» Hammerfall 2005 04 30  
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Reviewed by Thomas
Tourname: Icebreaker Festival 2005
Headliner: Hammerfall
Special guest: Pretty Maids, Firewind, Lordi
City: Gothenburg, Sweden
Venue: Scandinavium
Date: 30 Apr 2005
Hammerfall set-length: 105 minutes


Pretty Maids

Pretty Maids acted as the third support act this evening and these Danes are definitely veterans in the business. They debuted on album already back in 1983 and yet they have almost passed me by entirely. Unfortunately the best days seem to lie behind Pretty Maids, and even though it was obviously an experienced band on stage I did not apprehend them as an especially exciting act. With a kind of hard rock that flirted a lot with the kind that filled arenas in America in the eighties and in the vein according to my perception they further more sounded like bands like Tyketto and TNT at more than one occasion. Not necessarily bad music but they did not really have the strong songs needed for that type of music and they could not really get the fire going so to speak, at least not with me. Nevertheless, they managed to warm up big parts of the audience and got a relatively big response with their final songs where the crowd was all play with the vocalist.

And a band that has been around for more than twenty years ought to have enough material of their own without the need of throwing in a Thin Lizzy cover, and to be honest they didn't do it well. I expected more from a band with that much experience as Pretty Maids but I do have to give them credit for Back To Back, the best song from the Danes this evening and the only one that was above average with a higher pace and rawer attitude. And in the little square with facts, we notice that Hammerfall did a cover on this song on their second album Legacy Of Kings.

4 chalices of 10



After the start with the track Secrets from their new album, which proved to be one excellent opener, I was spelling out big words like 'Success' and 'Victory! Hammerfall' in my head to use as a massive headline. You could literally see the fire in the eyes of vocalist Joacim Cans as he entered the stage, he as well as the rest of the band was excited for this event and you could see that they had longed for this moment for a long long time. As the first metal band (or any band as I can recall) from Gothenburg that is playing as headliner in the city's biggest indoor venue, this was a historical evening. Hammerfall is at their highest peak so far in their career, and the question is if they can grow any bigger at home? I hope that they can but for now, we leave that for time to tell.

Unfortunately the great feeling I had at the start subsided, the voice from Joacim was not on top, to be honest it was not good at all. He suffered severely from the bronchitis he had fallen ill with and I had serious doubt at times if he would be able to go through with the entire concert. Mostly it worked ok but sometimes the words didn't come out right and the high pitched parts tended to only come out weak and powerless. Luckily the crowd helped him out quite a bit with many songs, but this took away much of this night's performance that instead could have been their career highlight.

Renegade was the given crowd pleaser which started with a roaring sound from a motorcycle and together with the other songs released as a single Blood Bound and Hearts On Fire you can say that these are the ones that get the most reactions from the crowd. Although my top picks from this evening is their anthem song in Hammerfall and for me the surprise song of the evening with Knights Of The 21st Century. I never would have guessed that they would play that one live as it features guest vocals done by Cronos (Venom) on the album but with his parts on playback and the rest live it was mighty. Mighty I say, damn it!

The concert held a nice tempo with a descent flow and the guys where at their best and in a really good and playful mood, but after a great start the momentum got a little lost, mostly because of the presence of the ballad Glory To The Brave. Hammerfall can write really great songs but in my opinion, they ought to stay away from the ballads. Apart from Glory To The Brave there isn't much to say about the songs apart from the fact that I missed a couple of fast ones, which could have served to create a better momentum and a better flow in the show. Given live favorites as Steel Meets Steel, Legacy Of Kings where sadly left out of the setlist, and also the catchy At The End Of The Rainbow shone with its absence, but apart from the unfortunatly poor voice from Joacim, that is the only thing that is to complain about this evening. Well, the sound could have been better at some occasions but it really didn't bother me that much.

The stage was decorated as an arctic landscape with a backdrop with alptops, perfectly in match with the album cover of Chapter V and also the video for Blood Bound. They also had a giant hammer that was raised at the back decorated with lights, an idea that I am sure looked better on paper than what it did in reality. The band used the big stage well and moved around between the microphones and that made it possible for them to be able to either stand in front of the stage or beside the heightened drum podium to sing. It was not as much of pyro as I expected. Usually there is enough on a Hammerfall concert but I thought that they would have gone that extra mile with it this gig, but the amount of fire that bursted on stage during Hearts On Fire left little to complain about.

And oh, if anyone wondered if their mascot Hector appeared on stage, I can tell you that he did not. The band must have been given him the night off. And unfortunately there where no pictures taken this evening, but I promise that I will make it up to you with some great photos of Hammerfall at Sweden Rock Festival.

7 chalices of 10

SETLIST: (might be slightly inaccurate)

Riders Of The Storm
Let The Hammer fall
The Templar Flame
Fury Of The Wild
Glory To The Brave
Living in Victory
Knights Of The 21st Century
Crimson Thunder
Templars Of Steel
Heeding The Call
Blood Bound
Hearts On Fire

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