SABATON MAKE A GLORIOUS LAST STAND BEFORE GOING ANOTHER MAN DOWN
Swedish Metallers Sabaton's two pronged attack on the world has been one of the great Metal success stories of the last ten or fifteen years.
From humble beginnings they have come through the massed ranks of Metal bands until they are leading from the front, headlining prestigious festivals like Wacken as well as running their own annual open air event in their home town of Falun and even doing their own annual cruise (the 2000 tickets for the 2016 cruise sold out in less than twenty minutes).
The first part of the Sabaton assault requires them to take their love of military history and craft a bunch of lyrics about wars, battles and individual acts of heroism which inspire them. Add in some catchy, powerful riffs and anthemic choruses and you have the perfect blend of material to catch the ear of fans of power Metal the world over.
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You can hear band members Joakim Broaden and Par Sundstrom talk about their songs and what inspires them in this interview with Metaltalk's Mark Taylor.
'The Last Stand' is the bands eighth studio effort and like 2014s 'Heroes' is based on a concept, this time about famous last stands in military conflicts. From the Spartans stand against the Persian army at Thermopylae to the British army holding off the Zulus at Rorke's Drift and the strange story from WWII about the Battle of Castle Itter where US and German soldiers fought side by side against an attacking SS force, there is all the death and glory here you could possibly want.
Musically they have obviously worked closely together with producer Peter Tagtgren as you can hear a little of the pounding style he uses in his own band Pain at times mixed into the traditional Sabaton concoction of bombast, majesty and melody.
I feel like every song here has been crafted to appeal to a field full of power Metal fans in festival season. There are so many epic choruses such as in 'The Lost Battalion' and riffs backed by pounding drums like those within 'Rorke's Drift' that I can see sometime in my own future I'll be punching the air and bellowing the lyrics along with everyone else.
Every song is immediate and memorable with for me 'Blood Of Bannockburn' the only weak link. I have to confess to be being a proud Scot myself so this is a song which hits close to home but I don't find the speed of the song, the style of the lyrics and the rather obvious addition of bagpipes really create an atmosphere which suits the subject matter.
I'm sure it's just me and no doubt when they hit Glasgow on the tour it will go down really well, but personally I was hoping for something different on that one.
The second part of these warmongering Swedes cunning plan for world domination is to be a very good and extremely hard working live act, constantly touring the world and building their fan base the old fashioned way - on the road. This has its' downsides as a life away from home for months at a time is not for everyone. In 2012 they lost everyone but Brodén and Sundström from the band due to the touring commitments required and after this album was recorded guitarist Thobbe Englund announced he was leaving after four years in the band.
Despite the casualties the Heavy Metal tank that is Sabaton carries on though and 'The Last Stand' is an album which will please their massive fan base and give them plenty of ammunition to fire at any doubters they come across. Coming soon to a field or a concert hall near you, get ready to be overwhelmed, Sabaton style.