Hammerfall Islington Academy 09-05-15

First up in front of a packed house was Neonfly who released their second cd Strangers In Paradise at the end of 2014.
Playing a melodic power metal/hard rock assault with vocalist Willy Norton leading from the front both vocally and with an excellent stage presence they went down very well.
Their 30 minute set flew past with opener Whispered Dreams being powered along by the double bass attack of drummer Boris Le Gal.
I love the fact that in this genre how no matter how hard and fast the songs are they still all have huge choruses and are still very melodic.
Highway To Nowhere took the pace down a little with an acoustic start before a crushing riff had heads banging and fists punching the air.
Single Better Angles has huge melodic potential as it goes from huge riff back to strummed acoustic all with Willy impressing vocally during both the light and shade parts.

I would love to see them with a longer set so headlining dates please.

Next up was young 4 piece Skarlett Riot led by would you believe Skarlett!!Playing a slightly heavier vein than Halestorm without the top quality ballads they went down well but a worry would be that Skarlett was the only focus and the rest of the band were a little faceless!!
Divide Us the new single off their recent We Are The Brave ep shows promise and one to keep an eye on.

I'll be honest and say Hammerfall only came to my attention after their support slot with Saxon back in the winter of 2012 and that was my loss.
Now on the back of 6 months touring in support of the excellent new cd (r)Evolution we finally get a one off show here in the UK and the bursting at the seams venue and football crowd inside show the regard Hammerfall have in the UK.

For an hour and 40 minutes we witnessed some of the best melodic heavy metal played anywhere on the planet by Gothenburg's finest and with a career defining set here is what they played.

Hector's Hymn
Any Means Necessary
Blood Bound
Heeding The Call
Let The Hammer Fall
Live Life Loud
400 meter medley of Hero's Return,The Dragon Lies Bleeding,Trailblazers,Riders Of The Storm,Fury Of The Wild.
Last Man Standing
Glory To The Brave
We Won't Back Down

Encores of Templars Of Steel
Hearts On Fire

My earlier comment on this genre was made for Hammerfall.Huge crushing riffs to make you bang your head coupled with immense double bass drumming but with the most melodic vocals and tunes made for a mass sing along.
In fact this felt a bit old school with so much head banging,fists punching the air and a large pit with plenty of moshing and a choir of singing along with sweat running down the walls!!

All of the band play their part with vocalist Joacim Cans a great frontman and possessor of one of the most melodic vocal ranges around with power and tone to die for.To his sides you get guitarist's Pontus Norgren and Oscar Dronjak who riff hard and solo again melodically and always telling a story not just a flurry of notes.The rhythm team of ever smiling bass man Frederik Larsson and new drummer David Wallin are the rock that the band are built on.

Hector's Hymn from the new album is greeted like a long lost friend and it's crushing riff and double bass assault impress before the first of many huge choruses that the whole crowd holler back.

Into the back catalogue for Any Means Necessary,Renegade and the obligatory Bang Your Head all played with a confidence of a band road tested and all complete with more riffs you can shake a stick at and pounding drums and huge choruses and with the latter plenty of head banging!!Brilliant.

Mid set Joacim got a rest as the band played a lengthy medley of songs that saw Pontus centre stage riffing and soloing and Oscar asking the crowd to sing along to the riffs!!

Last Man Standing should be played on all rock radio stations as it has one of the finest choruses ever and all over a raw riff and drums.Hammerfall don't do songs they do anthems!!

The band have an 18 year career and back to album one for a slight slow down in pace for Home Of The Brave.It gave the crowd a rest but not vocally and Joacim gave a consummate vocal performance with plenty of emotion.

Next up was new song we Won't Back Down which was one of only 3 from the new cd and it fitted in seamlessly.

A mighty Hammerfall had the end of the set in sight before a 3 song encore brought the evening to a crescendo.Only one way to end and that is with Hearts On Fire.
A four minute encapsulation of all things that make Hammerfall special with riffs,drums and huge huge melodic chorus all in unison with the crowd going nuts!!

Hammerfall were superb and don't leave it so long next time and for all your fans in the UK not just one date please.

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