This Swedish power metal band was originally a project created by Oscar Dronjak (20 January 1972, Sweden; guitar) and Jesper Strömblad (drums) to compete in local band competitions. Neither had wanted to leave their own established bands Crystal Age and In Flames respectively, and the band was completed by other part-timers Niklas Sundin (b. 13 August 1974, Sweden; guitar), Mikael Stanne (vocals) and Johan Larsson (bass). Sundin and Larsson were subsequently replaced by Glenn Ljungström (In Flames) and Fredrik Larsson (Crystal Age). This line up remained stable until 1996, when during the heats of a local competition Stanne was replaced by Joacim Cans (b. 19 February 1970, Sweden) who had trained at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles. As a result of a strong performance in the contest the band signed to Dutch label Vic Records. After completing sessions for the debut, Hammerfall became a full-time concern, necessitating more personnel changes....
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