Archive for the Music Category

REVIEW: Orden Ogan – Final Days

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 10, 2021 by Sara Hammerzmith

Three years has passed since ”Gunmen” saw the day. Set in a wild west dystopic setting it is Orden Ogan’s most successful album to date, and the anticipation for the next one has been huge. I can only speak for myself, but as they announced the ”Final Days” and the concept of a dystopic space setting I got even more excited. From swamps to wild west to space and artificial intelligence – let’s do this.

The album starts out pretty straight on – with what seems to be a bit lighter than what we’re used to with the boys, but in no way bad. Already here you can tell arrangement wise of the new concept with the addition of technological filters over the voice. 

It is however, the second song of the album that first caught my attention. Starting off in the same vein as the opener just out of nowhere it escalated from zero to hero and even I found myself going ”whoa” as it approaches more that we know from ”F.E.V.E.R” and ”Gunman”. And that is the recipe for awesome, if you ask me.

The album seems to be a constant swinger of the moods – after heaviness comes the softness in ”Inferno” which is quite different from what we are used to with the boys, but a nice little different setting, and then back to what we are used to in their single ”Let the Fire Rain” is QUITE the throwback to ”Gunman”. 

”Interstellar” is the first song to really catch my attention. Featuring a cameo by Gus G I found myself with a big smile on my face from the playful melodies and the catchiness. It got something, you know? For the next song we see another cameo – this time by no one other than Ylva Eriksson from Brothers of Metal. Being a massive Brothers of Metal and specifically Ylva fan I was leaping around in circles when the collaboration was announced and I was not disappointed! 

It’s a low key beautiful and sentimental ballad called ”Alone in the Dark”, fitting of the theme of fighting artificial intelligence and survival without each other. The way Ylva’s voice compliment Seeb’s is just magical. 

After this little melancholic but beautiful break we are thrown into a series of heavy, very typical Orden Ogan songs making me think of the final showdown as far as timing goes. Starting off with ”Black Hole” and then thrown into ”Absolution for our Final Days” and ”Hollow” before wrapping up with ”It Is Over” which holds a more sentimental tone.

Over all, it’s a pretty decent album. What really sticks out for me is the details – addition of effects to the voice to make it more computerized as well as songs in general more ”popesque” but not in a ”We are abandoning metal” kind of way but to fit the theme itself. While it has some refreshing and new moments, you can still find the typical and core of Orden Ogan as well making it a pretty balanced album although I don’t find anything particularly new. Perhaps in ”Interstellar”, but that is about it. I am excited to see what they’ll do with the tour, once that is a thing again.

AFM Records

// Sara

Livgardet – Sabaton

Posted in Music with tags , on February 28, 2021 by Sara Hammerzmith

So! A few days ago, on February 26th to be more exact Sabaton released a new single called “Livgardet” which is named after exactly the same thing the song is about – the Swedish Royal Guard. This year they celebrate their 500th anniversary, so the band decided to commemorate that with a song!

So here it is folks! Video and song. The video is pretty nice – it’s interesting and fun to see them in a different setting, and I’m glad to see them take proper consultants to get it as historically correct as possible!

But now, lets talk about the song now, shall we? I’ll start by saying that I do like it a lot. It’s majestic and epic as usual with hymns from the boys, and it’s sweet to hear them sing in Swedish again, I’ll not deny that. It’s lowkey and haven’t got a lot going for it instrumental-wise, but relying more on the vocals which.. is.. somewhat similar to “Sparta” from “The Last Stand” in terms of build up, but as with most (not all) “recycled” songs, it’s just a notch better this time. The use of the psalm “Härlig är Jorden” is also a very nice touch to this majestic song – a term I’ve used quite a bit now I realize. But yeah – plain and simple – I love it. And not just because I love Sabaton, but because I do really like this song.

It was never really mentioned if it was a single from an upcoming albums or simply a stand alone single like “Bismarck” but I do like it a lot, and when we are allowed – to witness this song live. And I’m excited for what else is to come!

// Sara

Wig Wam – Never Say Die

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on February 22, 2021 by Sara Hammerzmith

So here we go again, as they sing in the title track. It’s been around nine years since they last recorded an album and around eight years since they disbanded. I’ve found myself looking at my tracker on Setlist.fm thinking to myself “I’ll never get to see this band live again” and I’ve found myself avoiding listening to their old stuff, not because I dislike it, but because it’s too painful. But there we were. Reunion show turned into a new single turn into an album that turned into a full-blown reunion. The one band I never thought would come back together are back. They are truly back. 

