Delain and Hammerfall got a big New York City welcome when they played to a sold out crowd at Stage 48 proving that Symphonic and Heavy Metal crowds are alive and well.
As approaching Stage 48 in New York City on April 24, 2017, the massive line of fans waiting for the Delain and Hammerfall, which wrapped around the block, proved that it was going to be a crowded house. The club which has two floors and even a dico ball hanging from the ceiling was an unlikely setting for a Metal show to take place but nothing could keep the eager fans away from this line up.
The night started with New York City’s own, Gothic Knights. This Power Metal band proved to be a great live act providing a strong musical performance and captivating stage presence. The band made up of Gabriel Colon on vocals, Mario Cosentino on bass, Kevin DeDario on drums, Dave the 3rd on guitar and John Tzantis on lead guitar proved to have the audience’s attention throughout their set.
Colon’s wide range of singing style mixed with his humor and engaging persona was a key element to the bands successful performance. The band all together was one tight unit that were not afraid to put on a good ol’ fashion Metal show that provided head banging, double bass and drums and shredding guitars.
Gothic Knights is a band that has a strong unified presence on stage and after 25 years of playing music are veterans in the game of Metal. The band is defiantly worth witnessing live as they shine with their music and stage performance.
Playing Heavy Metal DJ while the stage was getting set up for Hammerfall was Brooklyn, New York’s own DJ Alex Kayne. From the top floor sound board area, DJ Alex Kayne spun old and new Heavy Metal songs providing a true Metal vibe that could be heard throughout the club. This DJ veteran of 35 years proved he knew how to keep the atmosphere pure Metal allowing fans to stay truly immersed in the Heavy Metal experience.
As the stage went black chants of “Hammerfall” could be heard throughout the club. As the sound of lightening striking could be heard suddenly a huge screen over the stage pictured an iron warrior with a hammer and sword with a red back ground came into view. The crowd went wild as the band came out the fans erupted with chants, screams and clapping.
The first song of the night off the band’s latest album, Built to Last, “Hammer High!” started the set. Hammerfall hailing from Goteborg, Sweden is Jocrim Cans on vocals, Oscar Drorjak on lead guitar, Fredrik Larsson on bass, Johan Koleberg on drums and Potus Norgen on lead guitars. From the entrance on stage to the ending of their set the band was in full Heavy Metal mode. Giving all of themselves and interacting with the fans in only the way Hammerfall can.
Fans were so excited to see that band and during the first song it showed that they were there to see the band and to gain the full Hammerfall experience which they did by singing every song even at times drowning out the band and singer Cans.
What fans expected from Hammerfall they got live. Cans’ charismatic persona and the way he interacts with fans to get participation is truly remarkable to watch during songs and in-between them. He truly has perfected the art form of being a singer and the vocal range to show for it.
What Drojak and Norgen bring to the table is pure melt your face off guitar playing. Their soloing and dueling together make for some of the most remarkable riff players in the industry. True showman in every way they are not afraid to head bang, interact with the fans and even rock back and forth in time to the music all while playing their axe.
What Larsson and Koleberg are providing as percussion to the band is key to the Hammerfall sound. Larsson is a talented and animated bass player who sings along with fans and can be found standing alongside Drojak and Norgen rocking back and forth in unison while playing his bass. He and the other members of the band are avid head bangers and vibe off the energy of the fans.
Koleberg as a time keeper is key playing double pedal drums and allowing himself to truly immerse himself in every beat. He may be behind the band but his presence does not go unnoticed and the band members interact with him showing after 20 years of being a band they know how to play off each other live making for a great show.
The fans were wild during the Hammerfall set singing along with every song almost drowning the band out. They took lead from Cans with singing “Hey’s” and “Oh’s” not to mention every chorus. They sang every word to every song that got the band truly motivated and energized. Hands and horns were in the air along with head banging.
The bands set included many songs off the new album, Built to Last, like “Dethrone and Defy”, “Built to Last” and “Hammer High!” They also played older favorites like “Hammerfall”, “Glory to the Brave” and “Hearts on Fire”.
Overall, the whole set was one big sing along full of fan participation with the band giving 100 percent of everything they had putting on one of the best Metal shows proving that these veterans know how to please their fans with creating an atmosphere of pure energy and an amazing musical journey.
Next came Detain, the stage went black and on the big screen could be seen stars, constellations and a hummingbird while “The Monarch” instrumental was playing. Fans started screaming and had their horns in the air as they knew they were in for a great Symphonic Metal show.
Delain hailing from the Netherlands is made up of Charlotte Wessels on vocals, Martijn Westerholt on keys, Ruben Israel on drums, Timo Somers on guitar, Merel Bechtold on guitar and Otto Schimmelpennick van der Oije on bass. Israel came out and started drumming along to the music as Somers joined him on stage and played a solo. The rest of the band except Wesssels got on stage and started jamming to the first song of the night “Hands of Gold”. Fans were screaming and as Wessels entered the screams got louder.
During the whole set, Wessels was very gracious saying “Thank You” after almost every song and engaging fans to clap, sing along and jump. Her voice is one that is truly versatile going from lower tones to Operatic vocalizations. Her presence is strong but feminine but she’s not afraid to head bang and rock out. She and her band are a well-oiled machine who interact with each other on stage beautifully.
Somers and Bechtold as guitarist are very connected and trade off and on soloing onstage. Both are extremely animated, play intensely and do a lot of head banging and rocking out on stage. They are extremely gifted guitarists who are passionate about the music they play and interact well with their fellow band mates on stage especially Wessel’s who often comes over to each of them and will put her forehead to theirs or sing to them.
van der Oije and Israel provide a heavy percussion section and they play well off each other keeping time and rhythm for the band. Israel can be seen from behind his kit beating the skins with passion showing he loves what he does. van der Oije can be seen standing on risers on stage as he making his way around the stage and interacts with fans. He plays bass with all his heart and soul making each note count.
Westerholt is stationed in the back of the stage next to Israel but his presence is fully known as he is fully energized during his performance on stage. He is rocking out and playing keys at the same time truly enjoying the performance and feeding off the fans.
The band’s fans were totally engaged and willing to do whatever Wessel asked of them and they proved to be participating in every song from moshing to singing along. Wessel asked of them many times to clap and scream which they did with passion.
This band celebrating its 10 year Anniversary of their first album, Lucidity are true veterans in the Symphonic Metal music scene. This being their first headline tour even Wessel’s commented that normally they do a 6 song set (as an opening band) but they are happy they can say they can provide a full headline set for all the fans with them playing 15 songs in New York City. You could tell the band was fully energized and ready to show they are more than just an opening act but a true headlining one.
The band recently released last year their latest full length album, Moonbathers on August 2016 so they are touring the album, so many of the songs were off it such as “Hands of Gold”, “The Hurricane”, “Fire with Fire”, “The Monarch” and “The Glory and The Scum”. They also played older favorites such as “Get the Devil out of Me”, “Mother Machine”, “Here Comes the Vultures”, “Sleepwalkers Dream”, “Not Enough” and “April Rain” to name a few.
They did a three song encore with the band ending with “We are the Others”, a song that in many ways has become synonymous with what bands outlook on themselves and their fans. In many ways it’s a song that embraces being different and the power in it.
Delain has proven to be a band that is a key player in the Symphonic Metal world and on their first headlining US tour proves they have the chops to sell out shows and play to the masses of fans that adore them with passion and energy.
Overall, Delain and Hammerfall may come from two different styles of Metal music but as touring mates they mix very well and fans seem to enjoy the combination of sounds as they proved by selling out New York City’s Stage 48.