Hammerfall Debuts ‘Brotherhood’ Video

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Hammerfall is giving audiences yet another preview of its new album.

The band premiered the video for its new single, ‘Brotherhood’ Wednesday. The song is the third singe from the band’s forthcoming album, Hammer of Dawn, which is scheduled for release Friday through Napalm Records.

‘Brotherhood’ follows the release of the album’s then latest single, ‘Venerate Me,’ which was released last month. Its release was preceded by the release of the album’s lead single/title track in December.

The video for ‘Brotherhood’ is a relatively simple, straight forward presentation. It features the band performing its new single on a soundstage as the song plays over the visualization. A variety of camera angles add to the presentation, which is meant to give audiences a taste of the band in a live setting.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Brotherhood’ will appeal to not only Hammerfall’s fans, but to power metal fans in general. That includes fans even more specifically of bands, such as Saxon, Dragonforce, and Judas Priest.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Brotherhood’ comes across as a statement of unity.

Hammer of Dawn will release through a variety of platforms noted below along with the album’s track listing.

Hammer of Dawn will be available in varying formats in various territories:
– Ltd Deluxe Box, incl CD Digisleeve, Hardcover Photobook, Plectrum Tin, Hammer Key Chain, Bottle Opener – strictly limited to 500 (Napalm Webstore exclusive)
– CD Digisleeve
– 1LP Gatefold Black
– 1LP Gatefold Marbled Orange Transparent/Black – strictly limited to 300 (Napalm Webstore exclusive)
– 1LP Gatefold Crystal Clear – strictly limited to 300 (EMP exclusive)
– 1LP Gatefold Curacao – strictly limited to 300 (Levy X & Ginza exclusive)
– Bundle CD + Shirt (outside North America only)
– Digital Album

Hammer of Dawn tracklist:
1. Brotherhood
2. Hammer of Dawn
3. No Son of Odin
4. Venerate Me
5. Reveries
6. Too Old to Die Young
7. Not Today
8. Live Free or Die
9. State of the W.I.L.D.
10. No Mercy

Courtesy: Napalm Records

In other Hammerfall news, the band has also announced it is scheduled to launch its “United Forces Tour” alongside Helloween March 22 in Oslo, Norway. The tour, which will take the band’s to cities across Europe, is scheduled to run through May 22 in London, England. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

UNITED FORCES TOUR 2022
25.03.22 NO – Oslo / Sentrum Scene
26.03.22 SE – Göteborg / Partille Arena
28.03.22 FI – Helsinki / Black Box
29.03.22 EE – Talinn / Noblessneri Valukoda
01.04.22 DE – Bamberg / Brose Arena
02.04.22 DE – Hamburg / Sporthalle
03.04.22 DE – Berlin / Verti Music Hall
04.04.22 DE – Regensburg / Donau Arena 
08.04.22 ES – Madrid / Wizink Center
09.04.22 ES – Barcelona / St. Jordi Club
11.04.22 IT – Milan / Lorenzini District
12.04.22 DE – Kempten / Black Box
13.04.22 CH – Zürich / Samsung Hall
15.04.22 LU – Luxemburg / Rockhal
16.04.22 NL – Tilburg / 013
18.04.22 PL – Katovice / MCK
20.04.22 BG – Sofia / Arena Armeec
22.04.22 AT – Vienna / Gasometer
23.04.22 CZ – Prague  / O2
24.04.22 SK – Zvolen / Ice Stadium
26.04.22 HU – Budapest / Papp Laszlo Sportarena
29.04.22 DE – Bochum / Ruhrcongress
30.04.22 DE – Stuttgart / Schleyerhalle
01.05.22 DE – Frankfurt / Jahrhunderthalle
04.05.22 UK – Manchester / Manchester Academy
05.05.22 UK – London / Brixton Academy

More information on Hammerfall’s forthcoming album and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.hammerfall.net

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/hammerfall

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/hammerfall

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Hammer Of Dawn’ Is A Shining New Addition To 2022’s Field Of New Hard Rock, Metal Albums

