Dutch symphonic metallers Delain, who are still on their Moonbathers tour for a second leg, this time headlining, came to NYC’s Stage 48 on Monday night along with Swedish power metal badasses Hammerfall to deliver a couple hours worth of Europan metal magic and memories for all in the house. This would be my first time seeing Hammerfall, and I must admit I only recently began listening to them when this tour date got closer. For Delain, it was my third time seeing them and second time photographing them. The first two times were both as the opening act for Finnish symphonic metal powerhouse Nightwish on both legs of the Endless Forms Most Beautiful tour, the first on opening night here in NYC as a fan and the second time in Jersey covering the show.
For Hammerfall’s part, they’re on the Built to Last 2017 tour in support of last year’s album by the same name. First of all, these guys are huge. Not music-wise, but actually huge, as in guitarist Oscar Dronjak has to be close to 7 feet tall and is an imposing monster of a man with his custom guitar in the shape of – what else – a hammer. I didn’t know Swedes were that tall, but for an intimidating bunch they’re an absolute blast and took the time to play to those of us in the pit shooting them.
The Hammerfall fun started right off the rip when they came out and opened up with Hector’s Hymn and would play 13 more power metal anthems before all was said and done, including Renegade, Last Man Standing, Let the Hammer Fall, Built to Last and Hammer High, which is currently my favorite Hammerfall song, albeit with a rather small sample size. I really don’t know how I’m just getting into these guys now, where have they been all my life and have I been living under a rock?
Hammerfall is definitely fun to watch, and I’d love to see them headline in a better venue. On top of just being flat out fun, their music is awesome and I’ll definitely be picking up all of their music so I can listen to everything I’ve been missing out on most of my life. If you’re going seeing this tour, you should get there in time to see Hammerfall, even if you’re just a fan of Delain like I was when this tour was announced. Even if you don’t know a single Hammerfall song when they come on, you’ll be a fan by the time they leave.
It’s no secret that I wanted to go to this show to see Delain once again. I had never seen them headline, and both times I saw them open they only played 6-7 songs, so finally getting to see them play a full set and not just their popular songs was sure to be a great experience. Gotta say this straight out, Charlotte Wessels is the leading lady here, but guitarist Meren Bechtold is one of the most entertaining guitarists I’ve ever seen, male or female, no question. She doesn’t just play guitar, she’s a legit badass on stage as you will see in the photo gallery at the bottom and she’s massively underrated.
So out they came like gangbusters and proceeded to own the crowd from the opening notes of Hands of Gold right through the very last note of We Are The Others, which I’m pretty sure they also closed with both times I saw them open for Nightwish. Since Delain are on their second North American trip for the Moonbathers tour and have effectively been playing around the world for over a year in support of the album, they had plenty of opportunity to have the album’s songs in their live set and *only* featured 5 of them here in NYC. That’s fine with me since I’m pretty big into the older stuff and had a hard time getting into the most recent effort, but hearing songs live is always a different experience and can often make you appreciate an album more. With that said, the other 4 songs off Moonbathers were Fire With Fire, Pendulum, The Glory and the Scum & The Hurricane.
On top of those offerings, fans were treated to 3 more off We Are The Others – my favorite Delain album – Get The Devil Out of Me, Mother Machine & Not Enough. I think it’s the first time I’ve heard the latter two live and to finally hear a couple more off my favorite Delain album was pretty cool. It’s typically just the title track and Get The Devil Out of Me when they open, but they’re headlining on this run and fans are in for a few treats, including the title track from 2009’s April Rain as well as a couple tracks off The Human Contradiction.
It came as absolutely no surprise when the band wrapped the night up with We Are The Others, which is only the song I waited all night to hear. So it is when your favorite song is also the band’s most popular and finds its way to the bottom of every setlist. But the wait was well worth it because in between were 14 great songs – double the amount I’d been able to hear live in the past – and I and everyone else got to go home happy as Delain sent us off with their biggest hit. I’ll never complain about a couple hours worth of good, hard-hitting European metal, not when the action’s as good as it is from Delain & Hammerfall. This tour’s one of those special ones where the support’s just as good as the headliner, and those don’t come around very often.
Don’t miss out on the fun with these two bands together, it’s worth every bit of your money. Check out the Delain gallery below.