Kamelot, Hammerfall, Ad Infinitum – Pittsburgh, PA – 5/20/2024

It was a metal Monday in Pittsburgh with a triple bill kicking off the week at The Roxian Theater in McKees Rocks, PA.  The night began around 7pm with what first began as Melissa Bonny’s solo project and eventually morphed into a symphonic metal band entitled Ad Infinitum.

Born from Swiss and German artists with Melissa Bonny taking center stage in a badass body suit that further echoed the concept behind the bands name like the never ending staircase in an M.C. Escher creation, the front woman exploded with energy serenading us like an angel and then unleashing a demon.

The band, which also features Adrian Theßenvitz on guitars Niklas Müller on drums and Korbinian Benedict on bass, delivered a thirty minute set comprised of just seven cuts (eight if you count the intro before the opener of “Unstoppable”).

The band, which began back in 2018, released their debut on Napalm Records and continues to add new singles to the mix like their latest single “Outer Space.”  They closed out their set after revving up the audience for the bands to follow and finished strong with “Into the Night.”

About twenty or so minutes later, allowing fans to make their way to the basement to check out two additional larger than life merchandise displays, Hammerfall took charge of the room with frontman Joacim Cans giving very clear instructions on how the crowd was expected to participate with fisted hands and chants of the band’s name during the band’s signature anthem and other Swedish metal favorites.

The band showcases the flashy guitar antics of founding member Oscar Dronjak and the more subdued Pontus Norgren with Fredrik Larsson singing to the crowd as he held down the low end on bass and David Wallin peering out behind a massive steel adorned drum kit.

There were simply too many highlights of choreographed jams and screaming guitars to list from the title track “Renegade” off the band’s 2000 release to “Last Man Standing” to the ultimate encore of “Hearts on Fire” the audience was electrified.  In honor of the current tour, the band recently released a new single “Hail to the King” which will be included on their thirteenth studio album, Avenge The Fallen, to be released in August 9 on Nuclear Blast Records. That cut could be found sandwiched between their anthem “Let the Hammer Fall” and “We Make Swedish Metal,” before teasing us a bit prior to their encore.

Sometime after 9pm the stage was overtaken by smoke and light, and just like that, the night belonged to Kamelot.  Kamelot is an American power metal band from Tampa, Florida dating back to 1987, which is now fronted by Swedish vocalist Tommy Karevik.  Tommy invited Melissa Bonny back to trade off vocals during a few expected selections from their headlining set which required a female voice.

The band was founded by Thomas Youngblood who leads on guitar, behind him on the keys, Oliver Palotai lurked in the shadows, and they were just opposite of drummer Alex Landenburg who shared stage left with bassist Sean Tibbetts.

Oliver and Alex could be on risers mimicking gothic cathedral architecture which only added to the mystique of modernized historic theater.  To be honest it was difficult to capture the mood as blasts of fog and strobes filled the stage, but we did our best to take some of those riveting moments that made for a theatrical metal show.

Highlights from the evening included “When the Lights Are Down” from the 2005 album The Black Halo as well as the back to back delivery of “Willow” and “Night Sky” from their latest, The Awakening, which is the thirteenth studio album released in March, 2023, on Napalm Records.

With room for isolated drum and keyboard moments that only added to the mood before the band invited the crowd to rise as they called for cheers and waved their flag to an even bigger roar, Kamelot finished the night with “Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy).”

Additional dates include:

May 21 – Richmond, VA – The National
May 23 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts
May 24 – Atlanta, GA – Heaven – Masquerade
May 25 – Tampa, FL – Jannus Landing

Coverage by Editor and founder Kara Marie Uhrlen posted on 5/20/2024.  All event photos © Kara Uhrlen for The Pure Rock Shop.

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