Helloween and Hammerfall joined forces in 2022 for a bombastic joint tour throughout Europe, and in September, the dynamic duo introduced that they’d carry this tremendously well-received present throughout the pond and over to america. With 13 dates scheduled on the tour, and places spanning from New York, to Los Angeles, to all over the place in between, it was an instantaneous must-see for energy steel followers of all ages. We attended a number of of those exhibits, and this is a recap of the tour run. Whether or not you have been there, or are sobbing at residence since you missed it, maintain studying!
Helloween is extensively thought to be the birthplace of energy steel as we all know it, whereas Hammerfall has carried the facility steel hammer excessive because the nineties. Each carry with them in depth legacies, joy-filled music meant to encourage, and the gravitas of seasoned performers. To place them on stage collectively is nothing in need of a match made in Valhalla for lovers of the style.
4 a long time of historical past stood behind Helloween as they launched into this journey in Dallas, Texas. The band has an expansive catalog of songs to select from, a sturdy historical past in energy steel and past, and a stage presence that has been categorized as near unparalleled. However United Forces 2023 additionally had one thing particular up its sleeve: it featured all three of the band’s historic singers, encompassing Kai Hansen (the band’s first vocalist, who later devoted himself solely to taking part in guitars), Michael Kiske (the vocalist from the band’s ‘golden period’), and Andi Deris (the following and longest-tenured vocal expertise). Along with the famend instrumentalists of the band, there have been seven people on stage for this tour, all united beneath the Helloween banner. Such seasoned performers have been greater than up for the problem, regardless of what number of roles and souls would have to be juggled, and these style mainstays have been hungry to show their place on the prime of the facility steel pecking order.
Hammerfall are nearly as infamous as their pumpkin-icon brothers, this Nordic act having gained a powerful following of their three a long time of life. They’ll declare twelve albums to their identify, together with 2022’s current “Hammer of Daybreak,” as a part of a complete legacy. Lengthy recognized for his or her theatrics and dramatics, there’s at all times the promise of thrilling spectacle at a Hammerfall present, with particulars from costuming to lighting deliberate with absolute precision. Led by longtime vocalist Joacim Cans, these Swedish metallers present no indicators of slowing down now that they’re three a long time into the sport. If something, they’re extra voracious than ever.
Hammerfall opened every evening as North America fell beneath their hammer. Reaping the success introduced by Hammer of Daybreak, the quintet introduced each the hammers and the warmth as they placed on a killer present time and time once more. Cans has mastered the craft of thrilling the viewers, and he does so with an unwavering smile. It is a no-frills, unadulterated, and anthemic heavy steel act. Once they hit the stage, one can really feel the power within the venue ignite, and each fan’s eyes are glued to the stage. Sheer anticipation crackles by way of the air like static earlier than a lightning strike.
With a 14-song set to feast upon, the group was shortly warmed up and wanting to sing alongside as they have been overtaken by Hammerfall’s metal-infused spell-work. And though this set spanned greater than an hour, it’d as nicely have handed within the blink of an eye fixed, little greater than a fury of splendid guitars and hovering vocal work. The musicianship was firing on all cylinders, and the passion all members of the Hammerfall crew exuded is past exceptional. Their on-stage dynamics led to an irresistible synergy that elevated them to unbelievably lofty heights.
Critics get pleasure from harping on the so-called “cheese” that backs these energy steel mainstays, however such critics will need to have by no means been enamored by such satisfying and infectious music. Already sturdy standing by itself, Hammerfall really involves life in a dwell setting. Guitarists Pontus Norgren and Oscar Dronjak burst forth with a tandem assault of addictive guitar riffs. Headbanging is a necessity as Fredrik Larsson delivers walloping bass strains, and drummer David Wallin gives the spine rhythmic work. And naturally, with the enigmatic Cans main the cost, there was no choice however surrendering to the splendor of anthemic energy steel. A powerful conventional contact within the set-list referred to as on the much-beloved photographs of medieval warriors, glory, and the consideration of knighthood.
Though the band was slated to function a gap act, they nonetheless delivered a efficiency that ended with a powerful encore. They started their outro with the fan-favorite “Hammer Excessive” earlier than diving into an incendiary rendition of “Hearts on Fireplace.” A brand new choir was born every evening as the group screamed alongside Cans in good time. There was no scarcity of fireplace to be discovered every night as Hammerfall graced the plenty with their presence, and each hearts and hammers have been on show as this mesmerizing quintet commanded consideration from all individuals in attendance.
Helloween has laid declare to many titles and lots of accolades. They’ve been heralded because the forefathers of energy steel, as essentially the most completed energy steel band throughout historical past, and far more. However as they conquered levels throughout United Forces 2023, they proved one factor above all else: these guys know methods to have enjoyable on stage. Their chemistry and dynamism will not be one thing that may be manufactured or replicated. In order they performed songs from throughout their in depth profession, it was plain to see that these artists and masters of their craft have been nonetheless elated to be on stage, placing their souls on show for the 1000’s that had gathered to see them.
Songs from the band’s most up-to-date (and self-titled) album Helloween featured each Deris and Kiske on vocals, because it did on the studio album. That is additionally the one album that options the present lineup of the band. Of the three vocalists gracing the Americas this 12 months, every took the roles that that they had on their respective albums. This included Hansen hovering to astounding heights because the band performed a medley of songs from Helloween’s debut EP and first album, sounding a lot as if the eighties have been nonetheless nicely inside attain. Nevertheless a few years might have handed since their relative debuts, each Hansen and Kiske retained nearly all of their vocal power, simply as highly effective as they have been on the primary days of recording.
As completely different as every man’s vocal approaches might have been, each on stage and of their careers, they coalesced in an attractive work of fluid artwork. The set-list spanned Helloween’s total profession, which supplied a wealthy bounty of fan-favorites and new expertise to placed on show. This was far more than the cash-grab that some had accused within the tour announcement’s early days. No, Kiske couldn’t faux a smile like that, and there’s no quantity of appearing that would generate the identical electrical ardor that adopted Helloween on its cross-country trek. Tangible affection sparked between every vocalist and founding members Michael Weikath and Marcus Grosskopf. It was a present that actually traversed each one of many band’s notable eras, and included the relative skills of every vocalist and musician in flip.
It wouldn’t be a Helloween present with out the 2 closing tracks, a powerful show from the seven-man ensemble that included each “Keeper of the Seven Keys” and “I Need Out.” Each are sufficient to drive any crowd right into a frenzy, however for a crowd that was already driving excessive on elation from Hammerfall, these closing notes have been nothing in need of pure ecstasy. Such a mix of iconic bands and mixed-era band-mates might need led to catastrophe on every other tour, however for United Forces 2023, it led to a transformative expertise that melded a long time collectively, undeniably proving that they have been every important elements within the historic energy steel story. These seasoned and expert musicians have by no means been counterparts, however companions, every stoking the fireplace that fuels the fervor of energy steel followers nicely into the twenty-first century.
Whereas the United Forces 2023 tour might have come to its pure finish, it succeeded in reaffirming the style may be very a lot alive, and that Helloween have its identify cemented within the hallowed halls of steel historical past.
Particular because of Samantha Buckman for her writing contributions to this article.