Delain and Hammerfall have just embarked on a month-long tour across North America, beginning in Toronto, Ontario on April 19th and finishing off May 18th in Atlanta, Georgia.
This marks Delain's first (co-)headlining tour of North America, and the first time in seven years that Hammerfall have toured this part of the world. If early reception is any indication, fans of both bands have been eagerly longing for both.
We headed up to Toronto to catch the opening night of the tour, as well as the third stop in Montreal, Quebec a few days later. Both shows brought a split crowd of fans drawn to each of the co-headlining acts. As I waited outside and talked with fans before the shows, many who would close out each night. So far, it's been Delain to "Turn the Lights Out" on each performance, but that's not for a lack of power or enthusiasm from Hammerfall. As seems to be the case with European metal tours lately, they tend to consist of somewhat unlikely pairings of bands. In every instance, however, it seems these lineups are planed with the specific intention of expanding their respective reach to a new audience. While Delain leans a bit more to the symphonic side of metal, Hammerfall is full-throttle rhythm and melody.
Hammerfall is currently touring in support of their tenth album, 'Built to Last,' released last November on Napalm Records. They began the set with the silhouette of primary songwriter Oscar Dronjak at center stage. They stuck to a tight set each night, beginning with "Hector's Hymn" off the 2014 album, '(r)Evolution.' Vocalist Joacim Cans took command of the stage immediately as they went straight into "Riders of the Storm" and then "Blood Bound." Their high energy set never let up from there, ripping through hits like "Any Means Necessary" and "Last Man Standing" before hitting their apex at "Let the Hammer Fall." Hammerfall puts on an exceptional performance with dueling guitars and a rich, energetic sound that would appeal to the biggest Iron Maiden or Judas Priest fans. It's clear this band enjoys the stage and was feeding off the energy the crowd was sending their way. They've perfected the synchronized headbanging better than just about anyone this side of KISS. After whipping the crowd up for
well over an hour, Hammerfall finished off their set with "Hammer High," "Bushido" and "Hearts on Fire" before Dronjak launched his guitar in the air to indicate the closing of their set. As Hammerfall left the stage, the crowd was ready for more. Unfortunately, the 75 minute set form Hammerfall would have to be enough, because the show had only just reached half time, with the other co-headliner, Delain coming up just a short intermission away.
When it comes to the North American market, Delain has proven to be one of the single hardest working acts out of Europe in the last several years, having toured North America every year since 2013 supporting acts such as Kamelot, Nightwish and Sonata Arctica. With that in mind, the stakes are high on this tour, as they've taken on the role of headliner (even if they're sharing that title) and are tasked with filling these venues. Needless to say, the tour is off to a great start. As of this publication, their upcoming show in Cleveland this week was moved from the smaller Agora Ballroom to the adjoining Agora Theater to accommodate the larger than anticipated crowd. Currently, Delain are touring in support of their latest effort, 'Moonbathers,' released last August on Napalm Records.
Delain kicked off the show with the lead track on 'Moonbathers,' "Hands of Gold." The band preceded lead singer Charlotte Wessels to the stage where she later joined them and immediately set the crowd back into overdrive. In Toronto, they followed up with "Suckerpunch" from their 2016 EP 'Lunar Prelude' ('Go Away' replaced it in Montreal) and finished off the opening round of songs with "The Glory and the Scum," also off of 'Moonbathers.' Their set largely consisted of staples such as "Get the Devil Out of Me," "Army of Dolls" and "Here Come the Vultures" with the inclusion of several new songs "The Hurricane," "Fire With Fire," "Danse Macabre" (Toronto) and "Pendulum" (Montreal). In addition to seeing a full 75 minute set, the other real treat this time around was that this is the very first time that this complete lineup has toured the US. It was a real treat to see this full band operate as a unit on stage, demonstrating a truly genuine enjoyment of both their craft, and each other. This is most often demonstrated by Wessels interactions with each band member, whether it be veteran guitarist Timo Somers, their second guitarist (and newest member) Merel Bechtold or founding member, keyboardist Martijn Westerholt. These exchanges were on display all night though,several of which you'll see captured in the photo gallery.
As Delain carried on through the set, Wessels made note of the time that they would usually be closing out their show, to which the crowd cheered, because they knew this set was still quite a ways from being over. They took the audience way back to their 2007 debut with "Sleepwalkers Dream" and "Pristine" before a brief stage exit. When they returned, they finished the night off strong with "Mother Machine" and "Don't Let Go" before putting their finishing touch on the evening with their anthem, "We Are the Others."
Collectively, this show makes for an exceptional evening of music. If you're looking for a show to see this month, check and see if and when Delain and Hammerfall are rolling through your town. You'll be glad you did!
Remaining Dates: Click HERE for tickets
April 26th - Baltimore
April 27th - Cleveland
April 28th - Chicago
April 29th - Minneapolis
May 1st - Denver
May 3rd - Edmonton
May 4th - Calgary
May 5th - Vancouver
May 6th - Seattle
May 8th - San Francisco
May 9th - Los Angeles
May 10th - Anaheim
May 11th - Phoenix
May 13th - Dallas
May 14th - San Antonio
May 15th - Houston
May 17th - Tampa
May 18th - Atlanta
Delain: Toronto, Ontario - April 19th, 2017 at The Opera House
Delain: Montreal, Quebec - April 21st, 2017 at Les Foufounes Électriques
Hammerfall: Toronto, Ontario - April 19th, 2017 at The Opera House
Hammerfall: Montreal, Quebec - April 21st, 2017 at Les Foufounes Électriques