Oscar Dronjak (guitar)
No matter how much everything changes in culture and the world at a large, heavy metal endures. It empowers. It engages. It engenders strength and it outlasts fads. The same can be said for HAMMERFALL. Since forming in Gothenburg, Sweden during 1993, the now quintet of Oscar Dronjak [guitar], Joacim Cans [vocals], Fredrik Larsson [bass], Pontus Norgen [guitar], and David Wallin [drums] have weathered the many storms of changing trends within the music world to stand tall as pioneers that continue to wave the flag of Heavy Metal.
This message rings out louder than ever for HammerFall in 2022. The group’s impact can be felt in nearly every corner of heavy music. Among many accolades, Rock Hard touted the 1997 debut, Glory to the Brave, in its book The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time. 2000’s Renegade bowed at #1 in their home country and went gold. In 2002, Crimson Thunder yielded the seminal “Hearts On Fire.” With 51 million Spotify streams to date, the song notably became a theme for the Swedish Olympic Women’s Curling Team, which led to the band performing the opening ceremony at the European Athletics Championships in front of a global audience of 250 million. In addition to playing everywhere from India to Australia, the group has shared the stage with everyone from Iron Maiden and Rammstein to Dio. 2014 saw (r)Evolution bow at #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart in addition to topping charts back home. During the soon thirty-year career, the Swedish titans have topped album charts both in their home country as well as internationally, sold out tours, reached Gold status and have accumulated 240 million Spotify streams and over 130 million YouTube views.
In true HAMMERFALL fashion, their last studio album, Dominion, received widespread praise from the fans, their peers and the industry. The riffs hit harder, the rhythms thundered louder and the choruses soared higher than ever. This was classic HAMMERFALL but turned up to eleven.
“In a lot of ways, this album is classic HAMMERFALL,” exclaims Oscar. “We didn’t set out to make a sequel to a previous album. Instead, it’s a mix of the strengths from all of our records and everything that has led us to this point. You’ll continue to be surprised the more you listen; it’s something I’m very happy with.” Dominion went on to generation the success that it so much deserved. Reaching number #2 on the official charts in Sweden, only held off the top spot by the counties biggest local artists, the album also found itself of many “albums of the year” lists, saw the band undertake hugely success tours in Europe and the USA and even earned the band yet another Grammy Nomination in their homeland. Undenounced to themselves, HAMMERFALL were in fact bigger and dare we say, better, then they ever had been before.
Along with everyone else in the world, HAMMERFALL as a band and individuals faced the same challenged that a global pandemic forces on everyone. Their tour and album cycle prematurely come to a sudden halt and they were of course forced into lockdown. Faced with the uncertainty of what the near future help and the band finding themselves off the road for what turned out to be their longest ever stretch since there inception, Oscar started the writing process that would in time become the bands twelfth studio album.
Fast forward to the summer of 2021 and the band walked back into Black Studios in Gothenburg, their trusted own studio, their home away from home and the birthplace of the last few HAMMERFALL albums. The old saying of “One Brings Out Their Best When Faced With Adversity”, rang so very true for the guys during the writing process of what would ultimately become Hammer Of Dawn. With the world in chaos, the band bonded even tighter than before and delivered what many early listeners are predicting as the best metal album of 2022 and a high point of the band’s catalogue.
Set for release on February 25th, 2022, Hammer Of Dawn, is monstrous slab of HAMMERFALL in its purest form. Opener “Brotherhood”, echoing the deep friendship felt between Joacim and Oscar after all these years also serving as a shout-out to their loyal Templars and the unity between band and fan. Title track “Hammer Of Dawn” is everything that is GREAT with HAMMERFALL all in one song. Soaring vocals, catchy riffs, killer solo, anthemic chorus, this will unquestionable become a live favorite from this day forth The title track, "Hammer of Dawn,” is also accompanied by the album's first music video, filmed at Liseberg amusement park in Gothenburg by friend and famed director Patric Ullaeus.
Oscar Dronjak on the single:
“The song itself was initially conceived in Germany during the World Dominion tour, with the rest of the work being done at home. I immediately knew this had the potential to be something important, and when Joacim added his vocal melodies we both felt it would be the perfect single. One with substance and power but also one you can’t stop singing when the music fades out.
Joacim Cans adds on the video:
“We already had the idea to shoot a video at legendary amusement park Liseberg 20 years ago. But like any good bottle of Champagne this idea needed to rest and mature before taken into action. And FUCK I am happy we waited!
Together with director Patric Ullaeus we have created something unique and astonishing that totally blows me away every time I watch it. You can really tell that we haven’t played together for almost two long and never-ending years. We are as energetic as a pack of hungry wolves in the video ready to shred and deliver the heavy metal gospel!”
Songs like “Reveries”, “No Son Of Odin” and “Venerate Me”, the latter featuring an appearance by none other than King Diamond, further reinforce the power and quality of this album. The album was mixed and mastered by long time cohort Fredrik Nordström (Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Powerwolf etc.), who also recorded the drums. The vocals for Hammer Of Dawn were produced by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Pretty Maids and more), while guitars were recorded and produced by Pontus Norgren, with co-producers Oscar Dronjak and Fredrik Nordström. In the ten songs on Hammer Of Dawn, HAMMERFALL have proven themselves yet again to be sitting pretty as not only one of the most important bands within the heavy metal world, but as one of the most relevant bands on the scene today. And after the last two years' of involontary inactivity it's fair to say that: HammerFall is back, and hungrier than ever!