DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Hammerfall - 'Gates Of Dalhalla' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 09, 2013    
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A very nice item, but with some strange elements.

This is a very special live DVD plus two CD package documenting the wonderful show to celebrate the band’s 15th anniversary, staged in the Dalhalla amphitheatre: a former limestone quarry in central Sweden used for summer concerts. The one documented here took place towards the end of Hammerfall’s ‘World Outbreak Tour’ on 28th July last year.

It’s a really curious venue with the crowd separated from the band by an expanse of water and it is clear that the wonderful interaction that one might have expected on such a milestone occasion is rather muted, although where the band encourages participation and reaction, they do receive a decent response, but otherwise there is an uncanny sterility.

There is no criticism from me regarding the set list for this landmark show, with key songs such as ‘B.Y.H.’, ‘Riders Of The Storm’, ‘Crimson Thunder’, ‘Renegade’, ‘Steel Meets Steel’, ‘Threshold’, ‘Let The Hammer Fall’ and ‘Glory To The Brave’ all featuring in an impressive list of twenty five songs plus a drum solo! It is testimony to the good feeling between the band and at least some of its former members that guitarist Stefan Elmgren, original vocalist Mikael Stanne and original drummer (but now guitarist) Jesper Strömblad are present for the occasion and each play at least one song with the current band. A more curious guest is Roger Pontare, who has twice represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest. His rendition of ‘När Vindarna Viskar Mitt Namn’ with the band is undoubtedly the most bizarre part of the whole show!

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For me the highlight of the show comes towards the end when choral group Team Cans appear, establish their credentials by singing ‘Oh Fortuna’ (Carmina Burana) and then provide choral backing to ‘Glory To The Brave’ and ‘One More Time’. Now, how all of the foregoing has transferred to the two CDs I am not certain, as I’ve only watched the DVD, but some of the show will certainly make for a perplexing listen for anybody who has not seen the visuals first! The entire concert is contained on the CDs, while the DVD has just one 20 minute extra in which Oscar Dronjak gives a tour of the venue and facilities and hopes that it does not rain during the show, as he says it always has at Hammerfall shows outdoors in Sweden.

The show is captured by a plethora of cameras, and the imagery and the sound on the video are both excellent, the show beginning in daylight and finishing in the dark, providing subtle variation as the show progresses. Oh – and yes it comes on to rain heavily before the end…

All of the band’s output has appeared on Nuclear Blast, and this slipcased DVD with integral booklet is up to their usual high standard of presentation. A very nice item, but with some strange elements!

Paul Jerome Smith

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