Sweden Rock Festival - 2009

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Sweden’s pride and joy Hammerfall were announced by a voice well worthy of his own true Norwegian black metal band, and fittingly dark clouds appeared on the sky and rain started to fall.
However, when the band came on and played Blood Bound as the first song of the evening all thoughts of rain and coldness disappeared in an instant. Or maybe it was because of the insane amount of people pressing in to see their performance; in the crowd it was more or less impossible to get wet as we were so tightly packed together!

Even though we were all packed as fish in a barrel, it didn’t stop the crowd from going amok to the various songs and entertainment Hammerfall provided. There was jumping, raised arms and raised voices as we sang along to the classics (and some of the new tracks as well, as you quickly learn the choruses with this type of music).
And entertainment was also provided in abundance from Hammerfall’s side; as Joacim Cans told us Hammerfall didn’t want to be like all of those bands who show up with the exact same setlist and stage-show for a festival which they have used for months already on their own tour. So for Sweden Rock Festival they had constructed a completely new setup which mostly consisted of large staircases running from one side to the other, and a large metal shield with an H cutaway was used as backdrop.
Apart from this, Hammerfall had also provided one the festivals most extensive pyro-shows; there were fires, smoke-cannons, flares, rockets and for Last Man Standing the background H was engulfed in flames. Not to mention the finishing song Hearts On Fire, where they simply let loose all they had left in a blinding inferno!

Apart from the effects, Hammerfall’s experience in working a crowd was easy to see, as Cans held us all entertained I between songs with little anecdotes and such. An example is when he was introducing Heeding The Call, and spoke of how they had played that particular song here back in -98 when the festival was still known as Karlshamn Rock Festival.
He also spoke of how happy Hammerfall were to get to play for us over and over, calling SRF the worlds’ best festival and us the worlds’ best audience. He also told us how much he wanted to thank everyone who had purchased the new album No Sacrifice, No Victory allowing it to become a gold album in just two weeks time.

Aside from Cans, the rest of the band was also on fire (figuratively speaking) and gave a lively and entertaining show. Being the newest additions to the band, you could see how easily both Fredrik Larsson (ok, not so new anymore) on bass and Pontus Norgren (still a bit wet behind the ears) on guitars have fallen into place and perform on par with the rest of them.
Norgren also pulled out an acoustic guitar for an intense rendition of Between Two Worlds, which seemed to grip the audience even though it’s a completely new ballad, and not one of the old tried ones.
Still, as the show progressed, there was one title which was shouted more and more from the audience till the band had no choice but to play it; Hearts On Fire. Maybe not the choice I would have imagined had you asked me before the concert, but it certainly got the job done!

For me, this Hammerfall concert gets an A+ for performance, but the setlist could have used some more work to fit my taste. Indeed, I have been bad at keeping up with the Hammerfall releases, and therefore there were simply too many songs I didn’t recognize to feel fully fulfilled. Still, the end of the show almost made me forget about that, as several classics were pulled out of the sleeve.


Blood Bound
Crimson Thunder
Hallowed Be My Name
Last Man Standing
Heeding The Call
Life Is Now
At The End Of The Rainbow
Any Means Necessary
Between Two Worlds
Riders Of The Storm
Templars Of Steel
Let The Hammer Fall
Hearts On Fire

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