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)