Courtesy: Napalm Records

From its earliest days to the present, power metal stalwart Hammerfall has never made audiences wait too long for new albums.  Three years is the longest that the band has gone between releasing any of its 11 albums.  The band will keep that streak going Friday when it release its 12th album, Hammer of Dawn.  Set for release through Napalm Records, the 10-song album offers plenty for audiences to appreciate whether they are seasoned Hammerfall fans or more casual power metal fans.  That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content alike, as its current singles have proven.  Those songs are just a sampling of how the album’s overall content makes it so engaging and entertaining.  ‘No Son Of Odin,’ which is one of the album’s early entries, is another example of how that content makes the album succeed.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Too Old To Die Young’ is another standout addition to the album and will be discussed a little later.  ‘Live Free Or Die,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is yet another example of how much the album has to offer audiences.  It will also be discussed later.  Each song noted does its own share to show the album’s strength.  When they are considered along with the album’s singles and with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes the album one more of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums so far.

Hammer of Dawn, Hammerfall’s forthcoming 12th album, is a shining new offering from the veteran power metal band.  Its current singles have already done plenty to make that clear.  They are just a small example of what makes the record engaging and entertaining.  ‘No Son Of Odin,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another example of what makes the album a success.  The musical arrangement featured in this song is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The driving guitar work from Oscar Donjak and Pontus Norgren pairs with the solid time keeping of drummer David Wallin and low end of bassist Fredrik Larsson to flesh out the song so fully.  The production is to be commended as each musician’s part cuts through so clearly without overpowering that of its counterparts.  Front man Joacim Cans’ vocals soar so powerfully, too.  His delivery immediately lends itself to comparison to that of Judas Priest front man Rob Halford.  The whole of the song’s musical content makes for its own powerful presentation.  When the power in the song’s arrangement pairs with the song’s lyrical content, the whole becomes even more engaging and entertaining.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘No Son Of Odin’ is, on the surface, a presentation based on classic Norse mythology.  That in itself is interesting enough.  On a deeper level though, the song’s lyrical content seems to be much more than that.  At least, that is the interpretation of this critic.  The deeper meaning comes across as being a statement of celebrating individualism, which is an all too familiar topic in the rock community.  This is inferred as Cans’ sings in the song’s second verse, “From the day that I was born/I’ve been misunderstood/I broke new grounds/I set the sails/Played by my own rules/Lightning strikes and thunder roar/I’ve seen my destiny/I’m the hammer/The hammer is me/Pounding to be free/Watch me wind up the power/Relentlessly pursuing my foes/I am fierce eyed and evil/Hell’s gonna follow wherever I go.”  From there, he sings in the song’s chorus, “I am I/I am me/Heart of steel/No son of Odin/I am strong/I am brave/Let the hammer pave the way.”  The song’s lead verse builds on the song’s second verse, finding Cans singing about not being royalty so to speak, being proud of who he is.  He goes so far as to note that “My home lies beneath us/through fire and ice/alone in my fight.”  He mentioned along with that, that he had never been to Valhalla.  Again, this all comes across as an allegory of sorts about that pride and individualism.  If in fact that is the case, then this is truly a unique, original way in which to deliver such a familiar theme.  To that end, it makes the song all the more interesting.  When it pairs with the fiery energy in the song’s musical arrangement, the song in whole makes for even more interest and proof of what makes Hammer of Dawn work.  It is just one of the songs that shows the record’s strength.  ‘Too Old To Die Young,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another notable addition to the album.

‘Too Old To Die Young’ presents a musical arrangement that wastes no time catching listeners’ ears.  In the case of this song, the sharp guitar line and bass line work with the drums and vocals to lend the song to comparison to works from the likes of Dragonforce, Saxon, and Judas Priest.  The harmonies (instrumental and vocal), ensure audiences’ engagement and entertainment from beginning to end. 