Receiving the album was the most surreal feeling of it all. Holding an album I never thought would see the light of day brings a certain feeling, and this is why the review has taken so long. But here it is at last, my thoughts and words on Wig Wam’s comeback album “Never Say Die” which was released a month ago on January 22nd. So lets begin, shall we?

The album opens up with a melancholic, almost dystopic kind of tune serving as an intro – painting the picture of a deserted and beaten up path where our heroes are now making their way back to us after a battle well fought which explodes into the first track of the album, being the title track which is nothing short but of a typical Wig Wam as we know them – I’d like to be as cocky to say it’s a fine mixture between ”In My Dreams” and ”Gonna Get You Someday” with a lyrical theme speaking precisely of what happened to the band – those of us who were there – we know. And this song hits right in the feel, both musically and lyrically. 

As it progresses, it continues in the vein of the typical Wig Wam although with a more raw tone. At first thought I think mostly of ”Wall Street” as I hear the rougher tone, yet I can’t help but to hear bits and pieces from the previous albums – ”Hypnotized” bringing thoughts, discreet, but thoughts nonetheless to ”Car-Lyle”, ”Shadow of Eternity” toward ”No More Living on Lies”. 

”Kilimanjaro” is another breath of fresh air – following the footsteps of the title track it comes off as a very honest song lyrically about what went down ”back in the days” and at first listen I wasn’t a huge fan of this – however, this song has come to grow quite a bit on me. More in the style of Bon Jovi’s ”Dead or Alive” (but a lot less ballad-y) 

The ballad of the album ”My Kaleidoscope Ark” doesn’t quite reach the level of ”At the End of the Day” although it’s a nice break from the otherwise pretty rough album.

Bernt Jansen makes another appearance as singer on ”Call of the Wild”, something he started doing with ”Flygin High”, a bonus track on the Japanese version of ”Wig Wamania, and it’s nice to see him being back, he brings quite a different flavor. Speaking of solos, we are finally being granted a completely instrumental song again in ”Northbound”, which is a beautiful work but still.. Perhaps I’m too stuck in the past, but it just doesn’t reach the levels of ”The Drop” for me. Although I can appreciate it a lot as a stand alone.

The album wraps up quite nicely, a bit low key as compared to how it started out, but it feels like the perfect ending – slow, low, melancholic but still leaving a taste of wanting more. ”Silver Lining” is int a league of its own.

So. I’ll be honest. As mentioned in the beginning, this is an album I never thought would see the light of day. I’ve stared at my Wig Wam count at setlist.fm many times and whispered to myself how I’d never get to see them live again, I’ve cried at Ammunition shows when Åge decided to whip out old Wig Wam tunes and yet here we are. Nine years later, here it is. The new Wig Wam album.

I must admit that I’m not… 100% sold on it. It’s a well oiled album – it’s great craftsmanship at hand but it just doesn’t go all the way, if this makes sense? Maybe I’ve outgrown the band – or perhaps they just peaked with ”Non Stop Rock n Roll” – its hard to say, but I remember a Wig Wam that used to always improve with every album. This album has taken a heavier approach than previous works, and I’m not sure if I personally feel it fits them.

I am however, grateful that I hold it in my hand. And I’m looking forward to sharing this new era with them, with a lot less drama, hopefully.

// Sara

Scarlet and Sheba

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags on January 17, 2021 by Sara Hammerzmith

Many great things going on all at the same time – so – like I said last time, lets keep it rolling shall we? But lets take a moment and leave the glorious and majestic world of power metal for a while and dive into what might be the complete opposite – sleazy tunes with a large portion of horror.

Grave Robbert, the new star (if I may say so) in the horror rock scene released his debut album “The Nightmare Begins” in 2019 and has now come back with a hommage to his own hero – a cover of Alice Cooper classic “Scarlet and Sheba”, featuring none other than Tim “Ripper” Owens on guest vocals! Not bad, huh?

And I am most definitely here for it.

Unlike the original, which is a lot more sensual and romantically laid arrangement-wise, Grave’s work is more of the aggressive and more raw side. He gives the song a modern and more sleazy vibe to it – all jokes aside – it’s dirtier, grindier and being most definitely something I’d find myself hearing on an underground club where there are no rules.. so to speak. And not to mention, the way Owens’ and Grave’s voice work together creates a new dimension to the song, keeping it even more interesting.

With that said, I’m eagerly waiting what’s next cooking for Grave Robbert. I’m sure it’s gonna to be absolutely phenomenal, head turning and Rated R.

// Sara

When Fate is Calling

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags on January 16, 2021 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, lets keep 2021 on a roll once we have started right? Bloodbound released the lyric video for the first single off their new album “Creatures of the Dark Realm” due May 28th yesterday and I’m absolutely here for it.

So, where do I even begin talking about this? First and foremost, it’s massive. It’s not even just epic like some of their previous favorites of mine (“Moria”, “Rise of the Dragon Empire”). No. It’s absolutely massive with power and overwhelmingness that consumes you, slaps you and drags you into the story about defending your honor and meeting your destiny. While those phrases has been heard in a million and one songs in the same genre, there are always better and not better ways to do it. And this is the better way. However, the album title suggest for me that maybe we’ll be dealing with darker matters than on previous albums?

The song holds most of the elements we find so usual nowadays to Bloodbound – epic and adventurous melodies, big catchy choruses and a significant sound found in Patriks voice. “Rise of the Dragon Empire” does to this day actually remain my favorite album by them, but with a promising first single like this I’m more than eager to hear the rest.

What are your thoughts?

// Sara

Dragony – Viribus Unitis

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 14, 2021 by Sara Hammerzmith

Roughly in November 2019 I clicked a link from the Austrian symphonic power metal band Dragony and contributed to the recording of the upcoming album. A lot of things happened since then – In July 2020 they signed with Napalm Records – well deserved! Throughout the campaign they announced a few special guests, such as Alessia Scoletti from Temperance, Georg Neuhauser from Serenity and Michele Guaitoli from Visions of Atlantis.

In November 2020 they finally announced the concept of the album now given the name “Viribus Unitis” – telling the tale of the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef, but apparently throwing in a few extra bits here and there with alternate time lines as well as tributes to video games. All in all, the album serves as a concept album something Dragony hasn’t quite dealt with since their debut album “Legends”, making this album coming back to the roots while still keeping the now ever so established Dragony sound. (To read full synopsis of the album, I’ll direct you here) A couple of songs has been written together with Tommy Johansson and Tomas Svedin (“Gods of War”) as well as Michele Guaitoli (“Love You To Death”)

The album starts off with an excerpt from a classical piece known as “The Blue Danube” (on this album referred to ‘On The Blue Danube’) only to explode in a rather aggressive opening song in ”Gods of War”, which serves as an excellent opener and bringing the thoughts immediately back to the first album of theirs, ”Legends” which much like this one is a conceptual rock opera kind of album.

Instantly, it’s followed by yet another epic intro which launches into “Love You to Death”, which directly became my own personal favorite and stayed so throughout the album. The epic intro, the adventorus verses , the massive choruses which makes this song into a pure battlehymn, despite the relatively dark lyrical theme before just casually ending with epicness. Even so, the next song in line falls under what I consider very typical Dragony trademarks musically.

This album is however a bit of a moodswinger as we move from happier cheerful anthems to a tune of a bit more darker nature, “Darkness Within”. While the song itself is actually really good, one of my tops of the album – I can’t help but to think of HammerFall upon hearing the arrangement of the song, more specifically “At The End of the Rainbow” from “Legacy of Kings”, taking some interesting turns in solos and bridges, especially the solos going all over the place, quite literally.

And from the dark place back into the typical Dragony sound of symphonic power metal in the “A.E.I.O.U”, which features Georg Neuhauser from Serenity on vocals, creating quite a harmony together with Siegfried. The song itself is one another of these battle hymns that we’ve come to be quite familiar on this album. Quite easily one of the better tracks on the album.

The title track, “Viribus Unitis” itself probably holds one of the biggest epic elements of the album, as far as beginning of the song and verses goes, and perhaps even more so in the chorus. I also adore the Alice in Wonderland references in the lyrics. It’s the perfect title track, if you ask me.

Another interesting song comes along as we start off with bag pipes – because why not at this point? We just had a song about turning a castle into a flying one. And then, as if it wasn’t odd enough, we are now throwing in a typical 80’s heartthrob in “Made of Metal (Cyberpunk Joseph)”. I’ll admit that these songs falls a bit flat for me in comparison to the other songs.

