Dragony – Viribus Unitis

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 14, 2021 by Sara Hammerzmith

Roughly in November 2019 I clicked a link from the Austrian symphonic power metal band Dragony and contributed to the recording of the upcoming album. A lot of things happened since then – In July 2020 they signed with Napalm Records – well deserved! Throughout the campaign they announced a few special guests, such as Alessia Scoletti from Temperance, Georg Neuhauser from Serenity and Michele Guaitoli from Visions of Atlantis.

In November 2020 they finally announced the concept of the album now given the name “Viribus Unitis” – telling the tale of the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef, but apparently throwing in a few extra bits here and there with alternate time lines as well as tributes to video games. All in all, the album serves as a concept album something Dragony hasn’t quite dealt with since their debut album “Legends”, making this album coming back to the roots while still keeping the now ever so established Dragony sound. (To read full synopsis of the album, I’ll direct you here) A couple of songs has been written together with Tommy Johansson and Tomas Svedin (“Gods of War”) as well as Michele Guaitoli (“Love You To Death”)

The album starts off with an excerpt from a classical piece known as “The Blue Danube” (on this album referred to ‘On The Blue Danube’) only to explode in a rather aggressive opening song in ”Gods of War”, which serves as an excellent opener and bringing the thoughts immediately back to the first album of theirs, ”Legends” which much like this one is a conceptual rock opera kind of album.

Instantly, it’s followed by yet another epic intro which launches into “Love You to Death”, which directly became my own personal favorite and stayed so throughout the album. The epic intro, the adventorus verses , the massive choruses which makes this song into a pure battlehymn, despite the relatively dark lyrical theme before just casually ending with epicness. Even so, the next song in line falls under what I consider very typical Dragony trademarks musically.

This album is however a bit of a moodswinger as we move from happier cheerful anthems to a tune of a bit more darker nature, “Darkness Within”. While the song itself is actually really good, one of my tops of the album – I can’t help but to think of HammerFall upon hearing the arrangement of the song, more specifically “At The End of the Rainbow” from “Legacy of Kings”, taking some interesting turns in solos and bridges, especially the solos going all over the place, quite literally.

And from the dark place back into the typical Dragony sound of symphonic power metal in the “A.E.I.O.U”, which features Georg Neuhauser from Serenity on vocals, creating quite a harmony together with Siegfried. The song itself is one another of these battle hymns that we’ve come to be quite familiar on this album. Quite easily one of the better tracks on the album.

The title track, “Viribus Unitis” itself probably holds one of the biggest epic elements of the album, as far as beginning of the song and verses goes, and perhaps even more so in the chorus. I also adore the Alice in Wonderland references in the lyrics. It’s the perfect title track, if you ask me.

Another interesting song comes along as we start off with bag pipes – because why not at this point? We just had a song about turning a castle into a flying one. And then, as if it wasn’t odd enough, we are now throwing in a typical 80’s heartthrob in “Made of Metal (Cyberpunk Joseph)”. I’ll admit that these songs falls a bit flat for me in comparison to the other songs.

After these little… interesting sidetracks, we find ourselves back in the battle hymns as “Battle Royale” takes place with pretty much the big culmination of the album. It is a fine mix of everything that has already gone down on this album, an album that got more and more spaced out as the album went on – this is not a bad thing though. It’s made me smile quite a lot throughout the listen. Lastly, we are finding ourselves with “Legends Never Die” which gives us a bit of everything – quite a bit of techno blended with some well-crafted metal inbetween.

Something that has been very clear on this album and something I personally appreciate a lot and keep the album interesting is in all the details. There hasn’t been a single song that, despite being more or less a personal favorite of mine, hasn’t had at least some kind of effect that has made me go hah? What? Be it lyrical absurdum – Rooted in the history of what went down in the Habsburg monarchy, but with the imagination of Siegfried to take it a few steps further makes for another interesting and to say the least, entertaining and hilarious side of the album – to surprise additions such as bagpipes, techno fillers and straight down 80’s sounds in the midst of epic symphonic melodies.

All I can say is YES. I’ve waited a relatively long time for this album, and every single second spent waiting was well worth it. This is easily the best work to date from Dragony and I urge EVERYONE to pick this one up. I don’t often recommend people to buy a specific album, but with this one.. I will. It’s worth every cent. Link is under the cover.

// Sara

Napalm Records

Throwback: 70.000 Tons of Metal 2018, part 4

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2021 by Sara Hammerzmith

And then comes the very last day. At this point I’m beyond exhausted I have not gotten more than 4-5 hours of sleep every night, and It wasn’t even consecutive hours, but rather one hour here and there. But, it’s the final day and it’s also Sabaton day so it’s just for me to suck it up and get it on with.

I started the day with burning myself, or more like, my feet off to Leaves’ Eyes. Pool deck set in the midst of the day with the bright sun shining made me not want to wear shoes because of heat, but upon taking them off I instead burn my feet on the exteremly warm floor. I was literally choosing between the plague and the black death, but I eventually put on the shoes again. I was set to stay in Miami for a week, might be good to NOT start that off with third degree burns on my feet of all places.

