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Raise your sword and shield to the mighty Swedish troupe Hammerfall, whose latest 11-track endeavor THRESHOLD once again revisits the land where power metal reigns supreme. On the quintet's sixth release, there's no shortage of humungous guitars, tales of epic battles, and melodic metallic vocals that display both clarity and power, even if the material like "Howlin' with the 'Pac" and "Rebel Inside" are somewhat cringe-worthy, slightly cheesy, and lack that bite. Fret not, metal warriors, tracks like "Natural High" and "Reign of the Hammer" redeem the band in spades, reeling you back into the days where denim jackets and mullets were all the rage in fine form. Horns up for this one, children of the beast.
- Mike SOS