The year was 1998. I’d been stranded far from home in the barren, desolate wastelands of Lubbock, Texas for about three months. I had no friends, no hope, and no foreseeable prospect of escape.

One day, I happened across Hammerfall’s Legacy of Kings album, and when I hit play it was as if I’d ignited a blazing torch that chased the darkness from the dank dungeon in which I’d been imprisoned.

It was all about empowerment, and triumphant victories against the anti-metal hordes, which were everywhere at the time. It was 100% pure heavy metal, in 1998, when the media and mainstream and society at large had declared metal dead. Metal wasn’t something permitted to be spoken of by the mainstream American music press at that time; they called it “hard music,” and it was played by people with gas station attendant shirts and wallet chains. Heavy Metal was pretty much against the law in late ’90s America.

What a breath of fresh air, then, was this album was to me, during those times. There was no self-deprecating alternative navel-gazing, just a sincere, un-ironic declaration of the power of the steel. The lyrics were all about heavy metal and the power it holds.

It was exactly what I’d been searching for, and I thought it was absolutely perfect. It made me feel a lot less alone. There were still others out there with steel in their veins and fire in their hearts.

As anti-Metal forces converged upon me and conspired(and failed miserably)to forcibly remove the steel from my heart, this album served as both sword and shield, giving me the strength to carry on until I was able to escape from the clutches of my persecutors.

Over 20 years later, this album still rules, and it still helps me to find the strength within myself to power through a shitty day.


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