Monday, September 1, 2014

Live review: HammerFall at Liseberg, Gothenburg, Sweden

We all have that one band that originally got us into the wonderful world that we call metal. For me, that band was HammerFall, and not surprisingly, it was their super hit "Hearts On Fire" from the album "Crimson Thunder" that helped me being what I am today. So why it took over ten years for me to see the band for the first time is beyond my knowledge.

Anyway, the concert was held the 29th of August at the famous amusement park Liseberg that is located in Gothenburg. You might think it is a weird location for a heavy metal show, but Liseberg has experience when it comes to live shows. Just this year, the amusement park have had famous act like Flogging Molly, Snoop Dogg, Graveyard, and later this fall also Ghost. It is also not the first time HammerFall has made an appearance at Liseberg's grand stage (they even recorded a live DVD from one of those shows, entitle "One Crimson Night").

The show started roughly around 8 pm with a furious tempo with the trio "Heeding The Call", "Any Means Necessary" and "Renegade". A little surprising since I expected the band to go with a similar set list they had at Wacken this year (where they played "Glory To The Brave" in its entirety), but at the same time, it was good to know that they were going to bring something from almost every album (only "Threshold" was left behind in the set list).

The show kept on going in a good tempo, only doing a small breather in the intro of "Blood Bound", and you could definitely feel that the band was pumped up for this show. Besides from the show at Wacken, this was the first show after the band's 2 year long hiatus and the first show on their tour. Then again, HammerFall was conceived in Gothenburg, so I can imagine that it felt a little special for the band to play for their home audience.

Then suddenly, disaster strikes. After "Let The Hammer Fall", Joacim says that he needs to take a 5 minute break because he suddenly lost control of his voice. The first thing that went through my mind at that moment was that this was it, that the band's Gothenburg curse once again showed its ugly face. For those of you who don't know, HammerFall have had some bad luck on previous shows in Gothenburg. It was either vocal problems from Joacim or just sound issues that held back the band from performing at a maximum level. Luckily, after the 5 minutes, the band came back and could continue the show. It later proofed to be the pyrotechnics that was the cause of Joacim's sudden problems, but it ultimately worked out, and the show could continue on as planned.

If the sudden break did anything, then it certainly made the audience even more committed, because the volume became incredible on the last three songs before the encore, especially the last song "HammerFall" had some great sing-a-long moments from the audience. I do not think any word in the song did not get left unsung. The end of the normal show also included a world premiere of "Hector's Hymn", one of the new songs from the new album "(r)Evolution". It is certainly one of the better songs from the album, and you could hear that the audience was excited to hear the song in the set list. It definitely got a better reception than "Bushido", whom also comes from "(r)Evolution", but that is nothing surprising since "Hector's Hymn" is much more live friendly than "Bushido".

The encore set only contained 2 songs, the first one being "Bushido" and the other, of course, being "Hearts On Fire". I definitely hoped for another song on the encore set, but I was still pleased with the overall set list, even if it felt like a "best of" set list with few surprises. I would have loved to see songs like "Steel Meets Steel", "Fury of The Wild" and "666 - The Enemy Within", but I cannot be too picky when it comes to the set list.

The night ended with a signing session where you got to meet the band in person and get your stuff signed (and also a picture taken if you wanted to). I got to wait like over an hour to reach the band, but it was worth it, because it was an overall successful late summer evening. Decent weather, great audience that was mixed with both old and young fans, and a band that obviously has missed playing live in front of the fans. The only miss hap was the unexpected break in the middle of the show, but other than that, I can without a doubt say that HammerFall delivered, even if Hector was not heavily involved in the show itself (only his hammer and helm was present, which was just weird).

Set list:
1. Heeding The Call
2. Any Means Necessary
3. Renegade
4. B.Y.H
5. Blood Bound
6. Child of The Damned (Warlord Cover)
7. The Metal Age
8. Let The Hammer Fall
9. Last Man Standing
10. Hector's Hymn (world premiere)
11. HammerFall

12. Bushido
13. Hearts On Fire

Best: "HammerFall" and the band's enthusiasm

Worst: the pyrotechnician did not bring his A-game

Rating: 8/10 Renegades

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