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Hammerfall is a band whose function, in my opinion, has been to keep the spirit of the more straight-forward metal bands of the 80s alive for a new generation. There is very little stylistic evolution at work with bands of this variety, however, the function that they perform is vital as what they do keeps the attention of the fanbase focused on the roots of our genre. Others like Axel Rudi Pell, Dream Evil, Firewind, and a few others also perform this function to varying degrees, but are quite different.
This single features the title track off their debut album in two different versions. The original studio version is excellent by all standards, from the powerful piano intro, to the heavy guitar sections, to the atmospheric and somber verses. The radio edited version, however, is a completely different story. Without the 38 seconds of introductory musical material, this song suffers greatly in terms of it's structure. The ending has also been chopped off, and ultimately what we have left is a song that essentially has no beginning and no end. This song is not meant for radio play unless certain stations are willing to lay it in its entirety, period.
The StormWitch cover of "Ravenlord" is the highlight of this single, in addition to having a much better production than the original 1986 version, Cans' vocal delivery is spot on. The live performance of "I Believe" is not bad, but I don't think it's quite up to standard with most other live releases by this band. It almost sounds like a bootleg, although a very good bootleg, as everything is fully intelligable.
In conclusion, this is a good single but the only real incentive to get it is the StormWitch cover. If you are a die hard fan of Hammerfall, or if you like the earlier Power Metal of the first bands to hit the scene in the late 90s, you may want to pick this one up. However, I wouldn't spend more than $4 on it, which is about the going rate for a used single these days on Amazon.com.