Death and Hammerfall
Invade North America!!!
The Death/Hammerfall US tour started in mid-November on the East Coast and ended in California in mid-December. During this period, I had the chance to see three (3) of the shows (Coney Island High - New York, Obessions - New Jersey, and Ventura Theatre - CA).
This review will be a summary of the three shows I witnessed rather than a specific review of any one venue.
Hammerfall was great to see! Their sound quality was excellent and their interaction with the audience was good. They played several cover songs which I did not expect such as "Breaking the Law" and "Children of the Damned". They played about eight songs total (Death was the headliner!) and had encores at the first two shows. Since they played in small venues I had a chance to meet the band and had conversations with Joacim, Oscar, and Magnus. Hammerfall is a true metal band on disc and a true metal band on stage.
One major problem with the tour, however, is that the packaging of Hammerfall was horrible. In all cases, Hammerfall was the only non-death act on the line up. In all cases, 2 or 3 local death-metal acts opened, followed by Hammerfall, followed by Death. Many of the death metal fans were luke warm to Hammerfall, although I must say that Hammerfall had a good following at Coney Island High in NY. (As an aside, I also enjoy death-metal but would have preferred a more consistent line-up.) In any event, the band would have benefited greatly from a better touring partner such as Manowar, etc. While speaking with Joacim in CA, he admitted that Hammerfall had to essentialy win over the death-metal crowd just about every night and it was sometimes difficult.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed myself at every show, was able to be in the front row, and got to know the band a little bit.
Death recently released "The Sound of Perserverance" which I think is very good. In all cases, Death was the main act and most fans came to see them. While TSoP is a very good disc, Death had a lot of trouble reproducing the tight and at time complex melodies found on TSoP in a live setting. Sound quality was not bad nor was Evil Chuck's vocal performance. However, the remainder of the quartet had trouble cleanly pulling off some of the newer songs. The older songs, which are more simplistic, went off well.
Overall, the shows were enjoyable. However, Hammerfall was improperly packaged and suffered because of it. Death was decent, but the tight and complex sound of their studio disc could not be well reproduced live.
Peter a.k.a. "Rocker"