And time has come for me to die
Then wrap me in my cape
And lay my sword down at my side …