1. Patient Zero
2. B.Y.H.
3. One More Time
4. Outlaw
5. Send Me A Sign
6. Dia De Los Muertos
7. I Refuse
8. 666 – The Enemy Within
9. Immortalized
10. Let’s Get It On
11. Redemption

Joacim Cans – lead and backing vocals
Oscar Dronjak – guitar and backing vocals
Pontus Norgren – guitar and backing vocals
Fredrik Larsson – bass guitar and backing vocals
Anders Johansson – drums

Glory to the Brave (1997)
Legacy of Kings (1998)
Renegade (2000)
Crimson Thunder (2002)
Chapter V:Unbent,Unbowed,Unbroken(2005)
Threshold (2006)
Masterpieces (2008)
No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009)

Piano, clavinet and zombie breathing by James Michael
Additional backing vocals by Sam Didier
Female voice in “Patient Zero” by Shanaz
Male voice in “Let’s Get It On” by James Michael

Produced by Pontus Norgren and Oscar Dronjak
Co-produced and by James Michael
Drums recorded at Bohus Studios in Kungälv, Sweden, by Tobias Lindell
Guitars and bass recorded at -s Studios in Göteborg, Sweden, by Pontus Norgren and Oscar Dronjak
Vocals and keyboards recorded at Red Level 3 Studios in Nashville, TN, USA, by James Michael
Mixed at Red Level 3 Studios by James Michael
Mastered by David Donnelly

Released 18/5-2011
Reviewed 17/5-2011

nuclear blast

A new album, the eighth by Hammerfall and surely something of a highlight for many people who like the power metal kind of music. For me I have usually not been bothered by Hammerfall releases and have not heard any album since the Crimson Thunder album back in 2002. What can be striking for many is the cover, it features a hand, a bloody hand reaching towards the sky or at least that is one way to interpret it. It is an interesting cover especially considering that this is the first ever Hammerfall album cover that doesn’t feature Hector on the cover, something I am sure will arouse some of the fans in an unpositive way. When I first got hold of this album I thought it might be a concept album in the area of some infection or something, maybe like the video game called Resident Evil. But it soon showed that I was in error when it came to this matter so I figured it was best to move on.

It all starts in a concept album kind of way with an introduction to the first track with something indicating that the disease is escaping or something in that fashion. Then it breaks loose with more power than I have ever heard from Hammerfall. Hammerfall has generally been playing knights in shining armour kind of power metal with big choruses and choirs. Of course the übermelodic catchy stuff, all of which can be heard in the band’s earlier albums. Infected is a bit different with a slightly heavier sound, a more raw sound, and less choirs, it feels a bit like a sort of evolvement rather than a radical change in sound, the typical Hammerfall trademarks are still there. The band has dumped Charlie Bauerfield for James Michael in order to get a little change and maybe regain some energy and some fresh thinking to the band. The production for this album is modern but not that overly polished as you might expect, it has a little more raw sound image than the earlier works I have heard by the band. The album lasts for little over fifty minutes.

The opening track Patient Zero is a really good and powerful tune, maybe the heaviest ever by Hammerfall. I also think that here we actually can hear that Joacim Cans can actually sing, I have never been very fond of how he sings earlier but here it works really well, he is very good. The track that follows Patient Zero is unfortunately not another one in the same concept but a track called B.Y.H. or Bang Your Head depending on which information you look at, it is a decent song but with very cliché lyrics, almost over the edge of being ridiculous. Next track is the single and video track which is called One More Time and the song is really good, I love the melody, chorus and power of this song. The video however, is rubbish, why the zombies and why such stupid video over all? What the hell were they thinking? The video sucks I think, it is kind of pathetic.

Track four and five are rather forgetful especially the fifth track called Send Me A Sign which is just a cliché ballad that does not do anything for me. Track six is a really good one though Dia De Los Muertos is what it is called and it has a great chorus and is a really good song, one of the better I have heard with Hammerfall. I Refuse is another quite nice track where Joacim sings really well, track eight has way too much of a cliché over it for it to be any good, it is a bit laughable actually. Then we get to the ending eleventh track which is another great one, Redemption is the name of that track and it is a track that does not only end the album in a really good way but it is also a really good track which is worth playing again several times.

I would say that with Infected we see a Hammerfall that has grown up, that have matured, a slightly older and wiser Hammerfall. They are the same but evolved is what I think is a really good way to describe it. I like this new Hammerfall more than I liked the old one and I think I can say that as far as I know this is the best of the Hammerfall album so far. The thing is though, that this album could have been better had it not been for those overly cliché and slightly dull tracks that there are on this album among the good tracks. I think they had the chance to challenge Sirenia for the top spot of the year but it was not to be with this album.

I think this album signifies that the hammer has fallen for the knights and an infection has begun to emerge, with this album we have only had a little taste of this infection but if allowed to grow and develop it will be enough for a significant infection in the future and then maybe we will all say that we have been infected maybe like the zombies in the video.

In the end though I like this infected version of Hammerfall much better than I liked the knights in shining armour so my advice is to buy this album and prepare to be infected as well as spreading the infection further and further.


Label - Nuclear Blast
Three similar bands - Edguy/Gamma Ray/Freedom Call
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm