I am in a quandary here. How do I, as a music reviewer, put aside my own personal tastes and just review based on the merits and flaws of a given release? It's not easy sometimes, and it certainly makes this a more time-consuming process than it has to be. Yet here I find myself struggling to find the words to tell you why Gates of Dalhalla is good and bad at the same time.

For anyone who loves Hammerfall, this is going to be an orgasmic release. The concert was recorded at the Dalhalla amphitheater in a semi-remote area of Sweden and it features over two hours of live music spanning their lengthy career, featuring former members reuniting onstage for the first time in years. Founding members Jesper Strömblad, Mikael Stanne, as well as ex-guitarist Stefan Elmgren joined the band onstage to recreate some of the glory of their past (see the track listing for notations).

So, why is this bad? Well, because Hammerfall have never really appealed to me. I had hoped that this album would do for them what Stratovarius' Live in Tampere album did for me last year, which was to lift the veil from my ears and say, oh, OK, they ARE really good. Yet, I honestly can't remember one song off of this that I would play again. Simply put, Hammerfall bores me to tears. I wish it wasn't the case because the proper elements for a great live album are all here- the performance is top-notch, the sound is mixed well- actually, I'd like to hear more crowd, it IS a live album, after all, and you need to hear that roar and the sing-alongs... but it seems that Hammerfall have yet to write that song that blows me away, and if in the course of over two hours of their best material I can't find one track I would play again, then I guess the band just isn't for me.

However, I can't say it sucks. I may not like the band, but I can't deny that everything is performed and recorded well. All I can say is that if you like Hammerfall then this is a great release for you to get ahold of. It's available on DVD/CD and Blu-Ray. I have not seen the video, I'm going based solely on the audio, but I can't kill 2 hours of my life giving this another go. This one is for the true fans of the band, for certain.