After these little… interesting sidetracks, we find ourselves back in the battle hymns as “Battle Royale” takes place with pretty much the big culmination of the album. It is a fine mix of everything that has already gone down on this album, an album that got more and more spaced out as the album went on – this is not a bad thing though. It’s made me smile quite a lot throughout the listen. Lastly, we are finding ourselves with “Legends Never Die” which gives us a bit of everything – quite a bit of techno blended with some well-crafted metal inbetween.

Something that has been very clear on this album and something I personally appreciate a lot and keep the album interesting is in all the details. There hasn’t been a single song that, despite being more or less a personal favorite of mine, hasn’t had at least some kind of effect that has made me go hah? What? Be it lyrical absurdum – Rooted in the history of what went down in the Habsburg monarchy, but with the imagination of Siegfried to take it a few steps further makes for another interesting and to say the least, entertaining and hilarious side of the album – to surprise additions such as bagpipes, techno fillers and straight down 80’s sounds in the midst of epic symphonic melodies.

All I can say is YES. I’ve waited a relatively long time for this album, and every single second spent waiting was well worth it. This is easily the best work to date from Dragony and I urge EVERYONE to pick this one up. I don’t often recommend people to buy a specific album, but with this one.. I will. It’s worth every cent. Link is under the cover.

// Sara

Napalm Records

Sabaton @ Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany 31/1 – 20

Posted in Concerts, Music, The Great Tour 2020, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 23, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

[These blogs has been long in the making. And with everything coming to a complete halt at the moment, I’m taking the time to revive it all. Perhaps it’ll even help you all cope? Who knows. Only issue, this particular show I have no photos from as far as I know. And I apologize beforehand for the extreme lack of photos.]

So, it was time for yet another show of this amazing band, or perhaps more this amazing tour. For this day, I gently hopped on the bus in my other homecity of Antwerp to head over to Frankfurt. And the thing is… I have this kind of hate-love relationship with FlixBus. It’s like 50/50. Sometimes its fine, sometimes it’s not. And so far in this tour, I had been in no rush and everything worked smoothly.

But of course, since I was in a rush today – scheduled to arrive approx two hours before door opening, the bus was delayed. Because why not right? So, half an hour delay, I meet up with Daniel at the busstation and then pass by my hotel to check in where I ran into MORE issues because, lets face it, I have a shitty handwriting. But, at the end all was cool.

We headed over to a sushirestaurant for some dinner and light catch up before continuing on to the venue. Seeing that Amaranthe, as mentioned before, is the opening band and it’s a favorite band of both of us we had to make it in time. Which we did!

Amaranthe

Exactly on time they started, “Helix” intro rolling first shortly into “Maximize” intro and the show was a fact. For tonight, we had decided to stay back a bit so we didn’t exactly have the perfect view,or may that be exactly what we did have?

“Digital World” was next song on the list, with an evergreat energy in the crowd as well as on stage! “Hunger” followed suit and then “Amaranthine” before it was time for Henrik to have his little moment in “GG6”. This song has grown so incredibly much on me after seeing more and more live.

My own personal favorite in “Helix” – this song will never ever stop being the BOMB. Seriously. It’s massive. Anyway, this song was next, perfect executiom, what else, and then Nils comes out to ask for some audience participation and it’s time for “That Song”.

The show is later wrapped up with “Call Out My Name”, “The Nexus” and lastly “Drop Dead Cynical”.

After the show, I headed out for the bathroom and then had quite an interesting time to find my way back to Daniel, but gladly so I did!

As far as Apocalyptica goes, we only stayed for the songs where Elize sang before going outside to grab some merch as well as taking a little walk for my restless legs. Was handy as hell!

Making our way back into the venue we are at the complete end of the venue, and to be honest I don’t mind in the slightest. Sometimes, the most fun you can have is at the end. And I tend to say to people – if you are always at the front, it means you aren’t touring enough, or doing it the right way.

Sabaton

As the soundtrack version worked its way through the list and later landing in “In Flanders Fields” when the lights went out, the longawaited show was finally about to begin. The new intro for “Ghost Division” echoed and then the show was at large.

“Great War” is shouted out from stage as the pyro set the arena on fire… not literally, but almost.

A gasmask appears on the screen behind them, and the band comes out clad in gasmasks through the green smoke that has been sent out on stage and Joakim comes out in his complete costume ready to gas some Germans… Oh wait.

