HAMMERFALL Guitarist OSCAR DRONJAK Rejects ‘Power Metal’ Label: “When We Started Out The Genre Did Not Really Exist”

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In a surprising revelation, guitarist and founder of HammerFall, Oscar Dronjak, has stated that he does not consider the band to be a power metal act. This statement comes as a shock to many fans and critics who have long regarded HammerFall as a cornerstone of the power metal genre.

Founded by Dronjak in 1993, HammerFall has released twelve studio albums and is currently promoting the upcoming arrival of their album “Avenge The Fallen”. Despite their reputation as a leading power metal band, Dronjak challenges this classification. In a conversation with Heavy Interviews (transcribed by Ultimate Guitar), he shared his perspective on the band’s musical identity.

“I know that everybody outside of Europe refers to this type of music as power metal, but we have always been a heavy metal band from day one. I know that in Australia and the UK, and especially in the US, they all lump a bunch of bands together as power metal. But for me, when we started out, this genre did not really exist. We came from the ’80s, from the heavy metal movement of the ’80s. That’s when we grew up, you know. So we always shied away from anything that wasn’t heavy metal. That also has its roots in the fact that when we started with HammerFall, in the middle of the ’90s, this type of music was ridiculed. It was not cool in any way.”

Dronjak emphasized the band’s dedication to the heavy metal genre, describing how they faced ridicule but persevered with pride: “It was laughed at basically…well…not basically, literally. We have been laughed at on stage several times. So we’ve worn this heavy metal as a badge of honor because nobody else cared about heavy metal in those days. So for me, this goes a little bit deeper than just the genre classification.”

“For me, it’s a matter of honor and pride as well because this is what we’ve always prided ourselves on. When everybody else said, ‘What the hell are you doing? This type of music died in the ’80s or early ’90s,’ we said, ‘Well, we don’t care.’ This is our type of music. It’s never going to die as long as we play it. And that’s why this thing with power metal and the epithet is a little bit more important than just classification of the band to me,” Dronjak added.

Dronjak‘s reflection highlights a deep-rooted connection to the heavy metal ethos, underlining the band’s commitment to their musical roots and identity. Does genre truly define a band’s sound, or is it their unwavering passion for a specific musical style?

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