In 20 years of band history, and 10 years after the release of their last live album One Crimson Night, Hammerfall release with Gates Of Dalhalla only their second live album ever. It comes as either a 2 CD or as DVD pack but, for this review, I had access to the audio part only. Because of the long period between those two live albums and the amount of hits the band has to offer, it does really make sense for the band to publish a new live album.
By the way, it is a bit difficult to evaluate a live album. The tracklist is usually a best-of, so there is nothing to nag. That´s exactly the case here. But this also means that altogether 8 of the 25 songs are on both releases One Crimson Night and this new one. The most important criteria for live releases are therefore the sound and the atmosphere. The sound on Gates Of Dalhalla is quite rough and unpolished, making it sound much more aggressive and giving it more punch than the studio versions. But this also means that the bombastic touch of songs like Blood Bound and Hearts On Fire is a bit reduced. However, all instruments are well mixed and can thus be appreciated and enjoyed very well - almost nothing got lost. I also like the live vocals of Joacim Cans much more than his studio vocals because he sound less like a eunuch.
There is a big minus when it comes to atmosphere, though. The audience isn´t heard loud enough, neither while singing along (or do Swedish fans not sing along?) nor during the breaks. Also, there is almost no in-between song banter by the band on the record. That`s a pity because it makes the release much weaker than it should be. But, all in all, it is still a good release worth listening to.