Oscar Dronjak, guitarist for the Swedish heavy metal band HAMMERFALL, is a maniac for music, but ask him what he dedicates most of his time to outside of recording new albums and touring, and the response is both quick and passionate: mixed martial arts, and the UFC, in particular.

When it comes to having knowledge about the latest news or controversies in the world’s fastest-growing sport, Dronjak is the MMA go-to guy in the metal world.

“The first UFC event I watched was ‘Ultimate Ultimate 1996’. That was all it took; I was instantly hooked to the beautiful combination of violence and technique,” he confesses.

In the first installment of his weekly blog, Dronjak discusses his jump from being a pro-wresting fan to his introduction to the MMA world, censorship in Sweden, and how the metal underground wasn’t the only scene with a tape-trading community.

HAMMERFALL members are now in Nashville, Tennessee recording the follow-up album to 2009’s “No Sacrifice, No Victory” (which debuted at No. 38 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart) with producer James Michael (MÖTLEY CRÜE, SCORPIONS, SIXX: A.M., MEAT LOAF). The as-yet-untitled new CD will be available in Europe on May 20. A summer release date in North America is expected.

Regarding the sound of the new HAMMERFALL songs, Dronjak states, “The new material contains a lot of fresh ways to look at the musical ideas. We’re trying to preserve the essence of what HAMMERFALL is while at the same time updating the execution and approach. Definitely heavier and less straight-forward than the previous albums, yet remaining true to what we believe heavy metal is all about.”

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