The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement makes it all the more appealing.  In the case of this song, its lyrical content the theme comes across as delivering a message of making the most of life.  This is inferred in the song’s lead verse and chorus in which Cans sings, “For as long as I remember/I’ve been paving my own way/Life’s one true defender/Since my first step/Walked wherever I may/Of all the stars in the heavens/I’m the brightest of them all/Always shining/Carry on/Carry on/I will shine a light/Forever and a day/”  It is inferred even more as he sings in the song’s second verse, “Turn the amp up to eleven/let your time on Earth be loud/Why limit your sins to seven/Nothing ventured/Nothing gained/Stay unbowed/Wade out in the water/Let us part the raging seas/So come-at-able/Come with me/Carry on/Always strive/Succeed and plan to live forever.”  Again, here is a statement that seems to deliver a message of living life; of perseverance and determination.  Again, if that is indeed the case, then the song gains even more appeal, especially when it pairs with the energy in the song’s equally enjoyable musical arrangement.  The whole here is just one more example of what makes the album that is Hammer of Dawn stand out among this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.  ‘Live Free or Die’ is yet another  notable addition to the album.

‘Live Free Or Die’ offers audiences a more modern hard rock sound than that of the album’s other songs.  The power metal sound and approach is just as present as ever, but there is something about the guitar line here that really makes this song lean more in a modern hard rock direction, too.  That balance of modern hard rock and power metal gives this song an identity that is just as unique as the other songs’ arrangements from one another and from this song and the rest of the album’s works.  When this notable arrangement pairs with the song’s lyrical theme that openly preaches about the price of freedom, praising those who died for the world’s freedoms, the whole makes the song in whole even more accessible.

As noted, the lyrical theme featured in ‘Live Free Or Die’ preaches about the freedoms that we enjoy around the world while praising those who died for those freedoms.  Cans sings of these topics right from the song’s outset, “I am free like an eagle/Spreading my wings in the sky/Protecting the winds that are changing/Therefore, I must give the eye/I know we must defend it/From those who would take it away/There is a price for this freedom/Way more than we wish to pay/Nothing’s free in freedom/Pay the price/There’s no cost reduction to paradise/Live free or die/Come and break the chains/Or do not come at all/Live free or die/Come on/Shout it out and heed the freedom call.”  The message continues in the song’s second verse, “By the blood of my brothers/I do solemnly swear/To spread the gospel of freedom/Even if nobody cares/No way to alter the past times/Rewrite our lost yesteryears/Only one thing to remember/Freedom spells nothing like fear/I’ll ignite the fire/Roll the dice/Let us stand together/Break the ice.”  If this collective content is not about the noted topic of freedom and honoring those who paid that ultimate price for freedom, then it would certainly be interesting to know the song’s true lyrical theme.  Otherwise, it certainly will resonate with a wide range of audiences and do so even more when it pairs with the song’s unique musical arrangement.  When the song in whole is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s songs (including its singles), the whole makes Hammer of Dawn a work that Hammerfall fans and power metal fans alike will appreciate from beginning to end.

Hammer of Dawn, the new forthcoming album from Hammerfall, is a work that will appeal widely among the band’s fans and to power metal fans in general.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike.  The album’s singles and the songs examined here all do well to make that clear.  When they are all considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the record easily one of the best of the year’s new hard rock and metal albums so far.

Hammer of Dawn is scheduled for release Friday through Napalm Records.

Courtesy: Napalm Records

In other Hammerfall news, the band has also announced it is scheduled to launch its “United Forces Tour” alongside Helloween March 22 in Oslo, Norway. The tour, which will take the band’s to cities across Europe, is scheduled to run through May 22 in London, England. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

UNITED FORCES TOUR 2022
25.03.22 NO – Oslo / Sentrum Scene
26.03.22 SE – Göteborg / Partille Arena
28.03.22 FI – Helsinki / Black Box
29.03.22 EE – Talinn / Noblessneri Valukoda
01.04.22 DE – Bamberg / Brose Arena
02.04.22 DE – Hamburg / Sporthalle
03.04.22 DE – Berlin / Verti Music Hall
04.04.22 DE – Regensburg / Donau Arena 
08.04.22 ES – Madrid / Wizink Center
09.04.22 ES – Barcelona / St. Jordi Club
11.04.22 IT – Milan / Lorenzini District
12.04.22 DE – Kempten / Black Box
13.04.22 CH – Zürich / Samsung Hall
15.04.22 LU – Luxemburg / Rockhal
16.04.22 NL – Tilburg / 013
18.04.22 PL – Katovice / MCK
20.04.22 BG – Sofia / Arena Armeec
22.04.22 AT – Vienna / Gasometer
23.04.22 CZ – Prague  / O2
24.04.22 SK – Zvolen / Ice Stadium
26.04.22 HU – Budapest / Papp Laszlo Sportarena
29.04.22 DE – Bochum / Ruhrcongress
30.04.22 DE – Stuttgart / Schleyerhalle
01.05.22 DE – Frankfurt / Jahrhunderthalle
04.05.22 UK – Manchester / Manchester Academy
05.05.22 UK – London / Brixton Academy

