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HammerFall
The Templar Renegade Crusades (DVD)
August 2002
Released: 2002, Nuclear Blast Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Finally I have my copy of HammerFall’s new DVD, THE TEMPLAR RENEGADE CRUSADES. I know some of the holier than thou and “I’m more metal than you” types think they are better than us for calling HammerFall cheese and un-important, or at best a “guilty pleasure.” Well fuck that! I love HammerFall and I have since their first album GLORY TO THR BRAVE (1997).



For me personally, in 1997 I was not really big on power metal and listened to a lot of other metal music. Sure, back in the day I loved some Helloween and I still liked the classic metal. In 1997, I wasn’t hearing a lot of new bands that reminded me of the classic heavy metal sound of the 80’s while still offering something new. When I heard GLORY TO THE BRAVE something awoke in me making me realize how much I missed hearing bands like this. I know there are others out there who also felt this way because many embraced the band. As well, after HammerFall’s success we saw MANY European power metal bands emerge or form. So in my view, HammerFall are an important band who are in some way responsible for the abundance of power metal bands that came out of Europe in the very late 90’s. They also have personal significance to me, for re-awakening my passion for this style of music. I do not find their sound cheesy at all. The band embodies classic heavy metal from bands like Accept and Helloween and brings those ideas to the later 90’s for fans that were there to remember like myself, and for new fans who perhaps use HammerFall as a “stepping stone band” to other power and classic heavy metal bands. Anyway, enough ranting…lets get to the DVD.



If you picked up HammerFall’s fist home video, THE FIRST CRUSADE (1999), and were a bit disappointed with the “Cliff Em’ All” (for those lost here I mean bootleg and fan shot) quality, then this DVD has a lot less of that!! Many of the recordings are multi-camera and the sound is much better. In places near the first half of this 150 min DVD the performances are older (1998) and thus not always shot as well. For example, there are a couple songs filmed from a tripod from what seems to be the soundboard location. The picture is therefore not the best, as the band members are not clearly shown. However, the audio sounds like it was taken right for the soundboard, and as such is pretty damn good! There is also some footage from HammerFall’s 1998 USA tour with Death. For some, this was an odd match. But for me, this would have been an awesome pairing, as I love both bands!! Seeing HammerFall play with the Death backdrop behind them on a tiny stage with minimal lighting, compared to seeing them later on playing on a stage set looking like a castle complete with torches and a drawbridge lets you see both how far they’ve come, and how much more bigger they are in the rest of the world outside of North America. There is also some humorous offstage footage with the two bands and a touching R.I.P. tribute message to the sadly departed Chuck Schuldiner.



Since this DVD is over 2 hours long, I can’t possibly tell you all about every scene. So I’ll quickly mention what stood out for me. The recording sessions for “I Want Out” with Kai (power metal god) Hansen were great. Seeing Joacim and Kai doing the vocals for this Helloween cover was very cool. They also show an interview with Kai about it. The fanaticism of the South American metal fans is very apparent in the Santiago, Chile performance. Also, showing them arrive at the airport makes them look like a heavy metal Beatles!! It made we wonder, if they flew into any North American airport for a gig, would any fans even show up? If so, would they be that freaked out?! Another moment that stood out is “Heeding The Call” which is preformed acoustically at a record store. I’m not one for acoustic versions of songs, but this was cool. It gave the song a different feel in this intimate setting. The jewel if the DVD is the live songs recorded at Wacken 2001. I wish I had the entire set from that magical performance!!! The camera shots, sound, picture…everything about it is topnotch! The last thing I must mention is the great drummer - Anders Johansson. His drum solo was impressive, and his live playing is stronger and more powerful then what is recorded on the RENEGADE album. As well, like his brother Jens, he is crazy!!! If you’ve seen the Stratovarius DVD, you’ll know what I mean. Well Anders is much like his brother with his funny comments, expressions, and the scene with the drink shooting from his ear and nose had me laughing pretty damn hard!!! I can only imagine the shit that Jens and Anders disturbed when together growing up….and still today!



The bottom line is, if you are a HammerFall fan you will love this DVD and it’s a must have for you. This type if release is for the FANS, and will probably not win over many new templars of steel. But who knows, seeing the powerful live performances from the Wacken gig alone might make you a believer. This is something I’ll be watching many times in the years to come. Keep the flame burning!

Next review: » HammerFall - The Templars of Heavy Metal: The First Crusade (DVD)
Previous review: » HammerFall - Renegade





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