Built To Tour Sweden 2017
Astral Doors – support act
Kulturbolaget, Malmo, Sweden
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
BUILT TO LAST is the name of the new Hammerfall album which the band is currently out supporting. Beside new drummer David Wallin, the band also have a new label with Napalm Records. HammerFall celebrated the 20th birthday of the release of the debut album GLORY TO THE BRAVE this year and they have been out on the roads in Europe and soon to be the USA and Canada . Now it was time to take on their home country of Sweden and six shows. The Swedish tour ended with the Malmo show and after that the band headed further out into the world to South America. Ticket sales went well but exploded when it was announced that the Swedish heavy metal act Astral Doors was to be the support act.
As always I was early to the venue, which was Kulturbolaget, and despite the fact that the club was sold out the line outside wasn’t long. Luckily the time went by fast in the cold and soon the doors opened up. It was nice to get inside the club and to my relief I saw there was a photo pit set up.
Astral Doors is a Swedish metal band that has been around since 2002. The guys have released 8 albums, 1 EP and 1 compilation album so far. The debut album called OF THE SON AND THE FATHER (CLOUDBREAKER in Japan) was released 2003, their latest studio effort was released earlier this year titled BLACK EYED CHILDREN and since the beginning have the band gone through two member changes with bass player Ulf Lagerström and guitarist Mats Gesar as the newest edition to the band. Due to the singer Nils-Patrik Johanssons involvement in other bands (Lions Share, Wuthering Heights ex- Civil War etc) haven’t Astral Doors been active touring. So no one was happier than me when the band was confirmed as support act, I have followed Astral Doors and the other of Johanssons bands through the years but haven’t seen any of them live too many times. Already 15 minutes before scheduled time things started happen on stage and it was time for Astral Doors to open up the night.
As soon the band showed up on stage, fans applauded and cheered. “Evil Is Forever” kicked off the show and it was no doubt the band was highly anticipated. Singer Johansson looked cool in his leather jacket and t-shirt with the album cover of the new album. Straight away followed “We Cry Out” and the band felt solid as a rock already from the very start. The band set the tone and the tempo from the start and the song taken from the new BLACK EYED CHILDREN album was greeted warmly. The line-up is:
Nils Patrik Johansson – lead vocals
Joakim Roberg – organ
Joachim Nordlund – guitar
John Lindstedt – drums
Ulf Lagerström – bass
Mats Gesar – guitar
Johansson thanked the audience for the major support and asked if Malmo was ready for some more metal music, “its fun to be in Malmo and now lets take a song from the new album, here is “Die On Stage” and who wouldn’t want to do that?” And even though the album is pretty new the fans had no problems with singing a long with Johansson in the lyrics. He had the fans to shout at his command after which he said that Astral Doors love you all, thanks. “The Last Temptation Of Christ” followed straight away and when I got out from the photo pit I could see that the club already now was semi full with people wanting to see “only” the support act. It almost felt like it was Astral Doors that drew the most people to the club. Johanssons voice was amazing as always, that man has one of the best voices in the world! The rest of the band felt solid and worked perfect as a team. Johansson said it was nice to be back in Malmoe again, it was a long time since we last visited you. Does anyone know about our album ASTRALISM he asked, it’s time to play a song from that album in “Black Rain” and I want to see all of your hands in the air during the song. The old classical tune had the fans screaming and everyone sang a long with Johansson.
“As you all know, we are here with the kings of power metal, Hammerfall” Johansson said, “they have done a lot for Swedish metal during the years, even though we are more of a heavy metal band rather than a power metal band we do have a few more power metal songs and this is one of them “New Revelation””. Already, the heat started to rise in the club and it was all because of the great co-operation in between the band and the fans. The crowd sang a long in the song raising the roof together with Astral Doors and Johansson let the fans take care of the chorus. Johansson asked if the fans were happy, and if the fans were happy then the band was happy. “Ok Malmo we will see you at the merch after the show and we’re going to sign everything you brought or are going to buy. Lets take another song from the album REQUIEM IN TIME, here is “Power And The Glory””.
