May 13, 2017
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Andy Laudano
Hammerfall - Hammerfall, Delain
Sweden Metal Invades Trees
Two of the best bands in the world, Sweden's HammerFall and Delain from The Netherlands played to a packed house at Trees. This was a special co-headlining tour, where both bands got to play full headline sets. Although Delain had been the closing act on most of the tour, HammerFall would get to go on last this night as it was Delain frontwoman Charlotte Wessels birthday. Much to Wessels' surprise, her bandmates had decorated her microphone stand, the drum riser and drums with Happy Birthday banners for her.
Delain are not strangers to Texas. They have been building their fan base in the U.S. the old fashioned way, by touring their asses off! Each time they return, the crowds get bigger and the band makes more new fans. This was their fourth trip to Dallas, and their third time playing Trees. It was also the first time they got to play a full headline set. Wessels sounded fantastic and really connected with the crowd who clapped, chanted and jumped at her command. The rest of the band, which included guitarist Timo Somers, bassist Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije, drummer Ruben Israel and newest member, guitarist Merel Bechtold were also full of infectious energy.
The setlist was heavy on songs from their latest album, Moonbathers and their most popular album so far, We Are The Others with a few other favorites mixed in. Highlights included, "Go Away" from their severely underrated April Rain album, "Get The Devil Out Of Me," "The Hurricane," "Not Enough" and "We Are The Others." This was a great show that only could have been better if founder/keyboardist Martijn Westerholt hadn't had to miss the show for personal reasons.
It had been eight years since the mighty HammerFall had toured the U.S. and fans were more than ready for their return. Loud chants of "HammerFall" broke out before the band ever set foot on stage. For the last 20 years, HammerFall have been one of the top power metal bands in the world. The band features founder/guitarist Oscar Dronjak and the powerful vocals of Joacim Cans. The current lineup, which also includes original bassist Fredrik Larsson, guitarist Pontus Norgren and newest member, drummer Johan Kolberg has never sounded better.
The crowd went wild as the band ripped into favorites, "Riders On The Storm," "Bloodbound," "Any Means Necessary," and "Renegade." Dronjak was a lot of fun to watch between his hammer shaped guitar, reminiscent of Thor's hammer Mjolnir, and his collection of classic pro wrestling shirts he changed into. Meanwhile Norgren soloed and shredded away, and Cans impressed everyone vocally, as he can still hit all the high notes. Other highlights included "Last Man Standing," "Let The Hammer Fall" and going all the way back to their first album, "The Dragon Lies Bleeding." Encores included "Hammer's High" from their latest album, Built To Last, "Bushido" and the classic "Hearts On Fire."
This was one of the best metal shows of the year! Hopefully it wont be another eight years before HammerFall returns to the U.S. again.