One of the great things about Gear Factor is rockers taking us back to their beginnings, and in this episode, HammerFall's Oscar Dronjak not only takes us back to the songs that inspired him in his youth, but he also shows us the first guitar he built.

“I made one in shop [class], but since I had never played anything other than an acoustic guitar, I thought all guitars were the same," said Dronjak, who admits he had a little trouble making the neck of the guitar and improvised along the way.

This being the '80s, he also made sure that instrument represented his two favorite bands of the day, “My favorite guys were W.A.S.P. and KISS of the ‘80s. So that was probably my favorite part of building this and that’s how dedicated I was to heavy metal guitarists.”

For Dronjak, his start in music actually came as a trombone player, but as he tells us, "When I started listening to rock music and metal music, I wanted to play what I was listening to. I discovered that not many of the bands I was listening to employed a trombone player.”

“One of the absolute first riffs that hooked me, not playing-wise but listening-wise, was a riff that I really wanted to play. This was ‘Balls to the Wall’ by Accept. That made a huge impression on me when I was a kid," said the guitarist.

Drojnak reveals that the riffs are what really drew him to metal, never showing much interest in the flashy solos. He also picked Judas Priest as one of his all-time favorite acts, rolling out bits of "Electric Eye" and "Rock Forever" for the viewing audience. And while "Balls to the Wall" initially grabbed his attention to want to play guitar, Drojnak also signals "Love Child" as another favorite Accept track.

The guitarist also adds, “One of my absolute favorite bands from the ‘80s is Twisted Sister. They have a song called ‘I Believe in You.’ It’s from the Come Out and Play album, which is my favorite album from the band but also one of my Top 5 favorite albums ever, I think.”

Digging into his own music, he adds, “One of my favorite songs of all time with HammerFall is ‘Keep the Flame Burning.’ We just played it on the tour that we did and I was really happy about that. We hadn’t played it [in] about 15 years or something like that.”

Dronjak also rocks bits of "Fury of the Wild" and "The Metal Age" before turning his focus to HammerFall's latest record Dominion. Here he gives us a taste of the album opener "Never Forgive, Never Forget" and concludes the episode with "Testify," a song he hopes to eventually play live but hasn't had the chance to yet.

Hammerfall's new live album Live! Against the World is out and available to pick up here (as Amazon affiliates, we earn on qualifying purchases). Watch the full episode with HammerFall's Oscar Dronjak below.

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