Venue: The Fillmore NY (New York, NY)
Opener: Powerglove, Arctic Flame
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
The ringing in my skull from the righteous smiting that was delivered by Kreator last night had finally subsided and now it was off to do battle once again in the fields of Metal and face those Templar’s of the Metal way – Sweden’s Hammerfall. By my recollection it has been about five years since the band has been over to this side of the pond and that last show was with Germany’s own Metal harlequins EdGuy. That was an amazing event and one that found the Metal faithful hoping that it would not be too long before we saw Hammerfall return and sadly the span of time would be about five years give or take a month. Tonight the band would bring with them the local support of Arctic Flame who we have seen in action a number of times and Powerglove who would be an entirely new experience for me. March Metal Madness continues. Starting off the night would be Arctic Flame from Bayonne, NJ and we would run late to the show and end up missing their full set. We felt this was ok since we had seen them before and given them some solid attention and also because we were sure that they would be back around again. We did learn that there was a new singer in place and also a new guitar player. Good luck to you lads with your new members. Next up would be Powerglove.
Powerglove: Believe it or not, I actually had the chance to enjoy what Powerglove was all about a couple of years ago when Dragonforce was headlining this very venue with support from Turisas but since the name was rather new to me and I had some other stuff to do pre-show, I totally bypassed them. Fast forward to today and now I get to see what they are all about and the easiest way I can do that is by stating “now, I have heard everything”. Why such an odd statement you might ask, well that is because Powerglove does what they have coined to be “Video Game Metal”. As a matter of fact their name is an actual video game controller from Pax that was used by the Nintendo Entertainment Systems consoles back in 1989. It wasn’t very popular according to research but that doesn’t matter for this concert report. The four member outfit hit the stage with an incredible burst of energy and I definitely applauded them for this based on the many competitors that they have already rocking the masses. They were dressed like barbarians and approached their unique set of tunes with zeal and clearly their music was unlike anything I had heard in the live sense before. A bold comment for sure but you would have to agree that you probably never thought that a band would come around one day and make their premise the music from old 64 bit video games. It’s different to say the least and very unique so let’s see what comes of it. I had a blast watching them do their thing and felt they had the kind of energy that we experienced during the recent Alestorm performance and that my friends, is a very good thing. Behind the drummer two skulls on poles were bearing the bands logo and were moved by one of their team and it looked rather amusing from the audience vantage point. They also tossed a bunch of inflatable swords into the crowd which were snapped up as if they were gold. Can this idea work and become the next big trend or will it be one of those oddities in Metal that makes the genre and its shows such an incredible thing, well only time will tell but it is clear to me that everyone who saw these guys tonight were entertained and will surely remember them. Good luck to you Powerglove and thanks for making the scene a little more interesting with your contribution. Now it was time for the mighty Hammerfall to return to their fans and I was very excited about this.
Hammerfall: Wow it has been far too long a time since we have had the powers of Hammerfall in this regions Metal command and despite their lack of US touring the band has been very busy in releasing material for us to enjoy. We found them dishing out a double disc greatest hits compilation called “Steel Meets Steel: Ten Years Of Glory”, a covers album with “Masterpieces” and two additional studio albums “Threshold” and their very latest “No Sacrifice, No Victory”. It was most certain that based on all of these trinkets that the bands set would be a very enjoyable one and as expected they arrived to the stage to thunderous applause and began the night’s excitement with “Punish And Enslave” from their latest epic. Fronted by singer Joacim Cans, the band was a Power Metal assault that reminded you with every note why they are so respected in the Power Metal genre. With Hammerfall the audience finds a band that doesn’t need to rely on costumes or over elaborate stage settings in order to deliver the point with their songs about glorious victory and heroism. This delivers a different level of purity for the genre and it is one that is held close to the Metal hearts of all their fans by the band keeping it this way.
The show itself was off to an amazing start and the band sounded as good as I remembered from those few years ago but of course I didn’t expect anything less of them. The new release seemed to get the most focus of the set list makeup and feature five songs from its total of eleven. Sadly they would not offer up their own version of The Knack’s “My Sharona” from the album and this surprised me a little bit as that bands own lead singer Doug Fieger had only passed away some three weeks prior to this gig. I felt it would have been a nice way to honor him but alas this was not to be the case. This tour would also introduce the US fans to the bands newest member Pontus Norgren who was taking over guitar after the departure of long time member Stefan Elmgren. He apparently wanted to focus on his career as a pilot and I can applaud him for this since Bruce Dickinson successfully gave this a go. Perhaps a film about Hammerfall flying around the world in a plane piloted by Stefan will be in the future. In any event, Pontus was showing full well how he fit within the context of the bands material and just how good he interacted with the members on the stage and their audience.
