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Hammerforce, a Russian progressive power metal act from St. Petersburg, released their second full length album in March of 2013, titled “Access Denied”, which has received fairly favorable reviews thus far. I for one found it's blend of progressive power metal elements with electronic, almost dance style elements quite refreshing. Fast forward to October of 2013; yes a mere five months later, the band decided to release a Russian-lyric version of “Access Denied”, called “Доступ Закрыт”. You guessed it, that mean “Access Denied” in Russian.
Since I already reviewed “Access Denied” earlier this year, I'm not going to delve super deep into the band's music. To rehash, it's a very energetic power metal album with tons of keyboard embellishments and synthesized sounds that border on electronica. It seems the order of the day is for bands to go all symphonic and orchestral, but Hammerforce steers clear of that gimmick. Honestly, within the first forty seconds of the album, you're greeted with the synthesizer sounds in the background that almost sounds like it came off of Rockwell remix (you know, the guy who did “Somebody's Watching Me”). While it is in the background, it lends a much different feel to the music than most power metal acts.
The music is fairly typical power metal, albeit energetic and fun. The band runs the gamut between speedy double kick drumming and palm muted chugging on “Масс-медиа”, fast-paced yet bouncy blazing like on “Твоя Война” and the stereotypical balladry on “Размышления”. There are some fun yet straightforward leads strewn throughout the music, but nothing mind blowing. Honestly, the biggest draw to this album is the pairing of speedy power metal and electronic synth music. It all fits together much better than you would believe.
“Доступ Закрыт” is basically an homage to Hammerforce's Russian (and Cyrillic script using) fans. This is the same album full of the same music and the same nuances, only sung in Russian. I'm actually quite shocked at how Dmitriy Yanovsky and Nikita Merzyakov were able to maintain the powerful performance of the original album in a different language. The original album showed only Yanovsky handling the microphone, but this around, vocal duties were split between the two, giving a much more dynamic performance. Even with the Russian vocals, it still calls to mind the performances of Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray) during the “Somewhere Out in Space” era. The translated vocals are able to maintain the same amount of hooks as before, which is a true testament to both Yanovsky and Merzlyakov's abilities.
If you already own Hammerforce's “Access Denied”, you won't miss out on much if you don't get this, because it's the same thing, only in a different language. It's hard to find an original take on power metal these days, so Hammerforce is quite a refreshing breath of air. I'm not overly familiar with the Russian language, but I am impressed with their ability to hit all of the notes and hooks in a different language. Personally, I'll stick with “Access Denied” more than this version. Overall, “Доступ Закрыт” is a solid album that pays tribute to Hammerforce's home team.
Written for The Metal Observer: