Live Review: Sabaton

With an ostentatious stage set-up consisting of fake ammunition crates and other military-related props, Swedish power metal quintet Sabaton certainly fully commit to their niche of war and history. After pompously entering the stage to Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’ they powerfully blast into ‘Ghost Division’ like a tank demolishing a brick wall. And the war machine carries on in the same grand way…

The show has everything you would expect from a power metal concert; synced moves and  awkward, rehearsed between-the-songs skits. They all wear camouflage pants and bassist Pär Sundström has even had the creativity to sport a camouflage-painted bass guitar. Though the rather superfluous aesthetics of the show suggests a band that would be aware of its own grandeur, they are remarkably surprised by the noisy and acclaiming audience. At times it even comes to the point where vocalist Joakim Brodén reluctantly has to quiet the crowd down.

Music-wise it is a journey from melodies and riffs á la Iron Maiden to Rammstein-inspired synth ‘n’ drums. In lieu of a keyboard player, the synth is played from backtrack. Unfortunately there is not too much room for variety and the vigour they showed at the beginning dies off a bit. Having said that, they are able to keep the crowd engaged and pumped throughout the show. An interesting feature is Brodén letting the audience choose songs to be played. After giving them a couple of alternatives the audience requests ‘Gott Mit Uns’ and to the surprise of the band they vote it to be sung in Swedish. Later Brodén spots a man in the crowd wearing the same outfit as him, thereupon offering the man to request a song as well. Episodes like this saves them from becoming too boring, and just in time for the encore they manage to regain that fiery attitude they initially showed.

It is grand and mighty, slightly silly, yet extremely enjoyable. Sabaton delivers a solid and classic metal show and prove that they are on the path of becoming one of the biggest bands in metal today.

[Fred Lindahl]

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