For more than 20 years, power metal icons, HammerFall have been one of the top metal bands in the world. The band is led by founder/guitarist Oscar Dronjak and features the powerful vocals of Joacim Cans. The current lineup, which also includesoriginal bassist Fredrik Larsson, guitarist Pontus Norgren and newest member, drummer David Wallin sounded better than ever.
After opening the show with a pair of songs from their latest album, Dominion, HammerFall did their best to squeeze in as many hits from the last eleven albums as they could into their all too short set. Favorites included "Renegade," "Blood Bound" and "Last Man Standing." The crowd went wild when Dronjak broke out his hammer shaped guitar (reminiscent of Thor's hammer Mjolnir) for "Let The Hammer Fall." Before ending the set with their biggest hit to date, "Hearts On Fire," Cans let fans know that they intended to return to the US with a headline tour late next year and that after Sabaton finished they would be meeting fans by the merch table.
Before Sabaton even took the stage, fans were loudly chanting the band's name and singing the chorus to "Swedish Pagans." The air was electric and you could just feel this was going to be a special night. Sabaton has built their following the old fashioned way - by touring their asses off! And it's finally paying off. Last time they played Dallas they sold out Trees. This time they sold out the much larger House of Blues. The larger stage allowed them to do something they hadn't been able to do in the US until now - they brought the tank that serves as their drum riser.
Following a rousing video about the World War I Memorial that had the crowd chanting "USA," Sabaton hit the stage running with their traditional opener, "Ghost Division" and never looked back, As far as this crowd was concerned, the band could do no wrong, and long, LOUD chants of "SAB-A-TON" broke out whenever there was a break between songs. The huge smile and look of genuine appreciation by frontman Joakim Broden is part of what makes this band so endearing. The rest of the band, bassist and founding memberPr Sundstrom, guitaristChris Rrland, drummerHannes van Dahl and newest member guitaristTommy "ReinXeed" Johansson were all smiles as well.
The set mostly focused on newer material, not that the audience seemed to care. They sang along loudly and proudly weather is was classics like "The Price Of A Mile" and "Carolus Rex" or new songs from their latest album The Great War like "The Red Baron" and :"Bismarck." Other highlights included "Primo Victoria" which saw the entire crowd jumping in place with the band, the huge singalong "Swedish Pagans" that fans had been waiting for all night and the final encore "To Hell And Back." This was easily one of the best metal shows of the year!