After a much deserved rest, the long standing Rock Veterans-“Hammerfall” are about to return to the world stage, completely energised and armed with a brand new set of songs! I caught up with their drummer in July, and here is what Anders had to say!...
Bruce: Hammerfall is known for many things, fantastic, hard hitting music, no strangers to hard work and of course, a love for touring. As you and your band mates have journeyed, you have experienced some many highs and lows. And for the most part, these have strengthened the band. If you look through the years, what impact have all of these experiences had on the music directly?
Anders: Thank you! Well, sometimes the lows does more harm than good. But this separates the weak from the tough. The men from the mice. If you manage to go through it, it strengthens you. Like when you break a bone, they say it's stronger in the broken healed place (I heard lately this is a myth, but you know what I mean:)) The lows in Hammerfall's case made us believe in the true sound and stopped experimenting any longer. Back to the roots! Why fix something that doesn’t need to be fixed in the first place? Done and over with it. It happens to many bands though. You try to broaden your horizons after a while. It's natural, but stupid if you have something good going. But now back to basics!
Q: You are coming off of a much deserved break, over a year I believe and pointing to the new album, it seems that this break was just what the doctor ordered!
A: Two years even. Yes, it made everyone realize where the band comes from and what we should do.
Q: "(r)Evolution" seems to embrace some of your early creations, when writing this album, were you looking back to your roots?
A: Yes, absolutely! We tried to make a record that would be like a follow up to “Legacy of Kings”. Yet a bit modern somehow.
Q: I would imagine that after taking such a lengthy break, all of you were more than ready to get going. When did you actually start to record the new album?
A: The drums in February this year. But the songwriting started before that. So the break was really not really a break:-) People were busy creating.
Q: What if anything were you hoping to recapture from previous years in terms of sound, and methodology of recording?
Q: So in keeping with the above question, what have you done that was similar to what has been done previous, and what have you done that would be different?
A: We used the producer from the two first records: Fredrik Nordström. That was a huge reason the album sounded like the first ones. His personality is a bit more"Swedish" than the others we had. We had hard working Germans before and they were great in all ways. Except one. They have a tendency to follow the leader (it is a common problem in Germany...and a strength as well. Depending how you look at it. In this case they buttered up to Oscar (founder and band leader). Just because they wanted to keep their job, I think. So there was a lot of one way communication going on. I don't think any of them, Oscar or the producers, realized themselves, but I personally think it harmed the end result slightly. It became too perfect somehow. Now with Nordström he was not sucking up to the leader so much. He spoke his mind and insisted on a lot of things. It's better for creativity. And his mix was more natural and powerful I think. Not so processed. Well, it's all what you prefer I guess, but I like when it sounds like a band playing.
Q: Now, upon listening to the new record, we can hear a renewed passion in Hammerfall, not that you have lost any, but knowing how hard you guys work, and how long the group has been together. How to you keep coming up with such passionate music?
A: People are passionate in their own ways. There are a lot of hidden aggression within the band members. And some open ones too:-) Not towards each other (so much:- )) but in general. It creates some tension in the music. Good ones! Metal should be aggressive!
Q: Speaking of hard work, you-as a band- are unbelievable Road Warriors! You have logged more miles than most, consistently touring all across the globe. How to you maintain that energy level?
A: It's not that hard really. We travel comfortably and have a great crew. We just play a few hours a night. Again, it might be the hidden aggressions within peoples heads that make it possible to keep going.:-)
Q: Obviously, we can expect another fantastic stage show in the months to come. Can you give us a sneak peek in what we can expect from the new Hammerfall show?
A: A huge drum kit with 21 drums and 20 cymbals. And some other stage things.... the others don't want me to tell you more:-)
Q: When do you start the tour?
A: Festivals like Wacken now in July. Then the 15:th of January in Germany. We might play South America before that but it's not yet confirmed when.
Q: With all that we have talked about, the longevity of the group, the amount of energy it takes to keep going and such. You must have a dedicated crew and organisation that continues to support you, not least-your record label. Nuclear Blast has been a partner in your journey for how long now?
A: Nuclear blast is one of two big reasons we are where we are. They are like a sixth member. They believed in the band from the beginning and make a lot of smart decisions as well as a lot of hard work. The other reason is our booking Company, All Access, that early on spent countless late night hours promoting the band, creating stage sets as well as cominmg up with good strategic moves.
Q: Again, I would imagine that having a label that has that amount of faith in you as musicians' actually enhances your creative atmosphere in both recording and touring.
A: Yes, it's is great to have a label with dedicated workers that love what they do. You should know, I assume! Frontiers also have a great reputation for exactly this kind of behaviour:-)
Bruce: As we wrap-up, thank-you so much Anders for taking the time to answer these questions. And after a well deserved rest, it is very good to have you and your mates back. A great new release and looking forward to the new tour.
Anders: Thank you!
HAMMERFALL - (r)Evolution (Nuclear Blast)
After a two year break, these heavy metal Swedes have returned with a vengeance! “r-Evolution” marks Hammerfall’s ninth studio album, and it is a scorcher! This record belies their years in the music industry, there is so much energy coming off these grooves, that you may need a seat-belt when listening! Rock-hard and intense, this collection of brand new expressions registers in the upper echelons of Rock-Metal. As we have come to expect, any Hammerfall song is complete with poignant messages, and “r-Evolution” is no exception! Hard-hitting, both musically and lyrically Hammerfall delivers. As we journey through this new creation, we are met with a familiar face right at the start; “Hector’s Hymn” sets the pace. We continue with such rockers as the title track, “Live Life Loud”, “Winter Is Coming” and much more. The signature sound of Hammerfall is still there, but the intensity is akin to their very first couple of albums! Seems the two-year rest was just what these musicians needed. Polished and re-forged, the group is offering up a total of eleven slices of melodic, molten metal that will keep you looking for more! Extraordinary talented musicians creating an extraordinary Recorded Work! Prepare yourself for a re-vitalised Hammerfall and take the next step in “r-Evolution”!! Bruce Atkinson (90/100)
Under The Lights
Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:
The Blue Gator: Zamboni Brothers: August 7th Jimmy LeGuilloux Band: August 8th/9th Rann Berry: August 15th/16th
Barking Parrot (Penticton): Steve Jones & the Patio Bandits: Aug 22nd (5:30pm) Paul Gibbons: Aug 29th
Doc Willoughby's: August 2nd The Mean Threes: August 8th
O'Flannigan's Pub: (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends) The Young 'Uns: August 8th Radio Lifeline: Aug. 22nd/Aug. 23rd Rockaholicks: Aug 29th/30th
South Okanagan Events Centre (Penticton): Alice In Chains: August 8th
Prospera Place: Sarah McLachlan: Oct. 24th
Kelowna Community Theatre: Gordon Lightfoot: Oct. 28th
South Okanagan Events Centre: John Fogerty: November 27th
…if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at: [email protected] and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....