Live at The Whisky a Go Go
Los Angeles, CA
September 7th, 2019
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Swedish power metal legends Hammerfall return to the United States for a few select shows promoting the release of their latest album, "Dominion" prior to their major North American tour with Sabaton next month.
Hammerfall kicked off the first of these events here at the infamous Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles as a special showcase and record release party touted with extra songs and guest musicians not to be seen anywhere else but this evening.
Hammerfall's roster of heavy metal heroes revolves around founding member Oscar Dronjak on guitars and backing vocals. Joining him are lead vocalist Joacim Cans, Fredrik Larsson on bass guitar, Pontus Norgren on guitars and backing vocals, and David Wallin on drums.
"Dominion" was released three weeks ago and is their eleventh studio album since their inception back in 1993. They started the set with the opening track from the new release with "Never Forgive, Never Forget". This song has a more modern war theme than many of their fantasy based lyrics which will pair perfectly with their upcoming tour with Sabaton.
Guest musicians tonight included Neil Turbin (the original Anthrax singer), Michael Spencer (bassist from Flotsam and Jetsam), Bjorn Englen (bassist from Dio Disciples and many other projects), as well as another guitarist and the guy that does all their cover artwork came out as well.
They covered a huge range of material from their vast back catalog. They continued with another song from "Dominion" with "One Against the World" followed by the rebel biker anthem, "Renegade" and its companion piece "Any Means Necessary".
Fan Favorites came in rapid succession with their thematic high fantasy songs such as "Riders of the Storm", "Hero's Return", and "The Dragon Lies Bleeding". Neil Turbin handled vocal duties for the amazing "Hector's Hymn" which he did an awesome job on.
They hit a number of personal favorites of mine including "Blood Bound" and "Last Man Standing" but the highlight of the set for me was definitely the song "Dominion". I really love this track and it easily puts the new album at the top of their releases in my book.
They also did a number of their anthemic "hammer songs" such as "Let the Hammer Fall" which had the audience singing along, as well as "Hammer High" to end the main set.
The crowd chanted emphatically for the band to return and when they did they started off the encore with a blazing rendition of the theme song from Game of Thrones before leading into the hit single "(We Make) Sweden Rock" from the new album. All the guest musicians returned to the stage for the final song as Hammerfall finished everything up with "Hearts on Fire", instigating another massive sing along.
It was an amazing show with a killer set list and you could tell the band was really having a great time up there with their friends joining in on the festivities. I have loved Hammerfall for quite some time now and every time I see them live it just cements that fandom and enjoyment from their music all the more. I am really looking forward to seeing them again next month!
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