Hammerfall Master Pieces

Hammerfall’s latest CD is a collection of cover songs recorded and released over the years, compiled here simply to gather them all on one disc, and to promote the original artists and their material — the "master pieces” of the album title. Some of the selections need little or no introduction but Master Pieces includes a few of Hammerfall’s lesser-known favourites as well, plus two previously unreleased (and more recent) covers. Songs like Judas Priest’s "Breaking the Law” or Rainbow’s "Man on a Silver Mountain” fall in line with tracks by Stormwitch and Picture, all performed in a hybrid style that splices Hammerfall’s power metal with some of the originals’ aesthetics. This works best with the less familiar numbers where Hammerfall don’t have to compete with an iconic metal or hard rock performance. More tribute album than interpretation, Master Pieces is a musical curiosity but is far from essential listening. (Nuclear Blast)