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Hammer Of Revenge - Hammerfall At SRF 2005

Written by David, June 2005

Out of 21000 people at Sweden Rock Festival, I guess there are only about a few hundred who don't have any opinion about Hammerfall, and most of those must have been on heavy drugs the latest eight years. Gothenburg's metal giants evoke feelings among us all, love or hate. Some say it's the Swedish envy. Others say that they simply are so bad that they deserve it. Still others have a hard time to accept their commercial success. As we all now it is not really 'true' to break through as a metal act. Some point at the fact that many kids like Hammerfall, so it must be 'hits for kids'. Whatever, the board of Sweden Rock must have thought that we all had got an overdose of the band after their gigs at the festivals 1998, 1999 and 2001. It took four years before they were invited to the lineup again.

Maybe Sweden needed to rest a bit and let the mixed emotions sink. But it also meant that Hammerfall now had a quite unique stand to make. They needed to make a really great performance to win back at least some of the skeptics at home. The warm up took place in Scandinavium, the largest indoor arena of their hometown Gothenburg. But that was mainly for faithful fans. Now at SRF the real test should take place.

Any Questions?

ll the five members of the band enter the press tent a couple of hours before the concert on Friday 10 June. The numbers of journalists are quite few, and when the photographers have done their job, there is an almost embarrassing silence. No questions? At last, a Norwegian (typically?) guy breaks the ice and asks if Hammerfall will follow Wig Wam's example and participate for Sweden in Eurovision Song Contest. Joacim Cans immediately denies all such plans. It is not the right forum for Hammerfall to express their music, he says.

Magnus Rosén has to answer a couple of less intelligent questions about his allergic shock during a flight over South America. He is allergic to some, but not all nuts, he explains. I guess by the tone of his voice that he places the reporter among the former.

Anders Johansson is asked to tell the story about a TV flying out from a hotel window. "- It was just a thing that happens. I though we would get away with it because we took a TV from another room to replace it with. But unfortunately it was caught on surveillance camera, so I had to pay. It cost just about a couple of hundred Euro, so that was nothing."

omeone asks about the latest album, Chapter V - Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken. The band seems to be pleased with it of course. I ask if it really is so much harder than its predecessors, as is said? Cans admits that it might not be as raw in its sound as Glory To The Brave, but he still thinks that it is quite heavy, depending on what you compare to of course.

The silence is again taking over. Anders Johansson looks more than bored… I decide to shoot with a question that I just happened to have in mind out of curiosity. The band has taken a lot of crap but especially the two bandleaders, Joacim and Oscar Dronjak. Most critics seem to have respect for Anders Johansson's merits and the skills of Stefan Elmgren and Magnus. But there are many who take every chance to fell their hammers on Joacim's voice or Oscar's guitar play. How do they feel about that?

"- Well, Hammerfall is not about our individual skills, its about bringing a good show to our fans. If you don't like it, it's not much we can do about it. We always try to perform better of course. We play for fun, for ourselves, and not to please some critics. If you start to listen to what everyone else think, I think you are on the wrong track", Oscar reasons. Joacim agrees.

ell, those questions were nothing against what the lousy band presenter says before Hammerfall enter Featival Stage: "Now my twelve year old daughter will be happy, because she has been looking forward to see Hammerfall"… I guess that is further fuel to the fire for five templars on quest for revenge. Anyway Hammerfall does a great show! If you saw Accept the night before, you should recognize most of the guitar poses, but that's a bit of Hammerfall's strength. They've taken the best out of each of their influences and in the end created something of their own.

Let the hammer fall

pening song Secrets gets a slightly heavier touch in the live format. Although eight of the songs are from the latest two albums, the three first releases get two representatives each in the set. A good mix in the end, though I miss my absolute favorites from Glory To The Brave: Metal Age and Stone Cold.

thing for other bands to learn from is the way the solos are performed. If there must be solos at all, they should be done the Hammefall way! Both Anders Johansson and Stefan Elmgren play samples of well-known metal songs and the crowd is engaged in recognizing which songs are included, rather than falling to sleep. It all ends up in the whole band playing the first parts of Enter Sandman. (I wonder why it is so fun to hear covers of songs that you don't find especially engaging when the original band performs them? I guess it is the unexpected factor. It was the same when Nightwish played Symphony Of Destruction last year.)

owadays Hammerfall have a new special effect in their show. It's not the Bomber or the Eagle, but its the… Hammer! It might work even better in the dark (there are some lights at the edge of the giant thing). Last time I say Hammerfall, which actually were some years ago, I thought that their show was too well rehearsed when it comes to moves and talks. A bit of that is still there, but some more spontaneous laughs and steps can be seen and the band seems to have fun together on stage. Cans sings better than ever! It is fun to see my old favorites again and after this positive experience I am ready to see at least one more show this summer I think. (Hammerfall 8/10)

God of metal?

ater I meet Joacim Cans at the backstage bar. He seems very pleased about the gig and the response from the crowd. But he admits that it was kind of strange to face a press conference that silent as earlier on the day. That is not what he is used to from abroad, but kind of typical for Sweden. They will soon leave to play on Gods of Metal in Italy. He is excited about seeing Iron Maiden later on the same festival. Since Hammerfall will play around noon, they will have the whole evening to check out other bands.

take the opportunity to ask about the high screams in the verse of Fury Of The Wild. He (quite understandably) didn't go as high as that live… He did them in his home studio, he tells. They are very hard to achieve and almost impossible live. Oscar takes the highest tone in the backing vocals, though, so it is there, while Cans himself lies on the middle tone.

eople are approaching him all the time, begging for autographs, photos to be taken and asking all kinds of questions. Joacim patiently takes his time to please them all, even the most drunken and stuck-up ones. I must wonder how he got his reputation of being a cocky diva. I guess it is all a rumor, origin from the Swedish envy.


1. Secrets
2. Riders Of The Storm
3. Renegade
4. Let The Hammer Fall
5. The Templar Flame
6. (drum solo)
7. Fury Of The Wild
8. Glory To The Brave
9. (Stefan plays)
10. (Enter Sandman)
11. Hammerfall
12. Hammer Of Justice
13. Crimson Thunder
14. Heeding The Call
15. Templars Of Steel
16. Blood Bound
17. Hearts On Fire

David - June 2005