More information on Hammerfall’s forthcoming album and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.hammerfall.net

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/hammerfall

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/hammerfall

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hammerfall Debuts Visualizer For New Album’s Second Single

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Hammerfall gave audiences another preview of its new album this week.

The band unveiled the visualizer for its new single, ‘Venerate Me’ Thursday. The CG video features a book whose pages feature black and white images of the band members. The images appear seemingly magically as the song plays over the presentation.

‘Venerate Me’ is the second single from Hammerfall’s forthcoming album, Hammer of Dawn, which is scheduled for release Feb. 25 through Napalm Records. The band premiered the album’s lead single/title track Dec. 1.

The song’s musical arrangement is a fully immersive, full, throttle composition. Stylistically, it is just as much of a powerhouse power metal opus as ‘Hammer of Dawn.’ However, there are subtleties in the arrangement’s sound that sets it apart from its predecessor. Once again, the comparison to works from Sabaton and other similar acts is inescapable.

Founding member/guitarist OScar Dronjak said ‘Vernate Me’ is one of the most notable of the songs featured in the band’s new album.

“The second single is here, and I’m very, very proud of it!,” he said.  “The music was written during the darkest, most uninspiring days of the pandemic and still came out as one of the strongest on the whole album. Joacim’s fantastic lyric idea makes this track really stand out, and the special guest appearance towards the end really pushes it over the edge!”

The edge that Dronjack mentions comes from a guest vocal appearance by metal legend, King Diamond.

Front man Joacim Cans talked about the song’s lyrical theme.

“Lyrically one of my greatest efforts dealing with the fact that we die twice!,” said Cans. 
”First when we take our last breath and second when someone says your name for the last time. Say my name and I will never die!”

Hammer of Dawn will release through a variety of platforms noted below along with the album’s track listing.

Hammer of Dawn will be available in varying formats in various territories:
– Ltd Deluxe Box, incl CD Digisleeve, Hardcover Photobook, Plectrum Tin, Hammer Key Chain, Bottle Opener – strictly limited to 500 (Napalm Webstore exclusive)
– CD Digisleeve
– 1LP Gatefold Black
– 1LP Gatefold Marbled Orange Transparent/Black – strictly limited to 300 (Napalm Webstore exclusive)
– 1LP Gatefold Crystal Clear – strictly limited to 300 (EMP exclusive)
– 1LP Gatefold Curacao – strictly limited to 300 (Levy X & Ginza exclusive)
– Bundle CD + Shirt (outside North America only)
– Digital Album

Hammer of Dawn tracklist:
1. Brotherhood
2. Hammer of Dawn
3. No Son of Odin
4. Venerate Me
5. Reveries
6. Too Old to Die Young
7. Not Today
8. Live Free or Die
9. State of the W.I.L.D.
10. No Mercy

Courtesy: Napalm Records

In other Hammerfall news, the band has also announced it is scheduled to launch its “United Forces Tour” alongside Helloween March 22 in Oslo, Norway. The tour, which will take the band’s to cities across Europe, is scheduled to run through May 22 in London, England. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

