"We played the music that we wanted to hear but that no one was actually doing."
"We just never got the right offer," chuckles Hammerfall founder and guitarist Oscar Dronjak. "In the early days we did get some people wanting us to come but it would have meant sleeping on other people's floors — and we didn't think our Australian fans would have got a good performance out of us. All jokes aside we have wanted to come to Australia for a long time and we're really excited at finally being able to play there."
As for why Hammerfall will only be playing a one-off Melbourne show, Dronjak is circumspect. "We would like to play more shows but the idea was to see how this one went because we've never played Australia before. We're playing in Japan beforehand so we were already in this part of the world and it made it easier to get to Australia. If things go well we'd love to come back and play a lot more shows."
"We lived in the 'Swedish Bubble' if you will and then we found out that countries like Germany were starving for real heavy metal."
Dronjak needn't have worried with power metal starved masses from across Australia flocking to snap up tickets to a show many of them have been waiting decades for. In fact the Swedes' biggest problem will be condensing a career's material into a single show.
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"What we usually like to do is to include at least one song from every Hammerfall album, although that's getting more difficult as our career progresses," Dronjak admits. "There are some songs we simply can't get away with not playing — Hearts On Fire, Let The Hammer Fall and Last Man Standing — they always do well. But generally as a band we always like to mix it up and not just play a lot off the new album and a couple of hits. Luckily with the records we have we can play different sets and I'm confident that the set we have for you guys will be well received."
When Hammerfall began in mid-1990s they started something of a movement by what was at the time the uncoolest music on the face of the planet: pure, unadulterated traditional heavy metal.
"We played the music that we wanted to hear but that no one was actually doing," offers Dronjak. "When we started people would literally laugh at us for wearing leathers up on stage. If you weren't around then you won't understand just how low metal had fallen: no one was playing it and sometimes it seemed no one apart from a small group of people cared. For someone like me who had a lifetime love affair with heavy metal it was a difficult time so the success we had with Glory To The Brave blew us away. We lived in the 'Swedish Bubble' if you will and then we found out that countries like Germany were starving for real heavy metal — it was amazing. Since then we've just stuck to our guns playing the music we love. It's a real honour to be part of this band."