Style: heavy / power metal |
Year of birth: 1993
Views: 10985. Updated: 16 July, 2005 by Project Moderators
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Biography of Band
|Founded in 1993 Sweden's HAMMERFALL made a truly startling impact with their 1997 debut album 'Glory To The Brave'. Unashamedly harking back to prime time traditional Metal and including a rousing cover of WARLORD's 'Child Of The Damned', the Scandinavian's astute notion of what the European Metal scene was waiting for was amply rewarded. The debut album crashed straight into the German national charts selling over 50,000 copies in the process, surprising even their record company.
The band began purely as an extracurricular activity by various members of Swedish Death Metal bands. Ex-CEREMONIAL OATH drummer Jesper Str?mblad and guitarist Oscar Dronjac created HAMMERFALL as a leisure pursuit away from their then fulltime acts, Dronjac in CRYSTAL AGE and Jesper Str?mblad with IN FLAMES. Dronjac had also been a member of Black / Thrash act DESECRATOR, having released the 1989 demo cassette 'Wake The Dead' and a 1990, three song demo 'Black Sermons'. The founding HAMMERFALL line-up was completed by DARK TRANQUILLITY vocalist Mikael Stanne and guitarist Nicke Sundin.
HAMMERFALL made an auspicious debut covering PRETTY MAIDS' 'Red Hot And Heavy' at 'Rockslaget', a local band competition in 1994. With HAMMERFALL drawing themselves up to the semi-finals by 1996 the band became more of a solid unit as Stanne bowed out of the show due to tour commitments with DARK TRANQUILLITY. Soon locating a new frontman, LUCIFERION and HIGHLANDER vocalist singer Joacim Cans was drafted.
HAMMERFALL now found themselves the subject of recording contract offers and various band members were now forced into making the decision to stay or concentrate on their other bands. Guitarist Glenn Ljungstr?m was superseded by Stefan Elmgren and bassist Fredrik Larsson returned to NONE. His position was taken by BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB and KEEGAN man Magnus Rosen. Although a quintet HAMMERFALL were not shy in admitting that a sixth member, in the form of Jesper Str?mblad, also assisted in the writing process and the Swedes eventually signed to German label Nuclear Blast.
The Rock media was quick to take the band to their hearts and the group's debut album, 'Glory To The Brave', gained 'Album of the month' awards in both 'Heavy Oder Was' and 'Rock Hard', capping it all by receiving an endorsement of maximum marks in 'Metal Hammer'. Nuclear Blast also released a limited edition vinyl version of the album in razorsaw shape, restricted to a mere 500 copies. However, not all went well on the release front as a single of 'Glory To The Brave' mistakenly included a rough mix live version of 'The Metal Age' instead of the planned 'I Believe'. The band were furious and duly vented their anger in the press. The original single is now a sought after rarity as from the second pressing the necessary correction was made.
To support the record HAMMERFALL toured in Germany mid position on a bill including veterans TANK and RAVEN consistently stealing the headliner's crowds. Further touring ensued as guests to GAMMA RAY and JAGPANZER in September 1997. HAMMERFALL kept up their tradition of traditional Metal on these dates by including the STORMWITCH song 'Ravenlord' in their set, and were honoured to be joined by former STORMWITCH vocalist Andy Muck during their set at the 'Bang Your Head II' festival in southern Germany in the fall of '97.
The Swedes paid homage to German Metal legends ACCEPT by donating their version of 'Head Over Heels', with guest vocals from ACCEPT man Udo Dirkschneider, to the 'Tribute To Accept' album.
The sophomore 'Legacy Of Kings', once more utilising the writing services of Jesper Str?mblad, also fared well. In Europe HAMMERFALL took to the festival scene with gusto appearing at the Dutch 'Dynamo' event, Germanys 'Rock Hard' and 'With Full Force' festivals, Italy's 'Monsters Of Rock' and Austria's 'Mind Over Matter' as well as the 'Karlshamm' outdoor gig in their homeland.
HAMMERFALL recorded their third album with producer Michael Wagener in America. The launch party, held in Gothenburg during September, saw the band joined onstage at various intervals by RUNNING WILD drummer A.C., MOT?RHEAD drummer Mikkey Dee and erstwhile ACCEPT frontman Udo Dirkschneider. The evening rounded off with a rendition of JUDAS PRIEST's seminal 'Breaking The Law' with the band members swapping instruments.