After we’re done with THAT part, we head over to “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” which is ever such a delight, and then “Diary of an Unknown Soldier” and then it was time yet again for “The Lost Battalion”

The little airplane was yet again rolled out on stage with Joakim singing the beautiful little IKEA song for us before letting the actual Red Baron on stage to excute “The Red Baron” for us.

“The Last Stand” followed suit together with “82nd All The Way”. If those two songs aren’t all the rage, I don’t know which songs are. The intro with the redlights and sirens started off, alerting us of the “Night Witches”.

Apocalyptica came on stage and they started off their part with “Angels Calling”. I have probably said it before, and I will say it again – the song has gotten quite a facelift with these fellas. “Fields of Verdun” was next on the list before moving onto “The Price of a Mile”.

“Dominium Maris Baltici” was executed next with the cello guys and the two songs – “Lion from the North” as well as “Carolus Rex” from the Swedish Empire era was ripped off before it was time for the band to say thanks and good night.

After a little whiles wait the storming of Normandie showed up on the screens, and “Primo Victoria” was fired off. And for the first time in my life – I have practiced my whole life for this – I jumped through the entire song. 40 shows later, I finally achieved what I’ve been training my whole.. well life as a Sabaton fan for. And I did it.

And I will never do it again.

The water started flowing on the screen and we embarked the “Bismarck” once again for the battle. “Swedish Pagans” followed suit and then the show was wrapped up with “To Hell and Back”.

Amazing show. Nothing but an amazing show. After the show, I darted toward the crowd to start collecting propaganda flyers. People even helped me, complete strangers. Daniel managed to meet up with Cyril who had apparently forgotten I was gonna be there and exclaimed excitedly “YOU ARE HERE!!!”.

As I crawled around collecting flyers around the soundguys booth, I hear someone faintly say “Hey”. As I look up, I see one of the guys working handing me a setlist. I thank him the best I can, but in hindsight I can’t decide – did he give it to me because he decided I was a dedicated fan, or did he just think I was pathetic? No matter the reason – I am so thankful.

After all was said and done, we said our good byes and retreated home. I had quite an early bus tomorrow.. And trust me, I was not excited for that.

// Sara

Sabaton @ Papp László Sportaréna, Budapest, Hungary 22/1 – 20

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on January 30, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, on it again we were! Time for another show on this amazing tour. But this time around, I had landed in Budapest at my dear friend Szilvi’s place. For the occasion, Marci had gotten us early entrance tickets (at least me and her) so, about an hour before the doors opened with decided to go wait in line. We might have early entrance, doesn’t mean we’ll be first in unless we wait in line.

A few people were in front of us, and quite a few decided to queue jump – next time I’ll kill you just so you know – but at the end of the day, we all made it. We secured the same kind of spots infront of Tommy as I had in Zürich, so at the end of the day -all was well.

Cyril got to join us a little later and we convinced him to try to join us, because you never know once the crowd starts moving right?

And then, the lights went out and it was time for Amaranthe to start.

Amaranthe

The “Helix” intro rolled out in the crowd and the band started off with “Maximize”. Elize as regal as always entering in her large cape taking the space on top of the stage like the actual queen she is.

“Digital World” followed suit, and it was just as epic as the show before. Not much to complain about when it comes to this band, they are pro’s. “Hunger” followed suit before it was time to dial it down a bit with “Amaranthine” again. Yet again an amazing performance from Nils and Elize, true royals!

“GG6” and Henriks own little moment followed up later, and then my personal favorite once again in “Helix”. And after this, however, it was time for a little change.

Instead of doing “Endlessly”, as they did in Zürich, it was now time for “That Song” instead. Which.. was a downpoint for me. I reallt don’t like this song. But oh well, what can you do right?

“Call out my Name” was next on the list before the show was wrapped up elegantly with “The Nexus” and the party song “Drop Dead Cynical”.

Another amazing show by the band, well enjoyable and amazing. So happy to have seen them again, even though I can sometimes.. Lose it for them, it is always instantly made up once you get to a show.

After a little bit of wait, it was time for Apocalyptica. And speaking of that. The girls standing next to us actually left, giving Cyril a front row spot. Like I said, you never know right?

Apocalyptica

Again the men got on stage and started off their set. It was yet again a pleasureable set, even though I find myself hard to enjoy it to the fullest, except when Elize joins them on stage and turns everything into pure perfection. But with that said, thank you again Apocalyptica!