Despite encouragement from Johansson the fans didn’t sing as loud as he wanted in the chorus and Johansson got tired and moved along with the tune. “Malmo, if we’re going to have a party you have to help us scream ROCK when I say so?” He let the fans scream a few times for him, he began screaming “Time To..” and the fans answered “ROCK”. Which of course also happened to be the title of the next song “Time To Rock”. Johansson held a sing a long in the middle of the song, it was done a few times after which it was time for Nordlund to show off on lead guitar in a solo.
“We released our debut album 15 years ago but sadly it’s sold out so we couldn’t bring it with us tonight but we have ordered more so it will be in stock soon. This next song was the first one we wrote together, it’s “Cloudbreaker””. It seemed like that song was the one everyone had been waited for because the shouts and screams from the fans raised the roof. A long outro ended the song as well as the show and Johansson thanked the energetic fans, but before the band left the stage they had to take a picture together with the crowd. After that the 45 minute show was over and it was time to say good bye to Astral Doors for this time.
The show left nothing more to wish for, well maybe a headline show next time 🙂 but otherwise the guys did an amazing job on stage. It was a brilliant set list and the songs teamed up with the epic voice work of Johansson puts Astral Doors on the list as one of the best heavy metal bands in the world in my opinion. The band was on fire and managed to lit the club up. The show left me longing for more and I really hope that Astral Doors will come back soon, nothing else is acceptable.
Evil Is Forever
We Cry Out
Die On Stage
The Last Temptation Of Christ
Power And The Glory
Time To Rock
During the Astral Doors show more people had arrived to the club and on stage now a huge backdrop that had the Hammerfall name on it, on each side of the drums small podiums were placed for the band members to stand on. The excitement could be sensed in the air and people started to get anxious in wait for the headline act to go on stage. Hammerfall started out back in 1993 and was formed by the ex-Ceremonial Oath guitarist Oscar Dronjak. The bands debut album GLORY TO THE BRAVE was unleashed 1997 and the band has since then released albums in a steady flow. Last year, the band inked a deal with their new record label Napalm Records and the new album BUILT TO LAST was released. In September 2017 the former drummer David Wallin re-joined forces with the band.
It went pretty fast to get the stage ready to go and at 9 the intro music was heard from the speakers.
First song of the night was “Riders Of The Storm” and the song kicked off the fans shouted at the top of their lungs and really welcomed the band with open arms. “Bring It”, taken from the latest album BUILT TO LAST, followed instantly and the band really set the tempo from the start. It was Cans, Dronjak and Norgren that moved around the most on stage and singer Cans thanked the fans for the support saying it was fun to be back in Malmo again. “Are you Templars of steel doing fine?” he said and asked if the fans knew the lyrics to “Blood Bound” because it was now time to fire off that song. The current line up of the band is:
Joacim Cans – lead vocals
Oscar Dronjak – guitar
Fredrik Larsson – bass
Pontus Norgren – guitar
David Wallin – drums
The security in the pit didn’t seem to have any idea what they were doing because they made us leave after the second song and not the third as it usually is . But it was only to do as told and leave the pit. Cans invited the fans to sing a long with him in the chorus and the fans hardly had time to catch their breath with “Any Means Necessary” that followed straight away. The temperature was rising as the night proceeded and the band started to break a sweat. The motorcycle intro to “Renegade” made the fans scream even louder than before and Cans left parts of the chorus to the fans. He also had the crowd to scream at his command and both the band as well as the fans seemed really happy with what they heard and saw. Cans thanked for the support and said it felt really nice for the band to end their Swedish leg of the tour at Kulturbolaget in Malmo. Next song up was taken from the new album and it was “Dethrone And Defy” that followed. The bands more current songs seemed to go well among the crowd and when it was time for the fans to sing a long accompanied by only bass/drums the roof almost lifted. “Crimson Thunder” continued the night and just as in many of the songs before it was Norgren that took care of the lead guitar parts.
