HAMMERFALL Drummer Says Threat Of Legal Action Led To Cover Artwork Change

EspyRock recently conducted an interview with drummer Anders Johansson of Swedish metallers HAMMERFALL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

EspyRock: You have been working with [producer] Charlie Bauerfeind for a number of years with your albums and now [on the new HAMMERFALL album "Infected"] you have switched to James Michael. Was there any significant reason for the change and what do you think he brought to the table?

Anders: I think we felt he was a bit too perfect and that he wanted things too nice. He was a talented and hard-working man, though, he just had a different idea from me about the feel of the music. I remember feeling that in the studio, when recording with him and Oscar [Dronjak, guitar] that they were both being hard-headed, I was just a robot playing more or less a basic beat. No input was wanted from me; I just went in and did exactly what they wanted but now it was more free and loose. I played what I personally wanted (well, sometimes, of course, I played what Oscar wanted it is, after all, his band).

EspyRock: The artwork for the album has stirred up a lot of controversy, what is the story behind the legal actions and reception of the biohazard logo?

Anders: Well, again I disagreed with everyone else. But I'm just the drummer :-) We first had a cover with [the HAMMERFALL mascot] Hector and I really liked it but for some reason they didn't and then a bunch of things happened. I remember thinking when I first saw the biohazard cover, "Oh, no. It looks like the band BIOHAZARD made an album called HAMMERFALL!" Then they added these hands after someone from the BIOHAZARD band freaked out and threatened to sue HAMMERFALL. Luckily the music is good and maybe in the end that will be all right, I think so anyway. Maybe it was time to get rid of the same old stuff as I thought the previous albums all kind of looked the same but in the end hopefully it will be all good.

EspyRock: The departure of your mascot Hector which has caused a little backlash from fans. Why did you decide to remove him?

Anders: It was all because they didn't like the cover with him. They thought he looked like a sissy as we had some guy posing with the helmet, it was a real photo. I liked it though. Maybe they were rightwhat if Hector looked like a sissy? It'll be all OK in the end since it's a strong album.

EspyRock: This is your eighth studio album release on Nuclear Blast. How good has it been having the one home for so long which has treated you more like a family for your releases?

Anders: Without Nuclear Blast we wouldn't be here. They are a huge reason HAMMERFALL is where HAMMERFALL is today.

Read the entire interview from EspyRock.

New cover:

Original cover:

Cover of BIOHAZARD's 1990 self-titled debut album:

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