Hammerforce - Dice 3.5/5
2. Fury of the Nordmen
3. Malleus maleficarum
4. Fall of Monsegur
5. Pink-minded world
6. Quest to the lonely mountain
7. We are the world pollution
Hammerforce is a Russian band that was formerly known as Legioner, but they never really passed the demo stage under that name and they changed to Hammerforce in 2006. 'Dice' is their full-length debut (released this year), but unlike most Russian CDs that I'm familiar with, it's an English-language CD, as opposed to a Russian-language CD. It's style is progressive power metal, and that too is something that usually doesn't come out of Russia, so in a few different ways, this debut is fairly unique.
The band is fronted by the confident Nikita "Tjalvi" Valamin, whose clear voice kinda reminds me of the amazing Tobias Althammer (ex-Lanfear), though Nikita's range doesn't come close to Tobias' and he also has a bit of an accent present, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, and instead is just a difference from Tobias. So I think Nikita is a good vocalist overall, and he fits progressive power metal quite well.
Musically, there are some keys, plenty of speed, and the CD as a whole is almost entirely upbeat. There are a lot of cool and interesting musical segments, many twists and turns, and even some great guitar solos. Actually, the band is comparable to Lanfear musically too - circa their CDs with Tobias ('The art effect' and 'Another golden rage'). Another comparison is Auvernia, but although Hammerforce is somewhat aggressive, they're not as aggressive as Auvernia and there aren't any harsh vocals. Still, both Lanfear and Auvernia are good general band comparisons and should give you an idea of what to expect from Hammerforce.
There aren't any songs on 'Dice' that I dislike, but at the same time, none of them come close to blowing me away. Most of the songs are solid, with a few of them barely reaching the excellent level. Track 3 "Malleus maleficarum" and track 8 "Piano" are my personal favorites. I must admit, however, that while there are many portions of songs that I like a lot, some of the songs don't completely come together and the CD isn't one of the most memorable I've heard. I still recommend it to progressive power metal fans though, and I'm sure the band's next CD will be even better, as their songwriting skills are sure to improve.
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