Cans counted down from 3, 2, 1 and fired off “Last Man Standing” which is one of many classical songs from the band that made the fans go crazy. As soon as Cans started to sing the lyrics the fans took over and sang it with him. The song was originally a bonus song taken from the first compilation album STEEL MEETS STEEL: TEN YEARS OF GLORY which was released 10 years ago. Cans ended the song with saying that it was wonderful to be at Kulturbolaget together with the worlds best fans. I have two questions for you all tonight he said, how many are seeing the band for the first time live tonight and how many have seen us before? Well there were a lot more that have seen us before and now you have to help the new fans know what to do in the next song. Cans shouted – Let the hammer… and the fans answered Fall.. he urged the fans to scream louder and louder and finally he was satisfied and it was time for the fans to hear the bans huge hit “Let The Hammer Fall”. Dronjak showed his hammer shaped guitar, which he brought out already in song number 3, and Cans invited to some sing a long.
“Malmo you are “Built To Last”?” Cans said and fired off the title track to the new album. “This is the last show on the Swedish leg”, he said, “and then it’s time to head over to South America and at the beginning of next year we’re out touring in USA. We have done this for 20 years now and let’s go back to 1997 when a bunch of young guys were about to record their debut album, lets go to a place called “Glory To The Brave””.
Cans left the stage and Norgren threw a guitar solo that contained a medley of songs taken from the debut album. When Cans came back on stage he and the band fired off “Glory To The Brave” in which Cans wanted the fans to sing with him. Cans asked if the fans wanted to sing the last verse and he asked Norgren if he was tired yet, Norgren shook his head and Cans jumped down into the pit and sang the last verse there with the fans. Cans ended the song up on stage together with the fans and the 7 minute song then ended. “Origins” followed and it was nice with a slower song to calm the energetic tempo down a bit. When the song was over the fans chanted Hammerfall Hammerfall and Cans stood quite looking out at the fans saying that they all looked really beautiful tonight. He then introduced the band after which Dronjak took the mic saying that it was one dude left to introduce in Joacim Cans. Cans thanked and said – we are Hammerfall and we are here to “Punish And Enslave”, that song ended the ordinary playing time which was 85 minutes. The fans wasn’t ready to leave Hammerfall and shouted for encores and the band reappeared on stage pretty fast.
Cans asked if the fans wanted to hear more and Cans said he wanted to see everyone throwing their hands in the air and then he fired off “Hammer High”. Ok, last song for the night Malmo is going to be “Bushido” he said, he seemed a bit tired because at the end of the song he sat down on one of the podiums beside the drums while singing the end of the song. As the song was over he thanked the fans for being there supporting the band for 20 years and that the fans support means the world to the band. Well, Malmo I guess we can’t leave without setting your “Hearts On Fire” and the cheers from the fans knew no boundaries when they heard the first tones of the song. This was one of the songs the fans had been waiting for to hear this night and it would have been wrong by the band to leave the stage without having played this song. Cans once again jumped into the photo pit singing the song and after the song ended he thanked Malmoe, the club and the fans for the amazing night. Before the band left the stage they took a picture of themselves with the fans in the back but then the 20 minutes of encores was over.
Even though the music of Hammerfall isn’t my favorite I can understand the crazy fanbase of the band. The band have throughout the years become a solid live machine. The set list offered a good mix in between old and more current material, however it wouldn’t have hurt them to change the list a bit. The list have stayed the same since the European Tour began earlier this year. And maybe it’s time for Cans to change his talk in between the songs a bit..parts of his repertoire has stayed the same for years now. Even if I’m not a big fan of the band, I can appreciate the work the band has done for bringing Swedish metal music world wide. I congratulate the guys to a good show in Malmo and for the 20 years anniversary.
Hector’s Hymn (intro)
Riders Of The Storm
Any Means Necessary
Dethrone And Defy
Last Man Standing
Let The Hammer Fall
Built To Last
Glory To The Brave (medley)
Glory To The Brave
Punish And Enslave
Hearts On Fire
Thanks to the head of Kulturbolaget Totte Lundgren for help with press/photo pass to the show
Thanks to the always friendly staff and security at the club.