House Of Blues – Sunset Strip
March 27, 2010
It’s been five years since HammerFall from Sweden made their way here to the States, and at last they were making a grand return – thrilling a packed room at the House Of Blues in West Hollywood on a Saturday night. On tour in support of their Nuclear Blast Records release No Sacrifice, No Victory, HammerFall brought the metal to the City Of Angels with a full-out vengeance.
Powerglove from Boston, MA were in direct support, thrilling the audience with their mostly instrumental set of high-powered metal tunes. With over-the-top stage costumes and superb musicianship, these guys won over the audience in a big and glorious way. Like a metal cartoon come to ultra vivid life, Powerglove sent the party into high gear with outstanding songs such as the rambunctious Duck Grinder and their wildly infectious ode to Tetris. Their musical tribute to the original Transformers series as well as a rousing rendition of the Power Rangers Theme were unleashed, and the crowd went wild hearing the amped up versions of these familiar tracks. Bringing a smile to the face of even the grimmest of metal fanatic, Powerglove knows how to put on a memorable show! Catch them when they play House Of Blues on Sunset again, opening for the mighty Sonata Arctica on April 24th. These Powerglove rangers are definitely in demand!
And then there was HammerFall, whose power metal anthems have come a long way since their inception in 1993. Playing just down the street from where they made their local debut supporting the legendary Death at the Whisky in 1998, HammerFall brought a truly staggering show to the venerable House Of Blues.
Opening with a fiery rendition of Punish and Enslaved from the No Sacrifice, No Victory release, HammerFall presented a set of music performing selections from their various releases. Classics were played from their early works such as Heeding The Call and The Dragon Lies Bleeding, really sending the crowd into an all-out head banging frenzy.
Demonstrating just how much the band has grown over the years musically, songs such as the thrilling Rebel Inside, the inspiring Life Is Now, and the emotionally power ballad Between Two Worlds demonstrated just how wondrous and versatile the HammerFall metal experience can be. And then the crowd favorites Crimson Thunder, Renegade, and Riders On The Storm had fans singing along and banging their collective fists in the air.
Vocalist Joacim Cans is a supreme front man, possessing a voice that would rival Ronnie James Dio and a super charismatic stage presence. Also joining Cans onstage was Oscar Dronjak on rhythm guitar, the only other original member who has been with HammerFall for the entire journey through time. Dronjak was smiling, performing some impressive guitar work – and also expressing an interesting ticker message that was lit up on towards the bottom of his guitar. Longtime bassist Fredrik Larrson was performing as well after a ten year hiatus, supplying an impressive low end to the proceedings. Leaving HammerFall in 1997 and returning a decade later, Larrson was fully ready for the metal in your face! Anders Johansson spent years as Yngwie Malmsteen’s drummer, and brought a powerful sense of experience and dedication to the proceedings. HammerFall’s newest member is lead guitarist Pontus Norgen, formerly of The Poodles, who supplied some outstanding axe work to the show. Collectively, these musicians make up HammerFall’s most solidly dynamic lineup to date.
For the encore, the band closed with fans favorites Let The Hammer Fall and Hearts On Fire, sending the metal masses into the Hollywood night thoroughly entertained and ready to take on the world. Hopefully we don’t have to wait another five years to witness the next live HammerFall extravaganza. Definitely an event true metalheads in the area will remember for the ages to come.
(Review and Photos by Kenneth Morton)
HammerFall on Myspace