The mood went down once again and got a bit epic with the symphonic sountrack echoing again, and it really does set the mood, doesn’t it? And with that, “In Flanders Fields” echoed everywhere, and the show was on..

Sabaton

The intro for “Ghost Division” started and another bombastic start to a grand show was on. “Great War” followed suit as per usual, and then it was time for “Attack of the Dead Men”.

And.. It’s possible I didn’t pay attention enough in Zürich, but for this time around, ALL of the bandmembers came out on stage in gasmasks. They threw them off by the second verse, but holy hell! That was pretty wild.

“Seven Pillars of Widsom” followed suit and then “Diary of the Unknown Soldier” announced the appearance of “The Lost Battalion”. The energy in the venue was pretty good actually, a bit better than in Zürich. Maybe because I stood right next to a knucklehead who was dedicated and into it, but for some reason always held out a flag right infront of me and my friends eyesights. Sigh.

“The Red Baron” came up next and I STILL THINK THAT JOAKIM DESTROYS THIS BY TALKING. Just let Richthoven enter and let him just start the intro without so much talking. If you wanna talk about the organ, do it AFTER. Please? But still, this part is amazingly lit and it’s probably my favorite part of the shows.

The bells for “The Last Stand” appeared on the screen and another amazing execution of that was made, followed by “82nd All The Way”.

The stage went dark, and sirens and red lights appeared as “Nightwitches” was about to be played, with another amazing execution, can’t really complain here. But I will come to later…

Apocalyptica joined forces on stage, and it was time for “That part” of the show, starting off with “Angels Calling”. While, like I think I mentioned before, it has never been a major favorite for me, I’m still SO HAPPY that these older, REAL OLDER, songs are making their way back into the setlist.

They kept the boys on stage, and “Fields of Verdun” followed suit, then “Price of a Mile”.

As the Apocalyptica boys were doing “Dominium Maris Baltici”, the whole band left the stage and much to my surprise, they all came back clad in a caroleans officer jacket, and this time much more detailed than the one Jocke’s had before, and “The Lion From The North” was next.

And then, it was time for “Carolus Rex”. Normally, as a swede, this part of the show is my jam right. There might be moments where I’m like.. This part is the best or that is the best, BUT, this is my jam. And I’m unforgiving.

So when Joakim starts “Carolus Rex” by singing “Proved in battle…” I was just like… EXCUSE ME.

WHAT. ARE. YOU. FUCKING. SINGING?

And I remain unimpressed for a real long time, even though gladly he got on the right track. I’m really so unforgiving, aren’t I?

The band left the stage after this (SERVES THEM RIGHT) and the intro video for “Primo Victoria” showed its face, and the band came back to whipout the last few songs – “Bismarck”, “Swedish Pagans” and lastly “To Hell And Back”. WITH PROPAGANDA FLYERS. I was unreasonably happy when these were sent out. It’s not even okay. But I just love them okay?

After the show, we stayed by the barrier just a little longer time, and gladly we did! I got handed a setlist by one of the crewguys thanks to it. Thank you! Love you!

After the show, we hung around, caught up with some other friends and then we headed home.. for like… three hours of sleep.

Thank you everyone involved in this, Szilvi, Marci, Cyril – you are the best.

// Sara

Brothers of Metal @ Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland 18/1-20

Posted in Concerts, Music, The Great Tour 2020, Uncategorized with tags , on January 28, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, off from Zürich I went around 12, having Monika accompanying me halfway. I was starting to get sick due to the long queueing that went on yesterday in the cold rain, but what am I if not a warrior and keep going despite whatever illness I have. OK, if I had a superbad illness that would be incredibly contagious, then perhaps but a common cold? Never.

Arrived alive and well in Pratteln, I head over to my hotel and then out and about to catch something to eat. I heard it can be good to eat. Got back to the hotel, got ready for the show and walked down to the venue. I’ve been here before, so it’s relatively easy for me to just find my way around.

I arrived around half an hour before Elvenking hit the stage. From what I understood, this is a co-headline tour and they take turns being the “headline” band, so for this evening, of course, Elvenking was first. I had kind of hoped – and no offence to them – that Brothers of Metal would be first in case the sickness got worse. But oh well, I survived worse stuff.

Elvenking

So, right on scheduled time they started, and came out with a raging energy. I’ll admit that I don’t know much about this band prior and never found the time to properly check them out, so I regret to inform that I can’t do a proper rundown of them, BUT, I did, however really enjoy them!

