HammerFall – 15 years of Glory
28 July, 2012
Review by: Andy Pipkin
Photos by: Johan Carlen
HammerFall pioneered the resurgence of Power Metal in the 1990’s with the release of ‘Glory to the Brave’ and what better way to celebrate its release than with a special 15 th anniversary show. The show was announced at the historic Dalhalla venue which is located at the bottom of an old quarry and surrounded by a moat. The special guests announcement had created a great sense of anticipation for the show and promised to make it something special.
Dalhalla is located near the city of Mora about 3 hours by train from Stockholm. After the journey to Dalhalla there is a long scenic walk down a winding path to reach to bottom of this quarry. As this is not a usual metal show venue there was assigned seating, but with the stadium style setup all seats have excellent views.
I was initially worried about the sound being surrounded by stone on all sides. Crucified Barbara opened the show and all worries about audio quality went away. They put on a nice show of solid hard rock. Of course the audience was waiting for the main show and as the hour approached the skies became overcast as if also in anticipation of the show.
There was a ludicrous amount of Marshalls stacked across the stage and was from what I heard a record number in Sweden. The intro from “Patient Zero” rang out over the PA and with a burst of flame across the stage the show began! Right after they went back to “Heeding the Call” to help affirm this was an anniversary show. The sound was excellent in the venue and the band was in top form with their energy and delivery of the songs.
They delivered some more recent tunes along with a hefty amount of fire, gas and explosions before progressing backwards into their catalogue with “Crimson Thunder” and “Renegade”. With this onslaught of great songs it was time to call out some of the special guests for the show. Stefan Elmgren (ex-HammerFall) came out to play through “Riders of the Storm”, “Last Man Standing” and “Fury of the Wild”. He was full of energy and ran around the massive stage. At this point I also noticed that Oscar had been changing his clothes between songs to wear and outfit from the tours of the corresponding album. This was another very cool gesture that underlines the historical aspect of the show.
By this time the band needed a break, so they decided to make Anders work. The massive HF logo on the back wall burst into flames as the thundering drum solo ensued. And when the band returned they went with the less aggressive “Always Will Be”. Joacim’s vocals were spot on the entire night, but the ballad really let him shine. This song also featured some excellent fire dancer performances. They were moving about the stage area spinning fire and sparks and adding to the atmosphere of the show.
Back to the heavy stuff with “Dia De Los Muertos” followed by another guest appearance. With “Steel Meets Steel”, Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) assumed the role of lead vocals. This was by all accounts the first song written by HammerFall and since Stanne was the singer in the 1994-96 time frame I was very curious to hear him sing. It was definitely a different sound but extremely cool as well as he sang totally different from his bands usual style.
– Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) –
“Threshold” was played with the regular band and then another guest appeared for “The Dragon Lies Bleeding”. Jesper Strömblad (Resistance, ex-In Flames) made his first ever appearance with HammerFall on guitar! Before this he had never played guitar with the band, although he was on the first album as the drummer. So this was an even more unique appearance.
– With Jesper Strömblad –
– With Jesper Strömblad –
Another classic tune was played and then they went for a Swedish cover tune, “När Vindarna Viskar”, where the original singer, Roger Pontare sang a Duet with Joacim. While I do not understand Swedish the song, on Masterpieces, is very catchy and the performance was a spectacle with Roger wearing traditional garb.
– With Roger Pontare –
– With Roger Pontare –
The instrumental was played, which was very cool since I had not seen this performed live and then the finished with “The Templar Flame”. By this time the sky had grown increasingly dark and grim. After a few minutes and all black clad Team Cans came onto he stage. Team Cans is the choir that Joacim Cans lead to victory on Swedish television. The music from “O Fortuna” began playing and with its powerful epic chants, The sky opened up and rain started to fall.
Team Cans stayed on for a powerful “One More Time” and then Joacim left the stage. Oscar walked out onto the water for a guitar solo into “Glory to the Brave”. There is a see through platform that he used which made it look as if he was actually walking on water. The song began and a steel gate on top of the stage opened to reveal Joacim inside some 100 meters above the ground. As he began to sing, lightning rips across the sky framing the stage. This really was an awesome spectacle and something that could never have been controlled, it just happened at the perfect time.
Obviously, “HammerFall” (the song) had to be played and then all sorts of guests came on stage to close the night with a bombastic “Hearts on Fire”. Which of course included plenty of fire! The night ended what was one of the best shows I have seen. The set list was amazing, the performance was flawless, and the positive energy was crackling through the air. The good news is that they filmed the entire show for a DVD release later this year! So everyone will be able to experience this landmark performance!
Heeding the Call
Any Means Necessary
Bang Your Head
Lets Get It On
Riders of the Storm w/ Stefan Elmgren
Last Man Standing w/ Stefan Elmgren
Fury of the Wild w/ Stefan Elmgren
Always Will Be
Dia De Los Muertos
Steel Meets Steel w/ Mikael Stanne
The Dragon Lies Bleeding w/ Jesper Strömblad
Let the Hammer Fall
När Vindarna Viskar w/ Roger Pontare
Something for the Ages
The Templar Flame
Oh Fortuna by Team Cans
One More Time w/ Team Cans
Glory to the Brave w/ Team Cans
Hearts On Fire w/ Team Cans and Guests