UNITED FORCES TOUR 2022
25.03.22 NO – Oslo / Sentrum Scene
26.03.22 SE – Göteborg / Partille Arena
28.03.22 FI – Helsinki / Black Box
29.03.22 EE – Talinn / Noblessneri Valukoda
01.04.22 DE – Bamberg / Brose Arena
02.04.22 DE – Hamburg / Sporthalle
03.04.22 DE – Berlin / Verti Music Hall
04.04.22 DE – Regensburg / Donau Arena 
08.04.22 ES – Madrid / Wizink Center
09.04.22 ES – Barcelona / St. Jordi Club
11.04.22 IT – Milan / Lorenzini District
12.04.22 DE – Kempten / Black Box
13.04.22 CH – Zürich / Samsung Hall
15.04.22 LU – Luxemburg / Rockhal
16.04.22 NL – Tilburg / 013
18.04.22 PL – Katovice / MCK
20.04.22 BG – Sofia / Arena Armeec
22.04.22 AT – Vienna / Gasometer
23.04.22 CZ – Prague  / O2
24.04.22 SK – Zvolen / Ice Stadium
26.04.22 HU – Budapest / Papp Laszlo Sportarena
29.04.22 DE – Bochum / Ruhrcongress
30.04.22 DE – Stuttgart / Schleyerhalle
01.05.22 DE – Frankfurt / Jahrhunderthalle
04.05.22 UK – Manchester / Manchester Academy
05.05.22 UK – London / Brixton Academy

More information on Hammerfall’s forthcoming album and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.hammerfall.net

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/hammerfall

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/hammerfall

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hammerfall Announces New Album Details; Debuts Lead Single’s Video; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Hammerfall will tentatively release its next album this winter.

The band announced through a news release distributed Wednesday, it is scheduled to release its next album, Hammer of Dawn, Feb. 25 through Napalm Records. In anticipation of the record’s release, the band premiered the video for the album’s lead single, the album’s title track, Wednesday.

The video was shot at Liseberg Amusement Park in Gothenburg, Sweden. Directed by Ullaeus, the video features the band performing its new single inside one of the park’s fun houses as a young woman works her way through the facility.

Front man Joacim Cans talked about the video shoot in a prepared statement.

“We already had the idea to shoot a video at legendary amusement park Liseberg 20 years ago,” said Cans. “But like any good bottle of Champagne this idea needed to rest and mature before taken into action. And f***, I am happy we waited!”

Added Cans, “Together with director Patric Ullaeus we have created something unique and astonishing that totally blows me away every time I watch it. You can really tell that we haven’t played together for almost two long and never-ending years. We are as energetic as a pack of hungry wolves in the video ready to shred and deliver the heavy metal gospel!”

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Hammer of Dawn’ is an up-tempo composition. Cans’ powerhouse vocals pair with the instrumentation to make the whole appealing to fans of works from the likes of Sabaton, Judas Priest and others of that ilk.

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the release announcing the album’s coming release and single/video’s premiere. Reading through the lyrics provided with the video, it would seem that the song’s lyrical theme is one of pushing through life’s adversities whether personal or emotional/mental. That is this critic’s interpretation and should not be taken as the only interpretation.

Hammer of Dawn will release through a variety of platforms noted below along with the album’s track listing.

Hammer of Dawn will be available in varying formats in various territories:
– Ltd Deluxe Box, incl CD Digisleeve, Hardcover Photobook, Plectrum Tin, Hammer Key Chain, Bottle Opener – strictly limited to 500 (Napalm Webstore exclusive)
– CD Digisleeve
– 1LP Gatefold Black
– 1LP Gatefold Marbled Orange Transparent/Black – strictly limited to 300 (Napalm Webstore exclusive)
– 1LP Gatefold Crystal Clear – strictly limited to 300 (EMP exclusive)
– 1LP Gatefold Curacao – strictly limited to 300 (Levy X & Ginza exclusive)
– Bundle CD + Shirt (outside North America only)
– Digital Album

Hammer of Dawn tracklist:
1. Brotherhood
2. Hammer of Dawn
3. No Son of Odin
4. Venerate Me
5. Reveries
6. Too Old to Die Young
7. Not Today
8. Live Free or Die
9. State of the W.I.L.D.
10. No Mercy

Courtesy: Napalm Records

In other Hammerfall news, the band has also announced it is scheduled to launch its “United Forces Tour” alongside Helloween March 22 in Oslo, Norway. The tour, which will take the band’s to cities across Europe, is scheduled to run through May 22 in London, England. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