The rest of the day was spent trying to make the most of it. Taking one last swim in the pools, enjoying the sun deck for the last time. I have this thing where I tend to always want to make the most out of every moment, because you never know when is the last time. And oh, how do I feel that right now. Who knows when BOAT returns? Anyway.

Here comes another fond memory of mine. The day progressed and it was time for Sabaton. My company was already in the front, but I arrived a little later for some reason but as Dark Tranquility was playing there is no way to get to the front, so I took a seat in the theatre section and told myself to not fall asleep.

However, sometimes you are tired, and other times you are TIRED. You know, when you aren’t even in charge anymore. I just remember so vividly how my body was just changing itself into a more comfortable position and the next thing I know I’m startled awake by applauds. I look up and I see the band is leaving the stage. 

Thank the All-father for that happening, otherwise there is a big chance or should I say risk that I’d have slept through Sabaton as I am convinced my company wouldn’t have woken me up if they’d seen me asleep (and I wouldn’t with them either, so no harsh feelings). But, I woke up in time, made my way to the now relatively empty front row and waited for Sabaton.

So, make that the second show I slept through?

The Sabaton show was a different one from before, not that I minded at all actually. Opening up with “Lion From The North” and in general not having to suffer through yet another show with “Ghost Division” as an opener (I have a complicated relationship to this song, okay?) and having them play more and more songs off “Carolus Rex” was pretty damn great. You always get so happy from seeing them regardless so.

And what a perfect cruise it was. I remember being so overwhelmed, and probably missed out on doing loads and loads of things and I did for sure not see all the bands I had hoped to see because of the same overwhelming feeling. What I did know, when seated in the Windjammer for the last time gazing out over Port Everglades in the same combat wear I had been wearing since the show last night, was that I’m definitely returning next year.

And the year after that.

And again.

But alas.. Not in 2021… 

// Sara

Throwback: 70.000 Tons of Metal 2018, part 3

Posted in 70000 tons of metal, Concerts, Travels, Uncategorized on January 11, 2021 by Sara Hammerzmith

So the next day came, I got up and got ready… for the infamous Alestorm show. Actually, it wasn’t all that special and different at first – a relatively regular festival show by Alestorm, just in the most perfect location. They played the pool deck set, so, beyond perfect. The sun wasn’t out at the time, and it was rather windy, which we got to experience.

As per usual, Alestorm throws out their Ducky during their set. And then Ducky just jumps and floats around assaulting the people in the audience. But today, it would take a bit of a twist. As the band came to an end with their show, going into ”Captain Morgan’s Revenge” the wind hit just a little harder and Ducky was going wild. 

So wild that no one could stop him, not even the crew throwing themselves all they could during the break down and Ducky thus ended up hitting a bass player and the drummer of Alestorm. Chris just remained on the floor laughing for a while, the band stopped to play and he stood up, told us to shut up because they are ”actually a very serious metal band” and continued the song.

Sidenote: Some year or years later 70K team posted about this show on their feed, asking who got hit by Ducky which lead to the iconic comment ”Their drummer, for a change” being made by someone I do not remember the name of. But yes. Oh my god. What a start, huh?

Looking back on the schedule now I realize I just missed out on so many bands out of pure bliss. I had minor plans seeing several different bands but wound up pretty much only seeing Korpiklaani and attending a Battle Beast signing session prior to one of the coming highlights for me.

I mean, we might be in the Caribbean, but I’ll STILL wear combat boots and camo pants. I ran by the Battle Beast signing and then up to Sabaton which ultimately would be the highlight of the cruise, of course, what else? 

It was yet again a relatively average show by the boys actually, but I guess I couldn’t have expected much more, I was hoping for “Midway” because you know, boat? But nah. But the biggest memory I have from this show is toward the end of the show where I feel someone tugging my pants and I look down at the most adorable little Childs face I have seen. I lean down and ask what’s wrong and he looks up ”Did they play Sparta?” And I tell him that yes, they just did (was literally before this song) and MAN! The disappointment on his side. I had a strong urge to just tell the band to replay the goddamn song for this little warrior. He then left, even though I had every intention of letting him be in front of me. Cute boy.

After Sabaton, nearing midnight in fact, I got myself a nice swim in one of the pools, a midnight ice cream and then spent a little while fan-girling over the setlist I had just acquired. 

But, alas, it couldn’t last for long as I had to get back to bed because my alarm was at 4.30 in the morning to see Battle Beast on pool deck at 4.45. And I wanna paint you the picture here – I was staying on deck 2. Pool deck is deck 12.

So, it’s not exactly just a little tiny walk. It’s either climbing Mount Everest or ”Please Hold” while waiting for about a decade for the next elevator to come. 

Once up there, I saw an opportunity and I took it. Obviously, it’s relatively mandatory on boat to not wear actual underwear but instead bathing attire at all times, so I threw my pyjamas and jumped in the hot tub right next to the stage. I mean, I HAD to have at least one hot tub show right? And this was perfect. I was beyond tired regardless, so? Everyone wins?

It was nice actually. Sitting there in the warm water (it’s dead ass cold at night, despite being the carribbean) and watching a favorite band of mine. True bliss.

