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Hammerfall: One Crimson Night
From the roar of the crowd chanting along with the lone keyboard in "Lore of the Arcane," the brief instrumental that opens Hammerfall's first live CD in majestic fashion, to the mighty riffs that eventually propel the Swedish band into "Riders of the Storm" and 17 more songs to come, One Crimson Night evokes everything you probably either love or hate about European power metal. Battle-ready hymns and sing-along anthems? Check. Heavy power chords that owe a considerable debt to Eighties hair metal? Check. Over-the-top vocals and highly melodic feel-good songs? Check. A nutso crowd of 4,000 strong that eats up every note? Check.
Yes, my friends, this is cheesy stuff. But it's oh so awesome — even if you can't understand a damn word singer Joacim Cans is saying when he speaks to the crowd in his native Swedish tongue. It's tough to resist banging your head to the compulsive rhythms of "The Way of the Warrior," "Templars of Steel," "Crimson Thunder" or "Renegade." And don't even think about playing One Crimson Night with the volume turned down low. Recorded on Feb. 20, 2003, in Gothenburg, Sweden, this two-disc set rocks full throttle with you-are-there urgency, and it heartily celebrates Hammerfall's first four studio albums dating back to 1997's Glory to the Brave.
A trio of bonus live tracks recorded in May 2003 fills out the second disc, but they are mere sideshows to the main event. Besides, after 19 steel-bladed Hammerfall songs played with an intensity unlike anything heard from this band before, how many more tracks do you need?
That said, I can't wait to see the One Crimson Night DVD.
1) Lore of the Arcane (1:44)
2) Riders of the Storm (4:54)
3) Heeding the Call (5:00)
4) Stone Cold (7:10)
5) Hero's Return (4:37)
6) Legacy of Kings (4:45)
7) Bass Solo (3:37)
8) At the End of the Rainbow (4:33)
9) The Way of the Warrior (4:03)
10) The Unforgiving Blade (3:49)
11) Glory to the Brave (6:35)
12) Guitar Solo (2:43)
13) Let the Hammer Fall (5:50)
Running Time (59:24)
1) Renegade (3:54)
2) Steel Meets Steel (4:37)
3) Crimson Thunder (7:29)
4) Templars of Steel (6:10)
5) Hearts on Fire (4:03)
6) Hammerfall (8:24)
7) The Dragon Lies Bleeding-Live in Guadalajara, Mexico, 5/23/03 (5:06)
8) Stronger Than All-Live in Santiago, Chile, 5/15/03 (4:29)
9) A Legend Reborn-Live in Guadalajara, Mexico, 5/23/03 (5:10)
Running Time (49:24)
Total Running Time (108:48)
Added: February 4th 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Hammerfall Web Site
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|Hammerfall: One Crimson Night
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2004-04-02 00:00:32
Live recordings are excellent in so many ways. The infectious chant of 4,000 Swedes "Hamm-Er-Fall ... Hamm-Er-Fall! " The energy that positively bounces out of your speakers and grabs your wrist, forcing you to pump your fist in the air. The clear display of undeniably excellent musicianship that enables the band's live performances to rival the quality of their studio work.
Hammerfall has been accused of churning out unimaginative music played very well. Their songs are only mildly imaginative, formulaic, non-progressive and over-the-top-cheesy. But we've said it before on these hallowed pages – it is possible to be good without breaking new ground. Yes, these are dungeons and dragon songs with huge anthemic melodies and bombastic productions. But that's exactly what we love about power-metal, and Hammerfall does it better than most. What other genre could whip up a choir of 4,003? (That's 3 band members, and 4,000 concert attendees singing the choruses of "Crimson Thunder" and "Let the Hammer Fall".) The last time we heard such an intense interaction between a crowd and the artists was Angra's Rebirth world tour. Also a double-CD, also conducted in a foreign-language, and also power metal. Coincidence? Nope – that's just the way power metal is, and that's the way audiences react to heavy, well played, melodic music. So don't expect anything too original. But do expect to be entertained. And isn't that why we listen to music?
Hammerfall's songs are sweeping vistas of sound fronted by a very good singer and backed by big vocal harmonies and double guitar attacks. The production job is particularly good although you can't help feeling that the lead guitar passages are held too far back in the mix, in favor of the rhythm and vocals.
The Gothenburg, Sweden show comprised seventeen songs, a bass solo and a lead guitar solo. Three more tracks are tacked onto the end as a bonus. These were recorded live in in Mexico and Chile, and are just as good as the Swedish show. The setlist takes tracks from all 4 of the band's studio releases, so if you've enjoyed HammerFall's previous material, you will like this one. And unlike most live recordings, One Crimson Night could also serve as a good introduction for newcomers.
The down-side of live recordings? Unlike studio albums, many of us can only play them so-many times before that crowd interaction starts getting old.
Added: April 1st 2004
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
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