Europe was well represented at this show as Delain and HammerFall came to town to play Soundstage along with Baltimore’s own Omnislash. Delain I had seen before, but the other two I had not, so I was looking forward to a great show. I got to the event a little bit early, 730 to be exact, and the place was already packed with fans, which I was not expecting so early. Little did I know, Omnislash had a following. Like I usually say, too many bands, too little time.
Born right here in Baltimore, Omnislash is a power/thrash band which started in early 2015 and has one independent release to date, which Shockwave reviewed last month mind you. The band started and the crowd got into them immediately. Although it was only a thirty-minute set, these guys were good, rousing the crowd up with their original work and playing some really intense, in-your-face metal. A second album is scheduled for June 10 along with a performance, which Shockwave will be attending and reviewing. Check out their webpage for more info.
Sweden’s HammerFall was next and the anticipation was getting to me. Playing their first ever show in Baltimore, I didn’t know what to expect. The place went dark and the intro music started. Guitarist and founder Oscar Dronjak and crew emerged and started playing “Hector’s Hymn” and the crowd went nuts. I had seen some videos online of the power of this band, but now I was seeing it live for the first time and it was mind blowing. The song ended and immediately they went into “Riders of the Storm” off 2002’s Crimson Thunder, with its crunching guitars and thunderous bass line. In Europe, this band is used to playing large arenas and festivals, but here were about 200 people, if that, who are just as loud as any of those shows overseas. You could tell these people had been longing for this band to play here. I felt their pain. Lead singer Joacim Cans was ecstatic and there was still more to come. Not a ballad band by any means, the band preceded to play more power metal to the crowd: “Blood Bound,” “Built to Last,” “The Dragon Lies Bleeding,” and “Renegade” were a mere taste of the full fourteen song incredible set. Cans and crew ended their evening with “Hearts on Fire” and then made a promise to come back to Baltimore and not wait another twenty years. Whew. I was exhausted already and I still had one more band.
Delain came out soon after HammerFall and I was ready to rock again for band number three of the evening. I was downright exhausted from the first two but, work is work and I have the best job, so I was up to the challenge. “Hands of Gold” started the evening off from this now six-piece band. Delain has played Baltimore twice before and they keep getting better every time I see them. Keyboardist and founder Martijn Westerholt finally even made the trip as he doesn’t tour a lot with the band when they play the states so it was nice to him perform for the first time with his Dutch symphonic metal band. “Go Away” off 2009’s April Rain was next and lead singer Charlotte Wessels never sounded better. This band has a chemistry like no other, especially from a six piece and like HammerFall, was amazed on how many people were here to here this band. Local radio doesn’t play any of these bands but that didn’t stop people from showing up. Delain played a full fifteen song set which also included “Pendulum,” “Army of Dolls,” “Fire with Fire,” and “We Are the Others” ended the night as one of three encore songs.
Delain’s new album is titled Moonbathers and HammerFall’s new album is titled Built to Last. If you don’t own them, I strongly suggest you look for them at your nearest record store or online. I love European bands.