I was not however as cocky the next day. Slept for maybe 4-5 hours before having some breakfast and then embarking on another adventure – exploring the Grand Turks.

Today was the day of destination, and for this year it was Turks & Caicos islands. And what a beautiful beach! First I stopped by some local tourist shop and the off to the beach. And aaah, I can’t even begin! Taking some swims in the ocean, lying on the beach (a bit away from the boat) and just taking it so easy and gentle was something I really needed. I might be the type of person who happily sleeps on a FlixBus between Paris and Budapest, but all the same I am the type of person who LOVES to just relax near the water, the endlessness of the water with the sun radiating on my face.

Alas, we had gotten off rather later (around 12 I believe) and in order to NOT miss the ship back to the States we got back on at 16.30 or so. Had a nice shower and then toward the Alhambra to see Battle Beast. So, literally, I saw them twice in the same 14 hour period. Nice.

Now, I’m going to tell you a little something. One of the survivor tips I had seen prior to the cruise was this ”You’ll rely on the Pizza place”. And I just.. No? Why would I? The Windjammer is open almost 24/7, I think it was closed a total of three hours a day. But I very quickly came to learn that it is close on the EXACT TIMES when you in fact need it. Still to this day, this is the one survivor tip I always pass on – because it is absolutely true. 

Made yet another attempt to see Amberian Dawn at the Pyramid Lounge, this time without falling asleep every other song. Korpiklaani was also on the set the same evening and then Freedom Call at 1 am in the night, and later on Triosphere.

To be continued…

// Sara

Throwback: 70.000 Tons of Metal 2018 part 2

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2021 by Sara Hammerzmith

The next morning we made it to port and got checked in, had our picture taken – you know the full drill. Waited patiently in the waiting hall to be allowed boarding and then went on the boat. I quickly located my cabin which held the perfect spot – just one or two rooms down from the hallway with the elevators. Perfection! I was in one of those lovely shared cabins together with three other lovely ladies, one actually just came to collect a pillow to stay in her friends cabin, but the other two were lovely. 

After this, I headed off to the buffet called Windjammer and they legit had anything you could ever ask for. I was even reluctant at first, is all this TRULY for free? The only cruise I had really been on prior to this was Sabaton Cruise, and NOTHING comes for free at that one, on the contrary, please sell us your kidneys and first borns and then maybe you’ll get some food. Maybe. And when you do, it’ll give you stomach issues (my first Sabaton cruise…)

In a little bit we were asked to partake in a security drill and once it was over I head up to the top deck to watch the views. And it was.. Surreal. You know that feeling you have when something feels so extremely out of reach but yet, somehow, out of nowhere, you are simply THERE? All of a sudden you are just standing there on deck 12 looking over the ocean as the ship sets sail from Port Everglades, the sun warming your face and you are just being overtaken by gratitude and instant happiness. How did I even end up here? Sure, I know how – enter a waitlist, book a room, get on a flight, but how on the Earth did the universe grant me this?

Before I get way too ahead of myself in the mysteries of the Universe, let’s just continue onwards shall we?

After this I headed down to the Alhambra theatre and got myself a comfortable seat a bit up – to tell you the truth – something I do a lot is traveling and making decisions without an actual budget. So in all honesty – I was rather burnt out when getting on this boat so it was nice getting to spend the first show just sunk down in a comfortable theatre chair, and for the first time ever, get to witness Leaves’ Eyes live! It was an extremely enjoyable show and I’m so happy I finally got to see them.

After the show I went off to explore the ship a bit. It’s a huge ship, and it felt even more huge than it probably is. Walking down the Royal Promenade, I sometimes purely forgot we were on a cruise. It felt like I was walking in that high end shopping mall we visited in Milano all the way back in 2013. Strange how resemblances just catch on like that, huh? 

Rest of the evening was in fact spent exploring a bit more. Independence of the Seas is, as most cruise ships, massive as hell. I’ve already mentioned the Royal Promenade to you, but there’s also a deck dedicated to more active activities like wall climbing, and my own personal weakness – an arcade hall. And an entire casino. So much to do, so little time. Eventually we went to bed and got up again at 3 am to watch another band…

…And that was the second punch in the gut. I was absolutely not prepared for this being a 24/7 (sort of) cruise. Upon reviewing the time schedule I looked at in disbelief, took a deep breathe and pretty much accepted that I might die now. But if I do, at least I’ll die happy right? 

Relatively early I went off to bed and then up again to catch Amberian Dawn at the dashing hour of 3.00. But I wasn’t really having it, I went there in my pyjamas and took one of those comfortable seats, only to discover that the schedule was running late. And I was already practically sleepwalking, and I found myself going between sleeping and being awake all the way until they started.

But I wasn’t really awake then either, haha! I know I heard ”Cherish My Memory” which is at the time my favorite song by them, but I also remember sleeping every other song, or such. So, make that a first – sleeping partially through a show.

After that, I headed back to bed for a few hours of sleep. Next show I had planned wasn’t until 13 the next day, Alestorm, but obviously one goes up a little earlier for breakfast and more exploring. 

