Sound — 9
HammerFall returns again with their unmistakable brand of power metal, rising up from the sea of melodic death metal bands Sweden is known for. This album's sound is not unlike many of the previous albums, although heavier. This is the first album in which HammerFall tunes their guitars down a full step down as opposed to the usual half-step they've been using on previous albums. The only downfall to the sound is that it gets rather generic at times, but HammerFall seems to work it rather well, so that while it may be generic, it's never truly 'boring.' Particularly with the addition of the instrumental track "Something For The Ages".
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics in this album differ only slightly from their previous works in that they seem to be darker than usual, what with "Punish and Enslave" and the opening to the track "Legion". Aside from that, they're your typical high-fantasy-based power metal lyrics, except for "Life is Now" in which he seems to be singing about his life. That brings me to the singing on this album, which is great as usual. HammerFall used a lot of backing vocals on this album, a lot more than I felt is typical for them, especially on the opening track "By Any Means Necessary". Typical stuff, but they could stand to change it up a bit.
Overall Impression — 10
This album fares pretty well up there with some of the better power metal bands. Some of the songs that really stood out to me were the opening track "By Any Means Necessary", "Between Two Worlds" as the album's power ballad, "Hallowed Be My Name", the guitar-driven instrumental "Something For The Ages" and the cover song as last track of the album (which I won't spoil). The rest of the album is really good, too, but these were just the songs that stood out to me the most. I love that they tuned their guitars all the way down to D as it adds a heavier sound and an almost darker 'edge' to the music. I don't hate very much about it, but like I said previously; they could stand to change up their sound just a bit. If the album was stolen or lost I'd definitely run out and buy it again. For sure.