They put on a good and energetic show, although you could relatively early tell this was a primarily Brothers of Metal kind of audience. Thank you, Elvenking!

And then the wait began, and soon enough, the intro started to roll…

Brothers of Metal

They all came on stage, and announced “The Death of the God of Light” and they all rushed on stage and opened up this show in the most energetic way possible.

Straight up after this intro, the thunder and flutes came out of the speakers, witnessing that “Njord” was about to be next on the list, so from one death straight into an adventure we went. Very well recieved, and a perfect execution from the band themselves. The audience was, as already stated, clearly a Brothers of Metal oriented one, and then “Prophecy of Ragnarök” came on. This song is all the rage, isn’t it?

And I say it again – if one can windmill through the entire song of that, one truly is a metal warrior, am I right or what.

“Tyr” was next on the list, letting us pay tribute to one of our Gods, before paying tribute to ALL of them in “Gods of War”. And this song too, is all the rage. This band is all the rage, I’d say. “Brothers Unite” from the new album followed tune, and I just love how they switch to Swedish in the midst of it.

And again, the flawless and energetic execution always gets me. These are some well talented and skilled musician, nailing everything from start to finish without even backing down on the energy they radiate, which reflects back onto them from the crowd. Without energy on stage, it’s hard to get it from the crowd as well, you know?

Everyone on stage sat down except from the speaker, who started to go over the tales of “Concerning Norns” before they played probably their most popular song “Yggdrasil”. And this song still gets to me, every time. It really is, the best metal song ever written. At least that’s my current feeling anyway.

“Chain Breaker”, the little odd one on their recent album “Emblas Saga” came next. It surprised me a bit, but I don’t even complain. They asked prior if we knew how wolves sounded, and it took some time for the audience to get it, but they became quite the wolfpack!

Party time is up as “The Mead Song” was next on the list, and sitting down and jumping up NEVER gets old. Ever. Party through and through. The primary speaker on stage made some jokes about it being only one song left, when in reality, he meant the song “One”. And you know..

There are many songs were Ylva shines, and she always does. But she shines just a little extra in this song, and if she isn’t just the greatest, I don’t know who is.

Party time again as “Defenders of Valhalla” came next on the list, and the whole room was in one giant party. Sadly, all of it was about to come to an end with “Siblings of Metal” and “Fire, Blood and Steel”.

And this show was nothing but PURE amazingness. Seriously. This was perfection beyond anything else, and I’m so happy that I fit all of this into my tourschedule. So far, this might actually be the highlight of the tour. And it can be hard to beat that.

After the show, I headed back to the hotel and pretty much just crashed.

Tomorrow, back to Zürich and onward to other endavours.

// Sara

Sabaton @ Hallenstadion, Zürich, Switzerland 17/1 – 20

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 27, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

And here it is at last. The tourstart for The Great Tour. At first, I wasn’t exactly pumped for it, BUT, one day, when walking down the Promenade on deck 5 on the boat, hearing them blast “The Lost Battalion” really made me want this part of my gigantic tour to come.

And then yet, once home in Belgium I lost the will for it again, but this time I blame the jetlag for that. But, inevitably, the time was here now, and I was actually pretty excited. We headed over to the venue to start lining at 12-13 somewhere between there, and there wasn’t a lot of people, but some.

Later on, I found Cyril and met Océane, which was pleasant! Once it was time for us to be let in.. it kind of became chaos. I think people don’t really have much of respect for who was there first and not, and the venue itself was complicated too. First inside and then try to find the hall for the standings. But teaming up with Cyril and Océane helped getting into somewhat the spots we wanted, so at the end of the day, getting sick as a chyte would be worth it.

We took a bit of turns going to the bathroom and quickly checking out the merch before the wait for Amaranthe began, and precisely at 19, it started.

Amaranthe

With the intro of Helix, slowly emerging into the intro of “Maximise” Amaranthe one by one entered the stage and hit it off with aforementioned song. Elize comes out on stage like a regal goddess in her new stage attire, the biggest piece a regal cape. Absolutely stunning.

Surprisingly, the crowd didn’t seem to feel Amaranthe at all. Which.. surprises me. I always took them for being pretty popular in most places, but I guess not here? Well well, more for me!

After this rather grand opening, the band went straight into “Digital World” which is pretty much anyones headbang jam, if they really are headbangers that is, and then into “Hunger” which holds pretty much the same position.