// Sara

Throwback: 70.000 Tons of Metal 2018 part 1

Posted in 70000 tons of metal, Travels, Uncategorized on January 7, 2021 by Sara Hammerzmith

Tomorrow we were meant to embark on yet another edition of the 70.000 Tons of Metal cruise – but this pandemic put quite a stop to it. So instead, I figured I’d spend the next couple of days talking about some of my favorite memories from the first cruise I ever attended!

But to be honest, I don’t even know where to start. Sometimes I lay in bed and just think about the boat and the feeling it gives me. That warm, love full feeling when thinking back about something dear to you.  I’m going to try to write from a first comers perspective as possible, so excuse the overly romanticizing, haha!

As with everything that is your first, I’d dare to say that my first 70.000 Tons of Metal is the one that left the biggest mark on me. It started already in how I wound up to be on the cruise in the first place – for some reason the cruise started to make more and more appearances on my feed, and as I noticed the line up getting announced I felt a burning desire growing in me of going.

Battle Beast. Sabaton. Korpiklaani. Leave’s Eyes and lastly… Alestorm. You’d believe Sabaton was the main reason for forcing me to go, and while I won’t deny that they might have held the strongest of points, the thought of missing out seeing Alestorm live on a boat while they sing ”I’m on a ship, if you don’t know” was absolutely unbearable, so at this point I signed up for the waitlist for tickets (since it was you know, sold out). 

I had figured that I might get a ticket by January, which is not a problem visa-wise since I had one currently approved, and financing wouldn’t be a problem by then either (this was in October some time) but mind my surprise when I wake up on October 31st in the morning and see ”70000Tons of Metal 2018 – Waiting List Offer”

At first, YAY! I got myself a ticket! But then I was absolutely mortified at ”Has to be paid in full within three days”. You know, just casually 1200 euros. But thanks to my father I was granted a little loan – which I did not expect considering this is a luxury – and it was thus a fact.

I was going to be on 70.000 Tons of Metal. 

All of a sudden, as usual when it comes to me, I found myself having to sporadically plan a trip to the US, in the midst of the other little touring I was doing at the time. It was more complicated than it needed to be because of reasons, but eventually it was a go.

Not only was it going to be my first visit on the Boat, it would also come to be my first visit in Florida all in all! During 2017 I had been to California for a Lordi tour, first time I sat foot on American soil so I was excited to be back! 

The first fun and ironic thing to add is that once on board the plane, a quick check on instagram pointed out that apparently Sabaton was on our plane. And we got very aware of that in customs line, when we ended up next to them. After this, off to the hotel we went to rest. 

Some of my absolute favorite memories pre-cruise was strolling down the Fort Lauderdale beach and going through the George English Park. 

We also took a major stroll around the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Incredibly beautiful place if you ask me, a place I’ve come to visit every single year since this first experience. Later on in the evening, we had a bit at a restaurant and headed back home to our hotel.

As complete newcomers, I had no idea what to expect of the cruise. And that became very apparent when as late as the night before departure, the 61st band of the cruise. Exodus was announced and I realized that this might be a ”anything can happen” kind of cruise. At least it was the feeling I had.

To be continued…

// Sara

Of Legends…

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2021 by Sara Hammerzmith

2020 was a funny year. To say the least. If anything, an odd year.

2020 was the first year in a ten year time period I didn’t get myself a renewed passport. It’s the first time in about four years I did not have my US visa renewed. And to make it worse, no actual plans at the moment to even have them renewed.

However, I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Early in the year I headed off to the US to attend a festival, 70.000 Tons of Metal, and returned home for a complete Sabaton tour stretching through eight countries with 13 different shows. A few more weeks after returning home I got to go back to my favorite city of Paris and check off a bucket list venue in La Machine du Mouline Rouge where I got to see two bands perform – Lordi and Night Flight Orchestra.

After that, the virus knocked out any tour or festivalplan I had. I kept having my hopes up, but due to the spread and general people inability to think further than themselves, the virus kept spreading and event after event was cancelled. I’ve been patient. I’ve stayed home, besides going to work. I haven’t even attended the few “corona friendly” gigs that has been offered, because in my own personal opinion it’s not worth risking the spread or getting the virus myself. Although I am not personally afraid of, you never know what long term consequenses you could get from a virus like that. Still remember how ill I was from BOAT SARS back in 2018. That was a bitch.

Because of this, my blog has been suffering. In the beginning it was simply a lot of work (I second as a healthcare worker these days) and later on actual denial. When you’ve been living the touring life since you were 16, spent all your time in school surrounding touring and just having it all taken away from you without an actual by-date, it kind of turns your world.. upside down, if I may say so. I didn’t speak of music or touring in the longest of time, people even wondered if I was sick until I sat down with my boss at the casino and simply told her that “Today I was supposed to be on a Texas tour with Amaranthe, Hammerfall, Battle Beast, Beast in Black, Judas Priest, Sabaton and KISS. And to be honest it just hurts a little too much to even think about right now”

I did vow something to myself with this. To take this time to get back on track, with the blogging. I may not have a lot of new things to write about (besides new album releases) but I do have a golden back library. And it’s time to start do something with it, isn’t it?

It’s time to make use of all those years.

Welcome back, my friends.

// Sara

Sabaton @ Sportpaleis, Antwerpen, Belgium 2/2 – 20

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

[Most of the pictures from these shows aren’t correct chronologically. During the tour my camera broke down, and I stopped taking a lot of pictures. This is why you’ll be seeing Swedish Empire song pictures as an example earlier than you should – figured these visuals are better than nothing]

And so it begins. The heavier schedule of the tour. In the beginning, after the cruise it was quite a few dead days at home in Antwerpen back and forth, but from today we were set to do quite a few shows. Having the luxury to actually live in Antwerp, we slept in and we headed over to the venue around noon only to find a rather small queue – so no major issue! Cyril and Mathieu, a guy I got to meet in Frankfurt, later joined us and our shenangians throughout the day. Befriending random people in the queue and then we were in… and seriously… this venue.

While queueing, we had gotten the impression we’d just need to run straight ahead to get to the stage. Nopety nope. We had to run around the venue, and upon entering the hall itself you had to run down, or not run, but walk, down tilted floor in a dark room. I wondered for a moment, if I had tried running it would have been a case of “They see me rollin and they hatin”. But no issue. Ivan is fast as hell and went in to claim spots for all of us in the front.

After securing our spot I headed out to the merch to pick up on the special city shirt for Ivan and then some water. I had some plans for today, some I had planned for months and months, and it was just about to become a reality. And it’d require water.

And then, Amaranthe started.

Amaranthe

The intro to “Helix” echoed out once again, and the band opened with “Maximise”. Heading straight into “Digital World” I had the feeling that the energy might just be a little bit better tonight. “Hunger” followed suit before “Amaranthine”, and at this point we’ve learned the drill enough to have Nils even pointing us out saying “Take out your mobilephones just like the people over here”. Haha! Why not?

“GG6” comes next, and a stunning performance as always and then “Helix”. I sincerely hope they never drop this song. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it 100 times again – I hope they never drop this.

Clapping time again with “That Song”. Something I forgot to mention before, is the addition of a part from “We will Rock you” later on in the song. I love the homage! It’s hard to not think about Queen when doing the routine, and paying some open tribute like this is amazing!

“Call Out My Name”, always a thrill and then wrapping up with “The Nexus” and “Drop Dead Cynical”. I have never been a major fan of “Drop Dead Cynical”, but the way it transforms live has made it quite a favorite. I hope Amaranthe one day releases a live album, just so we can have THAT version to listen to.

After this, I headed out to go to the bathroom and pick up some candies and took the time to catch up with an old friend of mine, Antoine. Been years since I last saw and talked to him, it was nice!

Apocalyptica

And then the three gentlemen with the Cellos and their drummer walked on stage starting rather doomy and with a tint of agression with “Ashes of the Modern World”. They swiftly moved into “Path” and then “En Route to Mayhem”.

After this beginning of the show they invited Elize back on stage with them to perform the Rammstein cover “Seeman” and “I Don’t Care” before going back to be instrumental in “Grace”.

They kicked off one of their all famous Metallica covers “Seek & Destroy” before playing some “real Black Metal from Norway” in “Hall of the Mountain King” with various little pranks during the song, adding a few nippets here and there.

They wrapped up their show with “Nothing Else Matters” and I swear, the entire venue (except myself) was singing with this. Or at leat it felt like it.

The band paid their thanks and then left the stage.

The soundtrack version once again started to play as the crew covered the stage in preparations. With a bit of time, the lights went out once again and “In Flanders Fields”, followed by the intro started.

Sabaton

The cover got down, explosions galore and “Ghost Division” opened the set. Quickly they moved on to “Great War” and once again pretty much setting fire to us poor creatures in the crowd. And then the history edition started… and I got ready. Bottoms up with the little soy bottle that actually didn’t contain soy, but fake blood, and on with the facecover.

“Attack of the Dead Men” started and I was ready. I have been planning this since the album came out in July, and I’ve gone over it many times in my head how it should be executed. My initial trial was supposed to be on Sabaton Cruise, but due to money I had to push it forward. And now, three shows in the tour and in Antwerpen is finally time for me to carve myself into history as “The Dead Girl”. As the chorus approached, I spat out the blood from my mouth, getting it in the facemask, bringing life to the illustrations of the song.

And needless to say, it was a success. I wasn’t sure how it’d turn out since I didn’t do a trial run whatsoever, but the security guard loved it, and the people around it said it looked great. Lets call it a success, shall we?

Oh, the song was executed great by the band too.

For the start of “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” I sat down to clean up the mess as good as I could and clean out my mouth, resulting in the now infamous images of blood stained pants. The song was all the rage once I was back in business and then they continued on with “Diary of an Unknown Soldier” and “The Lost Battalion”.

“The Red Baron” and his airplane followed and then “The Last Stand”. Joakim went to collect his own guitar, and we all who has seen Sabaton live a few times are well aware on what this means – “Resist And Bite”, which wasn’t exactly a surprise – we are in Belgium after all – Glad to see they still keep up with country assiged songs. Shows and setlist previously has been surprisingly thin with that.

On a sadder note, this meant we did not get “82nd All The Way” which is a bummer, but you can’t have it all right? “Night Witches” followed, and then it was time for the cello boys to come back.

