Hard Reviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Hammerfall - Renegade
(Nuclear Blast)

All it took was for Oscar to tell me about how absolutely fabulously and perfectly the title fit with their warrior and the castle and the axe and horse, and I shut down, Hammerfall really playing into the grave, a joke that was fresh for one album. Recording with Michael Wagener in Nashville has made no difference whatsoever. The sound is the same, songs at the same, ridiculous lyrics are the same. Hammerfall might have been the first power metal band but their unwillingness to purchase a cheese detector has resulted in them being quickly passed on and over, way back like half an hour after the novelty of Glory To The Brave tickled our fancies as something novel: a novelty.
Rating 5

Baltimoore - Original Sin
(Lion Music)

Baltimoore are part of that whole sorta-sized tangle of classic rock revivalists from o'er yon. This is record five from the sporadic project-headed Swedes (12 years since inception, six years since the last album), and as usual, it is the domain of journeyman Bjorn Lodin, a man who sets his stamp wherever he lands, due to his distinct, Rod Stewardship. The music around him is that cool confound of AOR, power metal, blues, funk (there are even Glenn Hughes ties with this band), softer melodic rock and as mentioned, classic rock in all its many flavours. Which is why it works a steady timeless charm. And don't let the new-agey one word songtitles fool you, this is a linear collection of conventional songs (even the lyrics are sufficiently rock 'n' roll; mismatched to the artsy titles), gracefully guitary, classy use of keyboards, all elevated by Lodin's soulful phrasings. See www.lionmusic.com/baltimoore for more info.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 4