As the second wave of power metal stretched on for a period that seemed longer than the genre's original period of glory years, preeminent practitioners like Sweden's Hammerfall
recognized that their sound needed sprucing up. A few musical concessions to the 21st century were needed if the group was to remain within striking distance of relevancy. Fortunately, on the 2000 Nuclear Blast release Renegade
took a collective glimpse into the future, turning away ever so slightly from their '80s metal influences. The guitars still gallop and scream, the lyrics still conjure familiar images of dungeons and dragons, but the band does manage some progress while maintaining its loyalty to epic power metal. The updates on Renegade
are discernible, but incremental at best. Precision is at a premium, and while the lyrics are still way over the top, there's a universal appeal to hard-charging numbers like "Keep the Flame Burning" and "Living in Victory" that speak to a marginally wider audience, not just obsessive power metal enthusiasts.