Sabaton deliver power metal Swedish style with a key focus on military history, especially World War One and World War Two (whilst singing from the point of view of both sides). On January 13th, 2013 I saw them perform on their first ever headlining show in Australia at the Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria for their Swedish Empire Tour.
Sabaton formed in Sweden in 1999 and have released six studio albums – Primo Victoria (2005), Attero Dominatus (2006), Metalizer (2007), The Art of War (2008), Coat of Arms (2010) and Carolus Rex (2012) which is the album they are currently touring. In early 2012 the majority of the band had tired of the constant touring and a new band lineup was formed around two original members, lead singer Joakim Brodén and bassist Pär Sundström. The current lineup joining them since April 2012 is Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund on guitar and normally Robban Bäck on drums, but he is currently on paternity leave so the band is touring with well-known Swedish musician Snowy Shaw playing drums (born Tommie Helgesson he has played with a number of heavy metal bands including King Diamond).
I first saw Sabaton play live when they performed a 5 song set during the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards 2012 in London, UK (with the current touring lineup excluding Snowy Shaw) and I just had to see them again! Having a strong interest in military history and a love of heavy metal this power metal band really appealed to me and I have become a big fan!
A large crowd had formed quite early at the Corner Hotel for this Australian show and the support acts were two Aussie power metal bands Eyefear (lead singer Danny Cecati has a great voice and also the longest hair you will probably ever see!) and Black Majesty. Both bands put on a great performance but they were not quite finished yet and had a special surprise in store for us……
The surprise? Members of both Eyefear and Black Majesty then joined forces on stage with Snowy Shaw from Sabaton also on vocals for one last song! This got the crowd all fired and and ready for the mighty Sabaton!
After a short break to get the stage ready, Europe’s The Final Countdown started to play over the loudspeakers, following a quick sing along the crowd started the loud chant of “Sabaton, Sabaton…..”. Snowy Shaw took to the stage and started playing a number of classic metal drum beats (such as Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills) then the rest of Sabaton burst onto stage and opened the gig with my favourite song the thundering Ghost Division (about the German Panzer Korps fighting in Russia in WW2)! The rest of the show was interspersed with lots of on stage antics, crowd interaction and humour. The line of the night from Joakim Brodén: “This next song is surprisingly about war“!
The big anthems continued throughout the show including 40:1 (about the Polish fight against the Germans in WW2), Cliffs of Gallipoli (accompanied with Joakim Brodén waving an Aussie flag whilst singing which pleased the crowd enormously as Gallipoli is where the ANZAC legend was born in 1915 fighting the Turks and we all were in full voice for this rousing song!), Carolus Rex (a historical tune about King Carolus of Sweden who reigned from 1697 to 1718) and Primo Victoria (about the 1944 D-Day allied invasion of France). At certain stages during the gig we were given options on what song we wanted to hear next, the loudest roar from the crowd would determine what they would play such as Into the Fire (a song about the Vietnam War).
Joakim Brodén introduced one of the last songs and said it actually wasn’t about war…shock horror, this was Metal Crüe which is a tribute to heavy metal. The show ended with an encore but the great and very vocal crowd wanted more, so Sabaton hit the stage again for another song. All members of the band were really appreciative of the crowd response and we all had a great time!
Sabaton your Melbourne fans salute you!