Sweden is known for their extreme metal, particularly their death metal from the early 90’s, but they also have calmer styles, like power and heavy metal. A good example of that is HammerFall, whose debut album Glory To The Brave is turning 19 years old today.
HammerFall started as an idea from guitarist Oscar Dronjak after departing from the death metal band Ceremonial Oath in 1993, who later asked Jesper Strömblad, founder of In Flames, to join him playing drums. At the early stages of their career, the band started playing local shows in Gothenburg performing cover songs from Alice Cooper and Judas Priest plus a song Dronjak had written titled “Steel Meet Steel.”
After a few years and the positive reception they got following their success to reach the finals at Rockslaget festival, the band decided to write and record their debut full-length album Glory To The Brave and look for a label to release it. The Swedes finally signed a deal with Dutch label Vic Records, which was later acquired by Nuclear Blast, who already had shown interest in the band. At this point, Strömblad, who co-wrote most of the album with Dronjak, decided to leave the band to concentrate on In Flames, forcing them to recruit Patrik Räfling to fill in drum duties.
Even though HammerFall was met with instant support, Dronjak was surprised about the band’s immediate success:
I still didn’t expect anything. I think that took me years. Even after the first album it took me a while to expect anything from Hammerfall. Another important moment was when the first album ‘Glory Of The Brave’ was recorded. That was another revelation. You never know that you can actually do something until you do it. We never recorded a heavy metal album, not even a demo. So when we were done with ‘Glory Of The Brave’ we sat down and listened to it and everybody involved was quite amazed how good and professional it sounded. I don’t know if we expected that. I mean we obviously did our best but it was still a really nice feeling to realise it had some merits. We actually knew what we were doing. That again took me years to get comfortable with, the thought that we are actually a force to be reckoned with. We have always been a force to be reckoned with for ourselves but not for anybody else.
HammerFall had to go through some challenges to stand out in the metal scene at the time but once they were able to deliver something like Glory To The Brave, the band has stayed true to themselves and remains a very important band in the power metal genre nowadays. Check out the album below and let us know what are your thoughts about it.