The Apocalyptica part went on smoothly with “Angels Calling”, “Fields of Verdun”, Swedish Empire part and then it was thanks and good night.

The storming of Normandie once again aired, “Primo Victoria” started and I… jumped through the whole song again. I know I said I was not gonna do it. Whatsoever again. But here I was, doing it again. It’s like an addiction, it’s an adrenaline rush for sure.

“Bismarck” was next, and we kept on with out rowing tradition that we initiated in Zürich already and then the show was wrapped up with “Swedish Pagans” and “To Hell and Back”. The propaganda flyer frenzy continued, and I have started to collect my own little tribe on people helping with this. How amazing?

After the show we caught up with some friends before heading home earlier than we would have liked, but once the metro stops going it just stops going, you know?

Thank you Sabaton for yet an unforgettable show, and let the tourmadness begin.

// Sara

 

 

Sabaton @ Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany 31/1 – 20

Posted in Concerts, Music, The Great Tour 2020, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 23, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

[These blogs has been long in the making. And with everything coming to a complete halt at the moment, I’m taking the time to revive it all. Perhaps it’ll even help you all cope? Who knows. Only issue, this particular show I have no photos from as far as I know. And I apologize beforehand for the extreme lack of photos.]

So, it was time for yet another show of this amazing band, or perhaps more this amazing tour. For this day, I gently hopped on the bus in my other homecity of Antwerp to head over to Frankfurt. And the thing is… I have this kind of hate-love relationship with FlixBus. It’s like 50/50. Sometimes its fine, sometimes it’s not. And so far in this tour, I had been in no rush and everything worked smoothly.

But of course, since I was in a rush today – scheduled to arrive approx two hours before door opening, the bus was delayed. Because why not right? So, half an hour delay, I meet up with Daniel at the busstation and then pass by my hotel to check in where I ran into MORE issues because, lets face it, I have a shitty handwriting. But, at the end all was cool.

We headed over to a sushirestaurant for some dinner and light catch up before continuing on to the venue. Seeing that Amaranthe, as mentioned before, is the opening band and it’s a favorite band of both of us we had to make it in time. Which we did!

Amaranthe

Exactly on time they started, “Helix” intro rolling first shortly into “Maximize” intro and the show was a fact. For tonight, we had decided to stay back a bit so we didn’t exactly have the perfect view,or may that be exactly what we did have?

“Digital World” was next song on the list, with an evergreat energy in the crowd as well as on stage! “Hunger” followed suit and then “Amaranthine” before it was time for Henrik to have his little moment in “GG6”. This song has grown so incredibly much on me after seeing more and more live.

My own personal favorite in “Helix” – this song will never ever stop being the BOMB. Seriously. It’s massive. Anyway, this song was next, perfect executiom, what else, and then Nils comes out to ask for some audience participation and it’s time for “That Song”.

The show is later wrapped up with “Call Out My Name”, “The Nexus” and lastly “Drop Dead Cynical”.

After the show, I headed out for the bathroom and then had quite an interesting time to find my way back to Daniel, but gladly so I did!

As far as Apocalyptica goes, we only stayed for the songs where Elize sang before going outside to grab some merch as well as taking a little walk for my restless legs. Was handy as hell!

Making our way back into the venue we are at the complete end of the venue, and to be honest I don’t mind in the slightest. Sometimes, the most fun you can have is at the end. And I tend to say to people – if you are always at the front, it means you aren’t touring enough, or doing it the right way.

Sabaton

As the soundtrack version worked its way through the list and later landing in “In Flanders Fields” when the lights went out, the longawaited show was finally about to begin. The new intro for “Ghost Division” echoed and then the show was at large.

“Great War” is shouted out from stage as the pyro set the arena on fire… not literally, but almost.

A gasmask appears on the screen behind them, and the band comes out clad in gasmasks through the green smoke that has been sent out on stage and Joakim comes out in his complete costume ready to gas some Germans… Oh wait.

After we’re done with THAT part, we head over to “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” which is ever such a delight, and then “Diary of an Unknown Soldier” and then it was time yet again for “The Lost Battalion”

The little airplane was yet again rolled out on stage with Joakim singing the beautiful little IKEA song for us before letting the actual Red Baron on stage to excute “The Red Baron” for us.

“The Last Stand” followed suit together with “82nd All The Way”. If those two songs aren’t all the rage, I don’t know which songs are. The intro with the redlights and sirens started off, alerting us of the “Night Witches”.

Apocalyptica came on stage and they started off their part with “Angels Calling”. I have probably said it before, and I will say it again – the song has gotten quite a facelift with these fellas. “Fields of Verdun” was next on the list before moving onto “The Price of a Mile”.

“Dominium Maris Baltici” was executed next with the cello guys and the two songs – “Lion from the North” as well as “Carolus Rex” from the Swedish Empire era was ripped off before it was time for the band to say thanks and good night.

After a little whiles wait the storming of Normandie showed up on the screens, and “Primo Victoria” was fired off. And for the first time in my life – I have practiced my whole life for this – I jumped through the entire song. 40 shows later, I finally achieved what I’ve been training my whole.. well life as a Sabaton fan for. And I did it.