Later that year HAMMERFALL would pay homage to their predecessors by cutting tracks for various tribute albums. Shown the honours were 'Man On The Silver Mountain' for the SPV DIO tribute as well as ACCEPT's 'Head Over Heels' (featuring Udo Dirkschneider) and HELLOWEEN's 'I Want Out'. The latter would be issued as the lead track on a single further impacting on the Swedish and German charts. The would tour took HAMMERFALL on a global expedition which included their debut American, Japanese and South American shows. However, the band suffered a major tragedy in 1999 when tour manager Lelle Hildebrandt disappeared and was presumed murdered.
In 2000 HAMMERFALL bounced back in spectacular fashion debuting at number 1 in Sweden with 'Renegade' and also charting higher than previously in Germany. The accompanying 'Renegade' single would also crack the charts open and offer fans a cover version of HEAVY LOAD's 'Run With The Devil'. Touring in Europe saw HAMMERFALL headlining with guests VIRGIN STEELE and FREEDOM CALL.
During the summer of 2001 HAMMERFALL offered up their rendition of New York 80's Glamsters TWISTED SISTER's 'We're Gonna Make It' to the tribute album 'Twisted And Strange'. News also emerged that Cans was forming a pivotal part of the WARLORD resurrection project acting as frontman alongside original members Thunderchild and Destroyer.
Elmgren would partake in outside activities too forging the melodic Metal band FULL STRIKE in the latter half of 2001. Joining Elmgren on the FULL STRIKE venture would be erstwhile LOST HORIZON singer Niclas Jonsson, ex-CRAWLEY bassist Chris Savage Goldsmith and FREAK KITCHEN drummer Bj?rn Fryklund. HAMMERFALL bassist Magnus Ros?n would not be idle either, forging an 'all star' Metal project by the name of EXECUTION fronted by Renato Tribuzy of Brazilian Power Metal band THOTEN.
Another act of interest to HAMMERFALL fans would be DREAM EVIL- debuting with the 2002 'Dragonslayer' album. Fronted by Niklas Isfeldt the group witnessed a union of guitarist Fredrik Nordstrom, MYSTIC PROPHECY and FIREWIND guitarist Gus G., bassist Peter Stalfors and drummer Snowy Shaw. The latter of course a veteran of the Scandinavian Metal scene noted for his work with MERCYFUL FATE, KING DIAMOND, MEMENTO MORI and NOTRE DAME. Isfeldt, Nordstrom and Stalfors would all boast strong HAMMERFALL connections. Isfeldt having acted as studio backing vocalist, Nordstrom as HAMMERFALL's producer and Stalfors as song writer.
Upon announcement of Stefan Elmgren's May 2002 FULL STRIKE debut album 'We Will Rise' through the Spitfire label it also revealed that the drum position had been taken by a former HAMMERFALL compatriot Patrik R?fling and that LOST HORIZON's Fredrik Olsson would augment the band for live work. FULL STRIKE debuted live in Gothenburg on April 19th.
HAMMERFALL themselves would progress on their new album throughout the Spring and early summer. Recorded entirely digitally at HELLOWEEN vocalist ANDI DERIS's studio in Tenerife, the record would be produced by Charlie Bauerfiend. A cover version of CHASTAIN's 'Angel Of Mercy' would be laid down during this time. With the sessions finalized Johannson made time to session on Christian Metal band NARNIA's 2002 album 'The Great Fall'. Japanese versions of 'Crimson Thunder', issued by the JVC Victor label, added three extra tracks in 'Crazy Nights' and live versions of 'Renegade' and 'Hammerfall'. The USA variant added a rendition of the KISS classic 'Detroit Rock City'.
The band's momen
tum would be halted though with a vicious attack on HAMMERFALL frontman Joacim Cans just days before a scheduled video shoot for the single 'Hearts On Fire'. Cans was assaulted by a Black Metal fan with a beer glass at a bar in the group's hometown of Gotheburg on August 10th sustaining an injury around his right eye which required 25 stitches to close.
'Crimson Thunder' gave HAMMERFALL their highest chart position in Germany to date, debuting at no. 13. HAMMERFALL would be revealed to be acting as support act to DIO on the Rock veteran's November North American dates. A sustained bout of touring throughout Europe in January and February found MASTERPLAN as special guests. Opening acts would be fellow Swedes NOSTRADAMEUS for the first leg of the tour then DREAM EVIL took over this position. The band, in union with NOCTURNAL RITES, lined up co-headline dates in Japan for March of 2003 upfront of gigs across Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico in May. An interesting diversion saw HAMMERFALL participating as celebrity contestants in the popular Swedish TV game show 'F?ngarna'.
