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Hammerfall / Flotsam & Jetsam

Date: 5/24/18
Venue: Gramercy Theater, Manhattan, NYC
Report By: Rich Catino


Flotsam setlist:
Monkey Wrench
Dreams of Death
She Took an Axe
I Live You Die
Iron Maiden
No Place for Disgrace

Hammerfall setlist:
Hector's Hymn
Riders of the Storm
Dethrone and Defy
Blood Bound
Any Means Necessary
Crimson Thunder
Built to Last
Last Man Standing
Legacy of Kings Medley
Heeding the Call
Let the Hammer Fall
Hammer High
Hearts on Fire

On tour for their latest 2016 self titled album, Flotsam and Jetsam’s American thrash metal was a great compliment to the European power metal stylings of Hammerfall. And the crowd thought so too. They focused on sticking to songs from the first two albums, but still got in two from the latest; opener ‘Monkey Wrench’, and the very early Maidenish (first two albums) influenced ‘Iron Maiden’. Original singer Eric "A.K." Knutson and guitarist Michael Gilbert are joined by Michael Spencer on bass and Steve Conley on guitars (2013 -), with drummer Ken Mary the latest addition. “Doomsday for the Deceiver” represented by ‘Desecrator’, ‘Hammerhead’ and ‘She Took an Axe’, ‘I Live You Die’, , ‘Dreams of Death’ and title track to ‘No Place for Disgrace’ all known early 80s classics. Looking forward to their new album in late 2018.
Hammerfall have been making music since 1997 with the now classic “Glory to the Brave” debut. When the majority in America were buying into what was sold and advertised to them as the new rock and “metal”, luckily the Europeans had better taste and supported what was happening overseas. The Swedes are one of several European, and American, bands; Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, Kamelot, Angra, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Edguy, Primal Fear, etc, who came in the 90s to become part of the second generation of heavy metal. Yes, Hammerfall, as do these other bands, have an influence by Helloween at times, which is why their sound and style leans more towards power metal, but they also mix up arrangements.
Kicking off the set with ‘Hector’s Hymn’ (about their mascot) from 2014’s “(r)Evolution”, ‘Dethrone and Defy’, and the tile track to most recent album, “Built To Last”, the Hammer’s continue to carry on the trademarks from the forefathers Maiden, Priest, Accept, Dio, and Scorpions. Question my observations?...go ahead, listen to ’Riders Of The Storm’, ‘Renegade’, and ‘Bloodbound’ - all are live anthems the crowd sings to with heart(s) on fire. Yes, pun and encore closing anthem intended. Guitarist Oscar Dronjak, singer Joacim Cans, with Fredrik Larsson on bass the core from the original lineup, Pontus Norgren also on guitars, and drummer David Wallin, ‘Let The Hammer Fall’. “Legacy Of Kings” medley was a great jam taking parts of a few songs from I think is their best album. My only complaint, one hammer song is enough, no need to follow with a ‘Hammer High, or ‘Bushido’ as an encore? Ehh, they have better.

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