And I will never do it again.

The water started flowing on the screen and we embarked the “Bismarck” once again for the battle. “Swedish Pagans” followed suit and then the show was wrapped up with “To Hell and Back”.

Amazing show. Nothing but an amazing show. After the show, I darted toward the crowd to start collecting propaganda flyers. People even helped me, complete strangers. Daniel managed to meet up with Cyril who had apparently forgotten I was gonna be there and exclaimed excitedly “YOU ARE HERE!!!”.

As I crawled around collecting flyers around the soundguys booth, I hear someone faintly say “Hey”. As I look up, I see one of the guys working handing me a setlist. I thank him the best I can, but in hindsight I can’t decide – did he give it to me because he decided I was a dedicated fan, or did he just think I was pathetic? No matter the reason – I am so thankful.

After all was said and done, we said our good byes and retreated home. I had quite an early bus tomorrow.. And trust me, I was not excited for that.

// Sara

Sabaton @ Papp László Sportaréna, Budapest, Hungary 22/1 – 20

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on January 30, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, on it again we were! Time for another show on this amazing tour. But this time around, I had landed in Budapest at my dear friend Szilvi’s place. For the occasion, Marci had gotten us early entrance tickets (at least me and her) so, about an hour before the doors opened with decided to go wait in line. We might have early entrance, doesn’t mean we’ll be first in unless we wait in line.

A few people were in front of us, and quite a few decided to queue jump – next time I’ll kill you just so you know – but at the end of the day, we all made it. We secured the same kind of spots infront of Tommy as I had in Zürich, so at the end of the day -all was well.

Cyril got to join us a little later and we convinced him to try to join us, because you never know once the crowd starts moving right?

And then, the lights went out and it was time for Amaranthe to start.

Amaranthe

The “Helix” intro rolled out in the crowd and the band started off with “Maximize”. Elize as regal as always entering in her large cape taking the space on top of the stage like the actual queen she is.

“Digital World” followed suit, and it was just as epic as the show before. Not much to complain about when it comes to this band, they are pro’s. “Hunger” followed suit before it was time to dial it down a bit with “Amaranthine” again. Yet again an amazing performance from Nils and Elize, true royals!

“GG6” and Henriks own little moment followed up later, and then my personal favorite once again in “Helix”. And after this, however, it was time for a little change.

Instead of doing “Endlessly”, as they did in Zürich, it was now time for “That Song” instead. Which.. was a downpoint for me. I reallt don’t like this song. But oh well, what can you do right?

“Call out my Name” was next on the list before the show was wrapped up elegantly with “The Nexus” and the party song “Drop Dead Cynical”.

Another amazing show by the band, well enjoyable and amazing. So happy to have seen them again, even though I can sometimes.. Lose it for them, it is always instantly made up once you get to a show.

After a little bit of wait, it was time for Apocalyptica. And speaking of that. The girls standing next to us actually left, giving Cyril a front row spot. Like I said, you never know right?

Apocalyptica

Again the men got on stage and started off their set. It was yet again a pleasureable set, even though I find myself hard to enjoy it to the fullest, except when Elize joins them on stage and turns everything into pure perfection. But with that said, thank you again Apocalyptica!

The mood went down once again and got a bit epic with the symphonic sountrack echoing again, and it really does set the mood, doesn’t it? And with that, “In Flanders Fields” echoed everywhere, and the show was on..

Sabaton

The intro for “Ghost Division” started and another bombastic start to a grand show was on. “Great War” followed suit as per usual, and then it was time for “Attack of the Dead Men”.

And.. It’s possible I didn’t pay attention enough in Zürich, but for this time around, ALL of the bandmembers came out on stage in gasmasks. They threw them off by the second verse, but holy hell! That was pretty wild.

“Seven Pillars of Widsom” followed suit and then “Diary of the Unknown Soldier” announced the appearance of “The Lost Battalion”. The energy in the venue was pretty good actually, a bit better than in Zürich. Maybe because I stood right next to a knucklehead who was dedicated and into it, but for some reason always held out a flag right infront of me and my friends eyesights. Sigh.

“The Red Baron” came up next and I STILL THINK THAT JOAKIM DESTROYS THIS BY TALKING. Just let Richthoven enter and let him just start the intro without so much talking. If you wanna talk about the organ, do it AFTER. Please? But still, this part is amazingly lit and it’s probably my favorite part of the shows.

The bells for “The Last Stand” appeared on the screen and another amazing execution of that was made, followed by “82nd All The Way”.

The stage went dark, and sirens and red lights appeared as “Nightwitches” was about to be played, with another amazing execution, can’t really complain here. But I will come to later…

Apocalyptica joined forces on stage, and it was time for “That part” of the show, starting off with “Angels Calling”. While, like I think I mentioned before, it has never been a major favorite for me, I’m still SO HAPPY that these older, REAL OLDER, songs are making their way back into the setlist.

They kept the boys on stage, and “Fields of Verdun” followed suit, then “Price of a Mile”.

As the Apocalyptica boys were doing “Dominium Maris Baltici”, the whole band left the stage and much to my surprise, they all came back clad in a caroleans officer jacket, and this time much more detailed than the one Jocke’s had before, and “The Lion From The North” was next.

