At the Cabooze, Minneapolis, MN, USA, April 29, 2017

DELAIN (Live at the Cabooze, Minneapolis, MN, USA, April 29, 2017)
Photo: Zac Halter

The pairing of Delain and HammerFall for a North American tour presents a contrast in styles. The mainstream Symphonic Metal sound of Delain versus the eighties retro Power Metal of HammerFall. The bands’ stop in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA provided fans of both an opportunity to witness the bands compete to win over a crowd of 400 fans in the intimate confines of the Cabooze bar. In this venue, the distance from the front of the stage to rear of the venue is about 14 rows. Viewing the bands this close puts the show on a personal level since the facial expressions of every band member are clearly visible.

Two Minnesota bands, After Time and Eternal Voyager, opened the show and provided the same style dynamic as the headliners. Unfortunately, both bands had to fight through sound mix imbalances. Eternal Voyager’s Traditional Metal set emerged victorious by virtue of a mid-set correction that un-muddied their sound and allowed the crowd to appreciate their set featuring three songs from their The Battle Of Eternity album and a new song which was received well by the crowd.

As the lights dimmed for HammerFall’s set, a raucous chant of “Ham-mer-Fall” reverberated. This chant recurred frequently throughout the show. The band took the stage with appreciative waves to the crowd and fired up “Hector’s Hymn’” immediately followed by the thunderous wash of “Riders Of The Storm”. The band proceeded to take the crowd on a 70-minute juggernaut of Power Metal featuring numerous opportunities to participate in chorus sing alongs to “Renegade”, “Let The Hammer Fall”, “Hammer High” and the set ending “Hearts On Fire”. As evident by the eye contact and smiles between band members and the crowd, the band appears very personable and comfortable performing on stage. A sense of fun emanates from the band. When the majority of the crowd raised their hand when asked if they were seeing HammerFall for the first time, lead singer, Joacim Cans, responded incredulously “What? That’s all of you!” He apologized on behalf of the band for not playing a show in Minneapolis in the past seven years and vowed to return soon.

If HammerFall’s set is an Old School Metal party, Delain’s 80-minute set is a professional exercise in Modern Metal execution. They deliver a polished set taking what they do seriously. The soaring vocals of lead singer, Charlotte Wessels, hang tough with the five instrumentalists in the band. Their sound engineer crafted a clean sound. Delain’s 15-song set delivered with head banging conviction opening with “Hands Of Gold” and ending with a three-song encore featuring “We Are The Others”. Is it possible to be too good? Delain’s show is so well choreographed and the musicianship is so precise it seems to lack spontaneity. However, the enthusiastic response of the Minneapolis crowd demonstrates success and proves Delain is on the right track to remain a force in Symphonic Metal.


  • Zac Halter

    Zac was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. His interest in heavy music began in the 70s with his father’s Johnny Cash albums. After cousins introduced him to Steppenwolf, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, KISS, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, Johnny Cash didn’t stand a chance. The 80s were spent in full pursuit of everything Metal: searching for new music at record stores, listening to albums, studying the covers and sleeves, and attending concerts. In the 90s, he preferred Death Metal over Grunge and hosted the Death Metal Juggernaut on WUPX in Marquette, Michigan. It was advertised as the only prime time Death Metal radio show in the country.

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