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Road Reports

Group: Hammerfall, Edguy, Into Eternity, Engage
Date: 08.15.05
Place: Jaxx, Springfield, VA

Well after witnessing Hammerfall's energetic and rather surprising set during their opening slot for Death many years ago, I have been anxious to see them live again. Finally, Hammerfall have come back to the Jaxx, this time as a headliner on a US tour for the first time ever. After seeing American shores with Death and Dio, the band are now geared up to please long time fans and win over new ones. Their path finally touched down within a day's drive so I took the metal trek north to experience an enjoyable night of heavy metal power.

I was really anticipating Richmond opener Engage, a young group of talented musicians who play as fast and as loud as early Running Wild and Blind Guardian. The band sent me their demo about a week before this show so I was extremely fired up to see this grand spectacle. Unfortunately as soon as the Jaxx doors sprung open, the band started playing! This can be a great thing in some cases but with me mid-way in a line stretching into the parking lot, the Engage set was lost to me. I slipped in around the same time as the band started their last song, the fantastic demo opener "Pain And Glory". These guys are just amazing live, really captivating the crowd with their guitar razzle dazzle. The band sort of mix early German sounds with the likes of Rhapsody and Stratovarius. Very entertaining! Check 'em out at www.engagetheband.com !

Next up was Into Eternity, a band that I am not a fan of whatsoever. This was a very boring performance and one that had me looking at my watch. These guys just seem really messy and out of place here. At times it seems like every band member is playing a different song. They received some great crowd response so I assume they are building quite a fan following. Good for them, just not my thing.

One of the big reasons I came to this show was Edguy. If this was just simply Hammerfall then my foot probably wouldn't have pushed the gas pedal that long. I have been a fan of these Germans since their debut release "Kingdom Of Madness". The band played an absolutely fabulous set, with great numbers like "King Of Fools" and "Out Of Control" really highlighting an amazing performance. Tobias Sammet is an incredible showman, talking to the audience between songs and getting audience participation. At one point he even managed to get two of the Jaxx's lovely female waitresses to stand on the bar and do some slow dancing/teasing. My favorite choices were "Under The Moon", "The Piper Never Dies", and "Babylon". The stage chemistry and energy was like nothing I've ever seen at a concert. This band really knows how to entertain and they did just that for close to an hour.

Hammerfall cranked it out next, delivering about an hour and fifteen minutes worth of Swedish power metal. The band was extremely precise and heavy. Vocalist Joacim Cans was all over the place, playing the perfect frontman in front of 800+ fans in attendance. The band went through familiar favorites like "Hammerfall", "Glory To The Brave", "Let The Hammer Fall", and "Legacy Of Kings". I enjoyed some of the newer material performed here, with songs like "Blood Bound", "Fury Of The Wild", and "Riders Of The Storm". Lead guitarist Stefan Elmgren played the perfect "axeman", at times comically going through a metal jukebox of riffs and solos, at one point breaking out Metallica's "Enter Sandman".

Bottom Line - An amazing night of metal with tons of energy and positive crowd reaction.




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