UNITED FORCES TOUR 2022
25.03.22 NO – Oslo / Sentrum Scene
26.03.22 SE – Göteborg / Partille Arena
28.03.22 FI – Helsinki / Black Box
29.03.22 EE – Talinn / Noblessneri Valukoda
01.04.22 DE – Bamberg / Brose Arena
02.04.22 DE – Hamburg / Sporthalle
03.04.22 DE – Berlin / Verti Music Hall
04.04.22 DE – Regensburg / Donau Arena 
08.04.22 ES – Madrid / Wizink Center
09.04.22 ES – Barcelona / St. Jordi Club
11.04.22 IT – Milan / Lorenzini District
12.04.22 DE – Kempten / Black Box
13.04.22 CH – Zürich / Samsung Hall
15.04.22 LU – Luxemburg / Rockhal
16.04.22 NL – Tilburg / 013
18.04.22 PL – Katovice / MCK
20.04.22 BG – Sofia / Arena Armeec
22.04.22 AT – Vienna / Gasometer
23.04.22 CZ – Prague  / O2
24.04.22 SK – Zvolen / Ice Stadium
26.04.22 HU – Budapest / Papp Laszlo Sportarena
29.04.22 DE – Bochum / Ruhrcongress
30.04.22 DE – Stuttgart / Schleyerhalle
01.05.22 DE – Frankfurt / Jahrhunderthalle
04.05.22 UK – Manchester / Manchester Academy
05.05.22 UK – London / Brixton Academy

More information on Hammerfall’s forthcoming album and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.hammerfall.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hammerfall

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hammerfall

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hammerfall Drops The Hammer On 2020’s Top New Live Recordings List

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Live music and live music venues took a big hit this year thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  That goes without saying.  Music acts and venues from the independent level all the way up to the big names were force to put their live music plans on hold indefinitely as a result of the pandemic.  However a glimmer of hope rose this week when Live Nation head Joe Berchtold was quoted by major media outlets as saying that he believed live music would return by summer 2021.  One can only hope that Mr. Berchtold is right, and that when it does return, audiences will welcome its return rather than let the germaphobes control their minds.  Until then, audiences do have lots of live music to enjoy on CD, DVD and Blu-ray that was released this year.  Hammerfall released its latest live recording Live! Against The World this year.  Dream Theater also dropped its new live recording Distant Memories: Live in London.  Metallica even celebrated the anniversary of its landmark S&M show with the release of S&M2.  These are just some of the recordings that made Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Live Recordings.  They were joined by new live material from the likes of Myrath, The Rolling Stones, and Kamelot.

As with each list from Phil’s Picks, this collection features the Top 10 new titles in the given category and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Live Recordings.

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW LIVE RECORDINGS

  1. Hammerfall – Live! Against The World
  2. Jimi Hendrix – Live in Maui
  3. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra – A Swingin’ Sesame Street Celebration
  4. Def Leppard – London to Vegas
  5. The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels Live
  6. Devin Townsend – Order of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1
  7. John Lee Hooker – Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990
  8. Waylon Jennings – The Outlaw Perrformances
  9. Myrath – Live in Carthage
  10. Kamelot – I Am The Empire Live from the 013
  11. Dream Theater – Distant Memories: Live in London
  12. Metallica – S&M2
  13. Delta Rae – Coming Home To Carolina
  14. Bush – Live in Tampa
  15. Dee Snider – For The Love of Metal

Up next from Phil’s Picks is one of the last three music categories of the year, Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Rock Albums.  After that will be the year’s top new hard rock & metal albums, and then last but not least, the year’s top new albums overall.  From there, it’ll be on to the DVDs and Blu-rays in all of their categories.  Stay tuned for all of that.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

‘Live! Against The World’ Is HammerFall’s Best Live Recording Yet

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Live, in-person concerts have been hard to come by this year.  That goes without saying.  The global COVID-19 pandemic has all but wiped out live shows.  If not for live streams and so-called “drive-in” concerts, live music would be gone.  The noted shows are just a couple of ways that acts across the musical universe have worked to bring live music to audiences.  It would seem that as a result of the pandemic’s impact, audiences have also seen a rise in the number of live recordings released this year, too.  That is just this critic’s own take and could be incorrect.  Though, it certainly seems that live recordings have been more prominent this year than in the past.  Veteran power metal band HamemrFall will join the ranks of those countless acts who have released live recordings this year when it releases its new live recording Live! Against the World Friday through Napalm Records.  Only the band’s third ever live recording, this 20-song performance is everything that the band’s longtime fans could hope for.  That is thanks in no small part to its set list, which will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance of said set list adds to the recording’s appeal, and will be discussed a little later.  The performance’s production rounds out its most important elements, and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make Live! Against The World HammerFall’s best live recording yet and one of the year’s top new live DVDs/BDs.

