I counted it a privilege to
actually see in person Sweden's HammerFall play on my home soil.
They played to a few hundred people as they would to thousands,
putting on a killer show and drawing in the barely receptive
crowd as much as possible. Basically, only a few people in the
whole place even knew who they were, let alone the words to
the songs, so the sing-along parts that vocalist Joacim Cans
tried to get the crowd to participate in didn't achieve the
desired affect. It was amazing how many people left the room
when they discovered, 30 seconds into their set, that Joacim
doesn't growl. A typical, stupid, fickle Albuquerque crowd,
for sure. The sound was good, and it was rad to hear them nail
those killer leads. HammerFall are definitely leaders in the
metal revival, and their set was complete with a bit of "metal
choreography", and ended with "Breaking the Law",
for which they all traded instruments.
Death, on the other hand, successfully engaged the entire crowd
with their incredibly technical catalog of material. Seeing
Chuck Schuldiner and the boys up close and live is amazing,
especially when they play so flawlessly. "The Philosopher"
started things out, and their masterful set included much new
material alongside highpoints such as "Suicide Machine"
and "Flattening of Emotions" from the speedy "Human"
album, as well as "Crystal Mountain", from "Symbolic".
I would imagine that there has never been a crowd that would
let Death, in all of their many incarnations, get off the stage
without playing "Zombie Ritual", and indeed they fulfilled
that duty. Sadly, they played -nothing- from "Spiritual
Healing", despite me yelling for "Genetic Reconstruction"
after every song. I was also very disappointed that they left
out "Lack of Comprehension", since it is such a killer
song and is so interesting musically. Are Death at the musical
highpoint of their existence? It's debatable, but one thing
is for sure -- the brilliant music that they continue to churn
out is sure to inspire many, myself included, and they simply
must be one of the best live bands ever.