Joacim : “I would say it’s more exciting than ever before at this point. I think with HAMMERFALL , we are at the perfect place. I think what we’re doing now, we realized we need to be friends also offstage. We need to get along in between the shows. I think we learned that…the main difference was on the previous tour, on ‘Built To Last’ . We decided to focus a lot on North America. We did two consecutive tours within a period of 12 or 13 months. Being on tour in the U.S. is so much different than being on tour in Europe. The tour buses over there are bigger because of the streets — everything is bigger in the U.S., and the roads and the buses. We spend so much time together, and we realized a market that we thought was totally dead was actually starting to simmer a little bit. We decided to go back a year later, then it was starting to boil a little bit. I think those two tours made a very big difference for us as a band. We also realized, like I said, we needed to do things outside of the stage, so if we had a day off, one day we just took a rental car. We drove from Phoenix up to Las Vegas, and met the JOURNEY guys. We saw their shows. We flew back the next day to Dallas for the next show. Hungover, but it worked, and we had a lot of fun. I think we are really at a very, very good place. What we also did for this album, we started to be creative on tour. The artist who did the artwork for this album, Samwise Didier of Blizzard Entertainment , he told Oscar [ Dronjak , guitar] at one point, it’s ‘ABC,’ ‘always be creative.’ He picked that up. He built a little mobile studio in the back of the bus and I was sitting in the front of the bus being creative while on tour. This never happened before. We, as a band, we found momentum, so to speak. We have so much energy. I think we were able to direct this positive energy from the stage into the tour bus. Sometimes Oscar just ran off stage, gave the backline [tech] his guitar and grabbed a beer, and went back into his little studio, picked up his traveling guitar, and started to riff. He had so much energy. This energy boost from the audience. I think that is something you can hear from the album. There is a lot of vitality. There is so much power, so much energy, and we’re close to 50 years old.”
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