And then, it was time for “Carolus Rex”. Normally, as a swede, this part of the show is my jam right. There might be moments where I’m like.. This part is the best or that is the best, BUT, this is my jam. And I’m unforgiving.

So when Joakim starts “Carolus Rex” by singing “Proved in battle…” I was just like… EXCUSE ME.

WHAT. ARE. YOU. FUCKING. SINGING?

And I remain unimpressed for a real long time, even though gladly he got on the right track. I’m really so unforgiving, aren’t I?

The band left the stage after this (SERVES THEM RIGHT) and the intro video for “Primo Victoria” showed its face, and the band came back to whipout the last few songs – “Bismarck”, “Swedish Pagans” and lastly “To Hell And Back”. WITH PROPAGANDA FLYERS. I was unreasonably happy when these were sent out. It’s not even okay. But I just love them okay?

After the show, we stayed by the barrier just a little longer time, and gladly we did! I got handed a setlist by one of the crewguys thanks to it. Thank you! Love you!

After the show, we hung around, caught up with some other friends and then we headed home.. for like… three hours of sleep.

Thank you everyone involved in this, Szilvi, Marci, Cyril – you are the best.

// Sara

Brothers of Metal @ Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland 18/1-20

Posted in Concerts, Music, The Great Tour 2020, Uncategorized with tags , on January 28, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, off from Zürich I went around 12, having Monika accompanying me halfway. I was starting to get sick due to the long queueing that went on yesterday in the cold rain, but what am I if not a warrior and keep going despite whatever illness I have. OK, if I had a superbad illness that would be incredibly contagious, then perhaps but a common cold? Never.

Arrived alive and well in Pratteln, I head over to my hotel and then out and about to catch something to eat. I heard it can be good to eat. Got back to the hotel, got ready for the show and walked down to the venue. I’ve been here before, so it’s relatively easy for me to just find my way around.

I arrived around half an hour before Elvenking hit the stage. From what I understood, this is a co-headline tour and they take turns being the “headline” band, so for this evening, of course, Elvenking was first. I had kind of hoped – and no offence to them – that Brothers of Metal would be first in case the sickness got worse. But oh well, I survived worse stuff.

Elvenking

So, right on scheduled time they started, and came out with a raging energy. I’ll admit that I don’t know much about this band prior and never found the time to properly check them out, so I regret to inform that I can’t do a proper rundown of them, BUT, I did, however really enjoy them!

They put on a good and energetic show, although you could relatively early tell this was a primarily Brothers of Metal kind of audience. Thank you, Elvenking!

And then the wait began, and soon enough, the intro started to roll…

Brothers of Metal

They all came on stage, and announced “The Death of the God of Light” and they all rushed on stage and opened up this show in the most energetic way possible.

Straight up after this intro, the thunder and flutes came out of the speakers, witnessing that “Njord” was about to be next on the list, so from one death straight into an adventure we went. Very well recieved, and a perfect execution from the band themselves. The audience was, as already stated, clearly a Brothers of Metal oriented one, and then “Prophecy of Ragnarök” came on. This song is all the rage, isn’t it?

And I say it again – if one can windmill through the entire song of that, one truly is a metal warrior, am I right or what.

“Tyr” was next on the list, letting us pay tribute to one of our Gods, before paying tribute to ALL of them in “Gods of War”. And this song too, is all the rage. This band is all the rage, I’d say. “Brothers Unite” from the new album followed tune, and I just love how they switch to Swedish in the midst of it.

And again, the flawless and energetic execution always gets me. These are some well talented and skilled musician, nailing everything from start to finish without even backing down on the energy they radiate, which reflects back onto them from the crowd. Without energy on stage, it’s hard to get it from the crowd as well, you know?

Everyone on stage sat down except from the speaker, who started to go over the tales of “Concerning Norns” before they played probably their most popular song “Yggdrasil”. And this song still gets to me, every time. It really is, the best metal song ever written. At least that’s my current feeling anyway.

“Chain Breaker”, the little odd one on their recent album “Emblas Saga” came next. It surprised me a bit, but I don’t even complain. They asked prior if we knew how wolves sounded, and it took some time for the audience to get it, but they became quite the wolfpack!

Party time is up as “The Mead Song” was next on the list, and sitting down and jumping up NEVER gets old. Ever. Party through and through. The primary speaker on stage made some jokes about it being only one song left, when in reality, he meant the song “One”. And you know..

There are many songs were Ylva shines, and she always does. But she shines just a little extra in this song, and if she isn’t just the greatest, I don’t know who is.

Party time again as “Defenders of Valhalla” came next on the list, and the whole room was in one giant party. Sadly, all of it was about to come to an end with “Siblings of Metal” and “Fire, Blood and Steel”.

And this show was nothing but PURE amazingness. Seriously. This was perfection beyond anything else, and I’m so happy that I fit all of this into my tourschedule. So far, this might actually be the highlight of the tour. And it can be hard to beat that.

After the show, I headed back to the hotel and pretty much just crashed.

Tomorrow, back to Zürich and onward to other endavours.

// Sara