The band suffered a casualty both personally and financially when on 10th August guitarist Oscar Dronjak was involved in a motorbike crash, fracturing his left arm. HAMMERFALL's Summer dates, including the Sweden's 'Malm?festivalen' event and UK 'Bloodstock' festival, were all postponed as a result. Magnus Ros?n took time out from the HAMMERFALL schedule to lay down bass on MASTERPLAN vocalist JORN LANDE's solo album 'Out To Every Nation'.
The band's live album 'One Crimson Night' soon found the band back in the charts but another reminder of their touring past would not be so welcome. According to reports in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, allegations were made that an individual had stolen over $30,000 of US tour reciepts and merchandise money. In addition Joacim Cans claimed this person, hired by the band, stole "drums, the amplifiers, and all the other rental equipment".
In more encouraging news for HAMMERFALL fans Cans announced the prospect of a solo album going by the project title of CANS, confirming he was in collusion with DIONYSUS and ex-SINERGY drummer Ronny Milianowicz for these recordings. Indeed, the pair had been working together on an epic concept piece entitled 'The Conspiracy' for the preceding four years. Featured guest would be the HALFORD and PAINMUSEUM guitarist "Metal" Mike Chlasciak and HAMMERFALL's own Stefan Elmgren. The singer would also donate lyrics to the track 'Bringer Of War' featured on the 2004 DIONYSUS album 'Anima Mundi'.
Dronjak and Cans closed out the year performing at an epic anniversary bash for the renowned Rockfabrik Rock club in Ludwigsburg, Germany. The duo performed HAMMERFALL songs 'At The End Of The Rainbow', 'Hearts On Fire' and 'HammerFall' utilising GODIVA's Mitch Koontz and PRIMAL FEAR's Tom Naumann as backing musicians.
Anders Johansson joined STRATOVARIUS alongside his brother Jens in January of 2004 but quit within a week to concentrate on HAMMERFALL. Meantime the CANS project would be confirmed for an appearance at the 'Sweden Rock' festival, his HAMMERFALL colleague Stefan Elmgren joining him for the occasion. Joacim Cans was set to guest on a cover version of ACCEPT's 'Balls To The Wall', included as a bonus track on the May 2004 album 'Divinity' from Finnish act ALTARIA. However, an illness saw Cans backing out at the eleventh hour.
To mark the release of the CANS 'Beyond The Gates' album the singer held a launch party on 8th May at the Metallterrassen Club in Gothenburg. With Cans acting as DJ for the evening an all star band dubbed the METAL MONARCHS, featuring HAMMERFALL guitarist Oscar Dronjak, provided the live entertainment.
HAMMERFALL reconvened at a studio in Denmark producer Charlie Bauernfeind in September to craft a new album for 2005 issue. At this same juncture HAMMERFALL bassist Magnus Ros?n announced the issue of a new solo album entitled 'Arose' and projected dates in South America during October to back it up.
Members of HammerFall
| Current Members:|
Patrik Rafling. Period: 1997 - 1999. Role: drums
Anders Johansson. In Band at: 1999 - . Role: Drums
Oscar Dronjack (Founder). In Band at: 1996 - . Role: Guitars
Joachim Cans. In Band at: 1993 - . Role: Vocals
Stefan Elmgren. In Band at: 1997 - . Role: Guitars
Magnus Ros?n. In Band at: 1997 - . Role: Bass
Mikael Stanne. Role: vocals
Jesper Stromblad. Period: 1993 - 1997. Role: drums
Johan Larsson. Period: 1993 - 1994. Role: bass
Fredrik Larsson. Period: 1994 - 1997. Role: bass
Niklas Sundin. Period: 1993 - 1995. Role: guitar
Glenn Ljungstrom. Period: 1995 - 1997. Role: guitar
|CD, LP: Glory To The Brave (1997) Studio: Nuclear Blast Records. Tracklist.|
CD, LP: Legacy Of Kings (1998) Studio: Nuclear Blast Records. Tracklist.
CD, LP: Renegade (2000) Studio: Nuclear Blast Records. Tracklist.
CD: Crimson Thunder (2002) Studio: Nuclear Blast Records. Tracklist.
CD,LP: One Crimson Night (2003) Studio: Nuclear Blast Records. Tracklist.
CD: Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken (2005)