|» Judas Priest 2012 04 25||
Swedish heavy metal band HammerFall had the opportunity to open up for the real kings of heavy metal, Judas Priest, at the old ice hall Hovet in Stockholm. This band is by no means unknown to the metal masses and they probably just got this slot to boost ticket sales, as the main act's popularity is slowly decreasing.
HammerFall were playing it safe tonight, as they played a set consisting songs known to the general public in their native Sweden, which probably was a good choice if they want even more people to check them out later. With a set lasting only 44 minutes they left their ballads at home and the crowd seemed pleased with their performance, even if most bands are having a hard time playing as support acts to the metal dinosaurs with their full share of narrow-minded fans.
Guitarist Pontus Norgren showed his brilliance and lead singer Joacim Cans is getting better and better as the years are passing by. As always with this band we got a couple of rehearsed moves and some of them should be put to rest where the sun don't shine, as it's so obvious that it's nothing random.
Last Man Standing was the gig's highlight, with its balladish verse and
powerful chorus. Other songs that went down great were Hearts On Fire
and Blood Bound. All in all it was a good gig. They tried hard, but they
didn't get the response they were well deserving. Probably because the
ticket price was 80 bucks and the youngsters stayed at home.
Performance: 6 chalices
One of the founders of heavy metal is saying goodbye and farewell with their Epitaph world tour. For how long it will last, I guess nobody but themselves know. On this tour, they play at least one song from every album, excluding the Tim "Ripper" Owens albums, which is a shame, as those two albums are a part of the Judas Priest legacy as well. The songs could suck big time, but I don't care.
At 8.45 the lights go down and the band enters the stage behind the curtain to the recorded intro, Battle Hymn. Rapid Fire opens the set and from now on it's a mix between heavenly-like moments and mile deep rifts. The fierce and thundering Judas Rising, the crushing Night Crawler and classic tune Electric Eye are giving me the goose bumps, but when I hear the chorus of The Sentinel, and the first half of Diamonds And Rust, which both are totally wrecked by Rob Halford, I wish I were somewhere else. As most metal fans know, Mr. Halford has problems with his high tones nowadays and therefore sometimes sings with an even deeper voice than necessary.
Judas Priest don't equal Halford though and the riffs from Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner is hard to beat, and to be honest, the lead vocalist is still a good singer, but it's hard not to look back at what he has accomplished before. Bassist Ian Hill is as usual cemented to the floor in the back, as he has been for the last forty years, but drummer Scott Travis is getting some space and is more active than ever.
The fans are enjoying most parts of the show and when they play Breaking The Law and lets the crowd do all the singing with a miming Halford on stage, it divides the people in the venue in two camps. First, the ones that thinks that this is the coolest thing in the world, a.k.a. the people who know the lyrics. Second, the people who don't know the lyrics and thinks that their favorite song is ruined. Right back at ya! This fantastic part is followed by a drum solo, so Rob is getting nearly ten minutes to rest his voice and I believe this is the main reason for not singing above mentioned song.
Hit by hit are played and this history lesson is one remarkable document of heavy metal. One can always discuss which songs are featured in the set, but my only objection is the decision to play Prophecy from Nostradamus and not a good song. Even if Halford has been the main character of this review, I just got to mention these two things he said. 1. At the end of the show: "The Priest will be back"; but will they? 2. Before they played Never Satisfied from their debut album: "Rocka Rolla has some great songs and riffs", so why haven't you played anything from it the last 35 years?
Performance: 7 chalices