Swedish melodic metallers HAMMERFALL have announced that they will take an extended break immediately following their festival appearances this summer."It has been an unbelievable first 15 years, to say the least," says guitarist Oscar Dronjak, "and now we are taking a pause to ensure that we have another 15 years ahead of us." There will be no HAMMERFALL activities in 2013, but the band promises to return strong the following year. "The plan is to use the year off to recharge our batteries and come back more vital than ever with a new album in 2014," explains singer Joacim Cans. HAMMERFALL will celebrate its 15th anniversary at two special shows this summer: July 28 at Dalhalla in Sweden, and a week later at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany. Joacim states: "Obviously, the gig to attend is the one in Dalhalla; that will be the biggest and most special show we have ever done! Two hours of music, special effects and guest artists! But we will not forget that it all started at Wacken for us once upon a time." The German festival was the first show HAMMERFALL ever played outside Sweden and marked the beginning of the long and passsionate relationship the band has enjoyed with the German metal fans. "This is why we have decided to pull out all the stops for these two shows, and really make them special," Oscar says, "It will be a fitting end to the first 15 years of our career." HAMMERFALL's new album, "Infected", sold around 1,700 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD debuted at No. 16 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200. HAMMERFALL's previous CD, "No Sacrifice, No Victory", opened with 1,400 units to land at No. 38 on the Top New Artist Albums chart. "Infected" entered the official chart in Sweden at position No. 2 (right behind LADY GAGA!). The CD was released in Europe in May 2011 and was made available in North America in June via Nuclear Blast Records. Laying down the foundation themselves in their own studio in Sweden, the members of HAMMERFALL then traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to finish it up with acclaimed producer James Michael (MÖTLEY CRÜE, SCORPIONS, MEAT LOAF). He also mixed the album, giving it a decisive updated edge without losing any of the essence of the band's sound. HAMMERFALL was among the five final nominees that competed for the "Best Hard Rock/Metal" honor at the Swedish Grammis awards (Swedish Grammy equivalent), which was held February 14, 2012 at Kungliga Operan in Stockholm.