They slowed it down a notch with the next song, “Amaranthine” and we had yet another beautiful moment with this song. This song really is grand, isn’t it? And she executes it so perfectly.  From this, straight into my own personal favorite “Helix” (I’m so happy this one made the cut, I was really worried, haha!) and it was time for Henrik to have his little moment in “GG6” as he and Elize battle it out together.

Elize is in my eyes always the winner, and she showed exactly why in the next song, “Endlessly” where she pretty much put everyone who ever tried to hate on her to shame. Time for some more upbeat following next in “Call Out My Name” before they wrapped up an amazing “tourstart” with “The Nexus” and “Drop Dead Cynical”.

Thank you so much for an amazing start. This was way too short, and I can’t wait to see them more times on this tour, and then their little headline show later.

And with that, the wait for Apocalyptica began. Which, gladly, wasn’t too long.

Apocalyptica

So, I regret to inform you all that I’m not too familiar with Apocalyptica. I’m very familiar with their concept, and saw them live before, BUT – I am not familiar with their own stuff, so it won’t be a very detailed rundown sadly on their show.

They did however play a very good show, and the few songs performed with Elize was nothing but pure perfection. The show was more enjoyable than I thought it would be, so that is also a huge plus. Thank you so much Apocalyptica!

Throughout the venue, the soundtrack to the Great War started echoing out, as per usual by now I suppose – I don’t mean to sound rude, it’s just that, if you attend one show then you just know how the routine works now, am I right?

As the stage was being set, the album continued before the volume was upped a few notches the “In Flanders Fields” echoes.

Sabaton

After this sweet serenade intro, the newmade intro for “Ghost Division” went on and off they went opening with.. “Ghost Division”. I had hopes. I had hopes. But no more. A bombastic and energetic intro as per usual, not much has changed.

“Great War” was next song on the list, and I don’t think song as well as the execution will ever stop to be as epic as it is. For the next song, Joakim briefly left the stage and let the band start off “The Attack of the Dead Men” themselves, and then he comes back out and he is clad from head to toe in a gasmask and uniform, walking around with a gas dispenser. Wow, what an upgrade! Slowly but surely, the performance is starting to live up to the songs!

He left the stage again to get “undressed” and soon came back to announce that the next song would be “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”. And if this song isn’t all the rage, I don’t know what is. The band left the stage momentarily and “Diary of an Unknown Soldier” and set off with “The Lost Battalion”.

A very interesting looking piano, or apparently organ, was brought on stage. The organ has the shape of Richthovfen’s Albatross plane, or at least some parts of it built like it. Joakim joked around a bit with “Swedish Pagans” and then introduced an organplayer dressed up as Manfred and off they went with “The Red Baron”.

And YES. I just say YES. This is a step in the right direction. This is somewhat something I actually always pictured they’d do. The only thing I personally wish they did was to cut the talking and just shut down the lights and let this dude do his thing amongst blinking red lights… Skip the talk, really!

“The Last Stand”, pretty much my personal highlight on the entire show came next, although these days I can’t really hear it the same way anymore. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a sad thing, but oh well right?

“82nd All The Way” was next on the list, and then “Nightwitches” which actually came as a surprise for me, that it comes THIS early in the setlist. But oh well?

From here on, some familiar faces in the forms of Apocalyptica joined the stage, and the band set off to perform “Angels Calling”. While I never really enjoyed this song, ever, I’m still happy to see some old songs make their way back into their setlist, if they were ever on it from the start.

Joakim figured it’d be a great idea to keep Apocalyptica for a few more songs, and so they did “Fields of Verdun”, “The Price of a Mile” as well as “Lion from the North” and “Carolus Rex” was all performed together with Apocalyptica.

After Carolus, they left the stage and the introvideo to “Primo Victoria” started rolling, and the encores were set ablaze.. literally.

“Bismarck” followed suit and then finally “Swedish Pagans”. Although, I sense that the crowd here didn’t really ask that much for it. It’s finally dying! The whole hype is finally dying!

After this, they wrapped up the set with “To Hell and Back” and the show was over.

It was an amazing show, although sans propaganda flyers for us front rowers? What? Well, anyway. It is what it is, right? After the show I headed over to the merch and bought the posters, and I’ll look into more merch on later shows.

So, once again. An amazing tourstart. Finally things are starting to happen. It’s becoming something. Finally!

// Sara