HammerFall’s forthcoming live recording Live! Against The World is a wonderful way for the band’s fans to get their live fix now and even after the global COVID-19 pandemic ends, whenever that might be.  That is due in no small part to the recording’s set list.  The extensive 20-song set list clocks in at just under two hours, and is the very definition of career-spanning.  Given, the concert – recorded Feb. 15, 2019 at the MHP Arena in Ludwigsburg, Germany – was mainly in support of the band’s then latest album Dominion, but it pulled songs from every single one of the band’s 11 albums.  Dominion is only represented by five songs, as a matter of fact.  Other albums only get one nod, while others get two to three.  Regardless, what the band has done here is given audiences the widest possible cross section of its catalog.  That includes some well-known songs and even some deeper cuts mixed in for good measure.  Simply put, the expansive set list that is featured in Hammerfall’s new live recording creates a solid foundation for this presentation.  It is just one part of what makes this recording such an appealing presentation.  The band’s performance of the set list does its own share to make the recording so engaging and entertaining.

The performance of the concert’s featured set list is powerful in its own right.  Right from the show’s opening in ‘Never Forgive, Never Forget,’ the energy runs high.  Front man Joacim Cans’ vocals soar here while his band mates – Oscar Dronjack (guitar), Pontus Norgren (guitar), Fredrik Larsson (bass), and David Wallin (drums) – each shine in their own right.  The time keeping is solid while the harmonies between the guitars and bass, and the guitar solos absolutely soar.  The show’s energy stays high from that point on through, with the only moments of rest coming occasionally between songs when Cans taking the time to interact with the audience.  Even those moments are themselves rare.  What’s more, even in a slightly slower song, such as ‘Hollwed Be My Name,’ the band still manages to keep the audience entertained simply by performing the song.  That in itself is a statement.  The over-the-top guitar solos are kept to a minimum, with the band opting instead to present the songs as they were on record for the most part.  The result is a concert performance that lets the band’s talents shine through from beginning to end, rather than relying on a bunch of theatrics.  It is another solid testament to the recording’s appeal and to the band’s ability to entertain audiences.  It is just one more way in which the recording proves itself so appealing, too.  The recording’s overall production rounds out its most important elements to bring everything together.

The production of HammerFall’s new live recording Live! Against the World is important to note because it gives audiences the best seat in the house.  The camera angles and transitions keep right up with the energy in the songs, enhancing the experience even more. Audiences will appreciate the seeming drone shots that take them up above the crowd, looking down at various points throughout the concert. Whether it its a drone shot or a crane shot, the fact of the matter here is that this is a unique style shot that is not often used in live rock recordings. There is something special about being able to look down and see the audience moving en masse as the fists pump and heads bang in time with the music. It instills a certain positive feeling in audiences as they see it happen The various on-stage shots that come from just below the stage and even on the stage gives viewers that up close and personal experience that they otherwise would not have likely gotten. The wide shots give audiences an appreciation for the venue’s makeup and the sheer devotion of the fans as they see how packed the concert hall was for the show. The shots used for the pyro effects add their own touch to the presentation. They are captured at just the right locations and angles to fully capture the immensity of the plumes of fire. One can almost imagine how hot the flames must have been. Noting again the transitions between all of the noted shots, they are so smooth throughout. They help to translate the energy exuded by the band and audience alike without leaving viewers feeling dizzied. As a result, they and the shots themselves do even more to enrich the viewing experience.

On a related note, the recording’s audio production is just as impressive as its video. The audio production is exactly what audiences should hope for.  The instrumentation is expertly balanced, even as bombastic as that collective is.  The vocals are right there with the instruments, too.  Considering the size of the concert hall, all of this is important in regards to making sure the sound was balanced and did not just echo throughout the venue. Those efforts paid off, too.

