This Thursday evening 3 heavy metal bands played in Barba Negra, on the same day as Megadeth and Five Finger Death Punch performed in the Arena. On my way there I was wondering about how many people I will see in the venue when I arrive, but when I saw the queue around the entrance I knew this show would be sold out or at least close to it. (later I learned it was actually sold out)
Out of the three bands I was familiar with two, Battle Beast and Hammerfall, having seen each of them twice before.
Based on their name < Serious Black>, I draw the conclusion that they must play in the same genre as Hammerfall and I couldn’t be more right. When I entered the venue, they were just starting the show, the sound and the image of the band was just pure heavy metal, nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes less is more. I looked around and I saw people from all ages already having the most fun, kids, teenagers, parents and even grandparents. This genre, I would say, is the one that closes the gap between generations when it comes to music preferences. The youth loved it because it was catchy, very energetic and the band really knew how to hype the crowd. On the other hand, the older generation, I guess, grew up on this exact sound and this is what they think of when they say music was better when they were younger. Of course, this was true for the whole night, not only for Serious Black. People were enjoying the opening show, they were jumping, they were clapping and singing when asked to J , but the most important part is that they were there, listening to them.
We often go to events where there is considerably less people before the headliner starts and I was happy to see this was not one of those nights. Serious Black are coming back in September and I’m sure there will be many people who will join after seeing them opening for Hammerfall.
The next act on stage was Battle Beast, a band I enjoy a lot! I got into metal by listening to female fronted bands and what I like most about Battle Beast is that they are nothing like them. Not that I would not love those anymore, cause I do, but because of the surprise element they have. I guess everybody, including me expects a high pitched voice or exactly the opposite, some growls when it comes to female singers in metal bands.
Noora doesn’t meet any of those expectations, she has a very strong voice with a great amount of rasp, no opera style and none of the extreme ends of the spectrum. Hearing her is very refreshing, it feels like something new, when the genre itself is one of the oldest. Battle Beast bring an ‘80s heavy metal sound that still has a fresh vibe to it.
The moment they showed up on the stage, all hands were up in the air and the venue “exploded”.
They started with the opening song from their most recent album “No More Hollywood Endings”, from which they played quite a few more during the night. Song after song, people were screaming, dancing, headbanging, nobody got tired and to be honest they would not let us stop anyway. The way they interact with the crowd is next level. All the joking, funny moments, speeches between songs add more to the table than we would think. A little disco element in the songs, a little comedy never hurt nobody. After a few songs, Janne brought some disco drums <as he said> on the stage which gave a whole new atmosphere, now that was the 80s vibe we needed from them.
Rock music was always about fun&games, and they did not let us forget this during the night.
After a short break Hammerfall jumped on the stage, by this time, there the venue was absolutely full, which shows that besides modern metal, there is still a huge need for simple heavy metal without adding to much extra elements to it.
The instruments were loud, the singer was loud, but damn, the crowd was even louder at times. Fans were not so busy with moshing, they choose to sing from the very first song to the very last one.
It didn’t really matter which album they were playing from, fans knew the lyrics and they definitely knew how to impress the band. In between the songs, they did not stop chanting “Hammerfall”, it was very nice to see that. Besides playing a few tracks from their new release “Dominion” they did not forget to bring their classics like “Any means necessary”, “Last Man Standing” or “Hearts on fire” (probably the first Hammerfall song for 90% of the crowd). Especially on these pieces, the fans not only sang along with the band, but they were let to sing choruses and bridges alone several times.
Some people prefer to hear the singer sing all the way to the end, but I think these are the moments that become unforgettable memories from a show not only for us, but for the band also. My favorite part at heavy or power metal shows is that the crowd not only sings the lyrics but they “sing” the riffs and the melodic guitar solos too. Of course, this also happened here on almost every song, which made this night a very loud and energetic one. Little kids also joined the “OoooOooo” parts and I’m sure they will remember this concert when they grow up.
After “Let the Hammer Fall” the band left the stage for a few minutes. It goes without saying that fans invited them back, so they continued the set with the most successful song from the night (imo) “Hammer High”.
That song is like the anthem of not only Hammerfall fans, but all heavy metal fans. It’s a classic that should be never left out of their setlist, and I’m glad they think the same way.
After this bomb of a song, the new album’s “Sweden Rock” followed which got the best reaction from the crowd from all the played new songs. As for the last one, the riff of “Hearts on fire” started playing and it took us back to some childhood memories when we couldn’t wait for this song to come up on MTV.
Overall, I think this is how a tour line up has to be done. Great quality bands playing in similar subgenres, so fans can appreciate them all, no matter which band made them buy the tickets.
Review by Eszter Kovacs