The set list was chock full of interesting numbers when it came down to it and while the larger amount was from “No Sacrifice, No Victory”, we did find them paying careful attention to the other releases from their career. From “Threshold” we only got “Rebel Inside” even though the band was heavily pushing the song “Natural High” when that album was released back in 2006. The lack of touring the release in this region made me a little surprised to find only one of its tracks being represented but oh well, there was really nothing to complain about with as comprehensive of a set list as we were getting. We got two of the most popular songs from “Chapter IV: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken” and I was good with that even though I would have enjoyed hearing “Fury Of The Wild” since I really liked that song as well. Nothing would come from their covers album and the remainder of the makeup for tonight would reach far back to the bands beginnings by dishing out classics like “The Dragon Lies Bleeding” and “Let The Hammer Fall”. If this was your very first Hammerfall show ever it would definitely make you a fan based on just how smartly set up the material was and how responsive their diehards were this evening.
All in all the show was a great one and I think that my biggest complaint would be in how we did not get to enjoy Echoes Of Eternity who would be joining them later in the tour. As much as I enjoy the Arctic Flame guys and how I got a kick out of Powerglove, I would have preferred no local opener and a starting set by Powerglove in order to enjoy a direct support slot from their Nuclear Blast label mates. Be sure to check out Hammerfall’s new release as it continues the rallying charge that they began so many years ago with “Glory To The Brave” and smites down the unbelievers to the Metal way with cold hard steel. Please don’t wait five years before returning to us Hammerfall as your armies cannot take that happening again. For the Metal faithful of NYC there would be no rest on Sunday and the upcoming activity of the week was sure to find their masses very busy with tomorrow’s Orphaned Land and Suidakra show along with two appearances by Alice In Chains and some regional W.A.S.P. shows. Fasten those seatbelts this ride has only just begun.
Powerglove Set List:
3. Metal Kombat for the Mortal Man
4. Storm Eagle
5. Power, Wisdom, Courage
6. So Sexy Robotnik
7. Mario Minor
8. Power Rangers
Hammerfall Set List:
1. Punish & Enslave
2. Crimson Thunder
4. Hallowed Be My Name
5. Last Man Standing
6. Blood Bound
7. Life Is Now
8. Heeding The Call
9. Rebel Inside
10. The Dragon Lies Bleeding
11. Between Two Worlds
12. Any Means Necessary
13. Riders On The Storm
15. Let The Hammer Fall
16. Hearts On Fire
The guys in Powerglove who were the direct support opener tonight had this little chap up on the stage with them. To me he seemed like a very angry and very Metal version of the famous Pac Man video game character. Perhaps he was when one takes into account the kind of music that Powerglove is playing.
The fans in the front for the Powerglove set were lucky enough to catch these cool inflatable swords and we tried to snare a quick photo of them while rushing back and forth to keep pace with Powerglove who were really exhibiting a lot of energy. I was glad to see them out to impress everyone in the venue tonight. Sorry that it is a tad blurry, but we did this in a split second before focusing back on the Metal action going on mere inches away.
Oh yeah, we mention in the full narrative how the band takes their name from an old Nintendo Entertainment System peripheral and we couldn’t resist finding a photo of this somewhere to share with you. We found an image and present it for your enjoyment.
I know you are curious about what in the hell this thing actually is so here is a Wikipedia entry about it. Who knows, this might very well become the uniform of the bands fans if they can locate one in the garage sales and flea markets of the world. Check it out HERE. Before we go – In our full article we mentioned how we caught and reviewed Hammerfall during that last tour to the states back in 2005 and we cannot stress enough about what an amazing show it was. It featured Germany’s EdGuy as the direct support along with an up and coming super power called Into Eternity. At the time I was still relatively new to “the game” but I made sure to review and photograph each set delivered that night from Times Square’s B.B. King Blues Club. Readers can go back in time to that show by clicking the image of the venue’s marquee below. Believe it or not, PiercingMetal.com was only a mere four months old when this show took place. Since that night we have brought you hundreds and hundreds of other bands and I am still stunned when I think about it.