HammerFall’s forthcoming live recording Live! Against The World is an impressive presentation that the band’s longtime fans will appreciate just as much as those who are less familiar with the band’s catalog.  That is proven in large part through the recording’s featured set list.  The expansive 20-song set list clocks in at just under two hours and is in fact a truly career-spanning retrospective.  The band’s performance of the set list will keep audiences engaged and entertained from beginning to end.  The production, at least in regards to the recording’s CD platform, is appealing in its own way.  It leaves the concert sounding good just as much as the content makes it “appear.”  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, this presentation is HammerFall’s best live recording to date and one of this year’s absolute best new live recordings.  It is scheduled for release Friday through Napalm Records.  More information on the recording is available along with all of HammerFall’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.hammerfall.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hammerfall

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HammerFall

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Dragonforce Announces New Live U.S., European Dates

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Dragonforce announced a new slate of live dates this week.

The band announced on Monday, the dates for the upcoming North American leg of its tour.  The tour is in support of its most recent album Extreme Power Metal (2019).

The two week run is scheduled to launch March 5 in Phoenix, AZ and to run through March 21 in Brooklyn, NY, and will feature in performances in other cities, such as St. Louis, MO; Detroit, MI and Salt Lake City, UT.  Unleash the Archers and Visions of Atlantis will join Dragonforce for the tour.

Also joining the band for the run will be bassist Alicia Vigil (Vigil of War). Vigil’s addition to the band is just the latest following the departure of bassist Frederic Leclercq from the band in August. Damien Rainaud, who produced Extreme Power Metal handled bass duties for the band at its most recent shows, following the parting of ways between Leclercq and the band.

Vigil said in a recent interview, she was looking forward to joining Dragonforce for its upcoming run.

“So beyond stoked that Dragonforce chose me to be a part of this!,” she said.  “I can’t wait to travel the world and play these new cities with them, and be a part of their legacy!”

Following its upcoming North American run, Dragonforce will head back overseas for another European run starting March 24 in Odense, Denmark.  The tour is scheduled to run through July 18 in Balingen, Germany. Hammerfall is scheduled to join Dragonforce for select dates on the tour.

Vigil will also join Dragonforce for its European run.  Dragonforce founding member and guitarist Herman Li talked recently about her addition to the band for its upcoming run.

“Alicia was recommended to me by a number of musician friends in L.A.,” he said.  “She impressed me with her playing, her professionalism and her ability to learn the Dragonforce songs really quickly!  I’m excited to have her playing on this tour, and I think the fans will really like what she brings to the show.”

Dragonforce will stream its world tour live through Li’s official Twitch channel.  The band’s upcoming North American and European dates are noted below.

DragonForce USA Tour – Mission 2
w/ Unleash The Archers, Visions Of Atlantis
Tickets – https://dragonforce.com/shows
VIP – http://dragonforce.soundrink.com/

Mar. 5 – Club Red – Phoenix, AZ
Mar. 6 – The Regent – Los Angeles, CA
Mar. 8 – Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA
Mar. 10 – Metro Music Hall – Salt Lake City, UT
Mar. 11 – Oriental Theater – Denver, CO
Mar. 13 – Fine Line – Minneapolis, MN **
Mar. 14 – Red Flag – St. Louis, MO **
Mar. 15 – House of Blues – Chicago, IL
Mar. 17 – The Agora – Cleveland, OH
Mar. 18 – St. Andrews Hall – Detroit, MI
Mar. 19 – Roxian Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA
Mar. 20 – The Palladium – Worcester, MA
Mar. 21 – Warsaw – Brooklyn, NY
** = no Visions of Atlantis

DragonForce tour dates
Mar. 24 – Posten – Odense, Denmark +
Mar. 25 -Train – Arhus, Denmark +
Mar. 26 – Amager Bio – Copenhagen, Denmark +
Mar. 27 – Partille Arena – Partille, Sweden +
Mar. 28 – Annexet – Stockholm, Sweden +
May 16 – Pulp Summer Slam – Manila, Philippines
Jun. 26-27 – Rock am Härtsfeldsee – Dischingen, Germany
Jul. 2-4 – Rock Fest – Barcelona, Spain
Jul. 16-18 – Bang Your Head!!! – Balingen, Germany
+ = with Hammerfall

More information on the band’s upcoming live dates are available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.dragonforce.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/dragonforce

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Dragonforce

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com