25.1.2015 Z7 Konzertfabrik, Pratteln, CH
The first concert of 2015 for me, and it´s a band I totally loved as a teenager but somehow had lost sight of them. Hammerfall are finally back in Switzerland and Z7, where they have not been playing for quite a while. It took them three years to make a new album and you did not hear much about those guys. But now they are back and play two shows in a row, and all sold out. Curious and excited how the band has developed in those 8 years I have not seen them, I check out the support acts.
Serious Black makes the start, and they have just released their debut album. The band members have played in bands like Blind Guardian, Dreamscape, Edenbridge, Visions of Atlantis and Masterplan. On this tour they play with a slightly different line-up, and nobody really knows why. Well, musically it´s not quite a huge spectacle, the sound and the harmonies are not bad at all. Only the keys guy sometimes misses a note and he has to support the vocalist a lot. Basically a quite good opening act, but only a few people here know them and therefore the mood remains reserved.
photos: Sandy Mahrer
After Serious Black´s short gig the Germans Orden Ogan try to warm up the crowd for Hammerfall. Those Folk Metallers are not quite my cup of tea, for me the music is a bit too chaotic and the singer too weak. But people seem to enjoy the show as well as statements like „the audience yesterday screamed much louder“. The songs of the new album „Ravenhead“ do appeal to the crowd, and I have to admit that I like those much better than their old stuff. Those guys deliver a pretty good show and indeed manage to warm up the crowd.
Finally, after a longish chageover, the Swedes Hammerfall enter the stage, nicely styled as usual; a bit more grey in their hair, yet they are overjoyed to play at Z7 once again. The line-up has changed a bit, on drums David Wallin, instead of Anders Johansson. And for bassist Frederik, who is on paternity leave, we see a well known face, Stefan Elmgren, who had played guitar for Hammerfall before. A great team on stage that does not have to do much to inspire their fans, right from the start. Surprisingly, there are lots of young people in the hall, and when Joacim Cans asks who in the audience is seeing Hammerfall, for the first time, quite many hands are raised. Although Hammerfall have included many of the new songs in the set and also play lesser known songs from their previous albums, those old pearls like „Renegade“ or „Hearts on Fire“ receive the biggest cheers. Although the gig is great and the guys in a good mood, I get the feeling that Joacim sings a bit more carefully and deeper and maybe less powerful. In general the guys have become calmer, there is less action on stage. But still they unique and inspiring, Cans cracks jokes and scores laughter. Hammerfall are and remain icons of Heavy Metal.