at Rockefeller, Oslo, Norway, November 1, 2005

Both Stratovarius and Hammerfall have delivered great shows in Oslo prior to Timo Tolkki’s illness, so it was a big and demanding crowd who met the iron-and-leather clad Swedes when they entered the stage as the first headliner after the warm-up act Shakra had given the crowd something to chew on.


Hammerfall live is definitely not something for the average sock-head Korn fan –- their outfits are like something snatched from the daydreams of Joey DeMaio, and the stage scenery makes the set-up of mid-80s Accept look like the ones of Jeff Buckley. The scenery may be a bit too much -– this tour’s version with ice rocks on stage and a general “winter” theme was not far from –- if not beyond –- the point of just being funny.

Anyway, the band delivered a good performance and the fans seemed happy with the very unoriginal, but entertaining, set list. Joacim Cans definitely had one of his better days voice-wise, and was his usual enthusiastic self when dealing with the crowd, and the duo of Elmgren and Dronjak once again showed that one does not have to be a very good guitar player to sound and look like one. Magnus Rosén is sort of a mystery on stage –- listening to his solo work will reveal that his is a very giftet bassist indeed, but live he takes on a role as a gymnast/breakdancer or something running around the stage, hitting his bass from all positions and displaying a register of weird faces, which would make every adolescent grizzly bear jealous. Anders Johansson provides a solid backbone to the band’s music, and his solo also shows that he definitely shares his brother’s sense of humor with his “child’s anthems on drum battery” section.

The set list was, as mentioned, very straightforward, containing basically no surprises. On one hand, this means a good dose of straight Heavy Metal with very few bad songs –- “Renegade” and “Hearts on Fire” (why on earth has the latter become such a hit?!?) being the only two letdowns.

Definitely, overall, an entertaining performance from the Swedish quintet with all the good and all the bad elements you’d expect from a Hammerfall concert.


Stratovarius have delivered the goods for years and years from a concert viewpoint, and very seldom deliver bad gigs. They were not at their best this night, though, but still managed to pull off a pretty decent performance. The set list was a good mix of old and new stuff, although nowhere near the incredible sets played earlier during the ongoing tour (the astounding greatest hits++ set at ProgPower USA, for example), but with songs like “Against the Wind,” “Hunting High And Low,” “Destiny,” “Kiss of Judas,” and “Black Diamond,” it’s impossible not to have a good time. From the new album “United” and “Fight” were played besides the compulsory opener “Maniac Dance,” and both came offt very well. A look at the set list at the mixing desk revealed that several songs were skipped this evening, maybe because of Jens Johansson’s birthday – he rounded the 30 year mark! Congrats to him!

Timo Kotipelto sang very well (but is hopeless when it comes to spoken English), and Jörg and Jens also delivered the goods in a more than sufficient fashion. Neither Timo Tolkki nor new bassist Lauri Porra delivered the way they are able to do when in top shape.

Porra has an incredible technique in addition to a very good understanding of music, but didn’t manage to show attributes of these good assets this time around. Tolkki too was a bit sloppy in his picking, and did not at all manage to pull a song like “Speed of Light” off properly. His mood seems brighter nowadays, though, as he both smiles frequently and moves (!) a bit around the stage (nowhere near the aforementioned Magnus Rosén gym class technique, but still …), something he very seldom did before he got ill. Porra should also have some credit for this as he is more of a stage personality than his predecessor.

A good performance, then, but not at all the Power Metal feast it could have been. The fans seemed happy, though, and that is of course the most important thing.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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