Hammerforce - Access Denied

Hammerforce Access Denied cover
Access Denied
Metalism Records
When I first saw the cover artwork of this album, I thought that this was something from the 80s. Possibly a re-issue? The cover artwork is so into the 80s that another cover of an album that I can’t recall now came into my mind. Anyhow, the story is totally different as Hammerforce is a power metal band from Russia which started out in 2006. This is their second work which has been both in English and Russian. Firstly, the English album was released and now, almost 7 months later, the Russian one. The only difference between them is the lyrics and that on the Russian edition, the keyboardist & songwriter Nikita Merzlyakov sings on six tracks (1,2,3,5,6 & 9) and the singer Dmitriy “Ian Breeg” Yanovskiy on the other two (4 & 7). “Reflections” (track 8) is a very interesting and melodic instrumental track.
“Access Denied” can be characterized as a classic power metal, as they retain all the power metal clichés of the European scene. But, (thankfully) they have embellished their so called typical power metal with lots of electro/trance/dance (!) elements along with a few prog & symphonic ones. The synth sounds are all over this album making the whole outcome a bit too intense and over the top at times. I like the variations that the electro/trance features add to the album but they should have been used more carefully in my opinion. The album was produced, mixed and mastered by Nikita Merzlyakov and the result is excellent. Heavy, punchy & vigorous!
Another plus here is the band’s new vocalist Dmitriy “Ian Breeg” Yanovskiy who appeared on the English version of “Access Denied” for the first time. He has an amazing range and a very powerful voice. This guy sounds like a European one. I couldn’t tell the difference. His accent is great too. Hence, there are two “ingredients”, the vocalist and the electro/trance parts, which make this album somewhat more interesting than your average everyday Euro power metal release. If they also work on their hooks & melodies more & with precision, then they’ll be ready to take the next big step. Their third album will show the way… so I’ll be waiting…