Hammerfall – “Live! Against The World” Earbook / BluRay 2 CD Digipack / 3 LP Coloured Vinyl (Napalm Records)
Battle Helm Rating
‘..we’ve been doing this for 23 years now…23 years of heavy f–king metal from Sweden!..’. Well, it doesn’t come any truer than that as stated by vocalist Joacim Cans to the 5,000 crazed Hammerfall fans at the MHP Arena in Ludwigsburg, Germany. Not known for selling their fans short, “Live! Against The World” is a 20-track live release offered in a variety of extravagant packages for the discerning collector. But whatever the choice, it’s the sterling epic power metal of the band that remains their true attraction as judged by the rapturous applause, huge cheers, and of course, massive on cue singalongs to this energised performance. Founded in the early 90s, Hammerfall have built their solid reputation over 11 studio albums and countless live performances, where they can always be counted on to put on a good show. As such, “Live! Against The World” is awash in that unmistakeable live energy, both from the band and their fans, as they celebrate their live favourites drawn from both past and present together. Indeed, as Cans says ‘..I want to see some serious headbanging my friends..’ on ‘Hector’s Hymn’ (taken from 2014’s “(r)Evolution”) the twin guitars of founder Oscar Dronjak and Pontus Norgren saw and squeal to David Wallin’s double bass pounding leading up to the heavenly melodic chorus of ‘..Hammer high to the sky, Follow the warrior and the king..’ as sung aloud by the Ludwigsburg faithful. On ‘The Dragon Lies Bleeding’ (taken from 1997’s “Glory To The Brave”), Cans soars and wails splendidly on this dramatic power metal classic driven by fast riffs and drums all leading up to the monumental singalong chorus of ‘.. Come across to the promised land, Close your eyes I will take your hand, Through the river of steel we’ll go, When the dragon lies bleeding..’ while the Ludwigsburg crowd respond with their own moving ‘whoa oh oh oh’ chant. Going deep on the epic ballad of ‘Last Man Standing’ (taken from 2007’s “Steel Meets Steel: Ten Years of Glory”), the alternating contrast between Cans’ soul and the powerful backing vocals from the band – not forgetting Ludwigsburg – define the immortal chorus of ‘(I) I am the one, (The one) Who lost control, (Control) But in the end I’ll be the, Last man standing’, made all the more moving by chiming melodies from the guitars and backing synth sounds. Definitely an unforgettable evening for both band and fans, “Live! Against The World” tells it like it was that night in expectedly spectacular fashion.