If you are not a HammerFall fan, please stop here. There is nothing for you to read here. Why would you waste your time reading about a band you loathe, anyway? That is time better spent reading a book or assembling that neutron bomb in your garage.
Now, for the rest of us . . . ahhh, here I am again, reviewing another double live album. It got me thinking about the purposes behind the live album. Sometimes it’s contractual obligation; sometimes it’s a label squeezing every last drop out of a band; sometimes it’s a “thank you” to the fans. In HammerFall’s case, it’s the latter, as the band will tell you. That being said, One Crimson Night is just about everything a fan could want from a live album, and everything that the band’s detractors use to slam them (which, ironically, are usually the same thing).
One of the cooler aspects of live albums such as this and Iced Earth’s Alive in Athens is that it gives us Yanks a chance to hear how much these bands are loved overseas. HammerFall plays here and gets the short set in the shitty venue; over there, they play the headliner’s length set in a nice sized venue filled with fans chanting their name. It’s almost unreal. Recorded one night on their home town of Gothenburg (or Goteborg, depending on who you ask), Sweden in front of 4,000 fans (plus three additional tracks recorded in Mexico a couple of years before), this is HammerFall at their live best.
As a fan, you’ve heard all these songs before, and the set list lifts equally from each of the band’s four studio albums. The great ones are all here: “The Unforgiving Blade”, “Steel Meets Steel”, “Heeding the Call”, “The Way of the Warrior”, and anything they’ve ever shot a video for. Thankfully, they stay away from the ballads as much as possible (the powerful “Glory to the Brave” being an exception). Here’s another interesting point: all the songs are in English, yet vocalist Joacim Cans speaks entirely in Swedish in between songs (except for the songs recorded in Mexico), definitely the biggest irritation point here. Toss in a bass solo and a guitar solo, and you have what could be considered, content-wise, to be a penultimate live album: intro, songs, solo, songs, solo, songs, and encore.
One Crimson Night is definitely a fan’s album. Those who were not into the band will not be converted by this disc. In fact, overall, the two-disc set is fairly run-of-the-mill as far as overall feel goes. Fans will wet themselves over the track listing and the chance to sing along, in their home, with 4,000 other people who believe in the power that is HammerFall.