Archive for sabaton

Sabaton – The Great War

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on September 6, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

So here it is people. The long awaited, tenth studioalbum from Sabaton. I do realize my review is way overdue, but better late than never right?

So, on November 11th, exactly 100 years after World War I broke out, they started the songwriting process and no less, the subject of the album is selfexplanatory – World War I. The Great War, a war so grime that it was said to end all wars. Previously in the library, Sabaton hasn’t touched this subject all too much, making it very interesting, to say the least.

So lets move on to the album?

The album opens up with a lowkey kind of intro, with distant bombs and other mechanical songs before exploding in an epic chant which sets off the album with a melody line and arrangements which brings the thoughts back to “Stalingrad” off “Primo Victoria”, dealing with the subject of the future of warfare. And with that, you can say the mood for the album had been set. If it had only stayed that way.

Already in the next song the mood is picked up with “Seven Pillars of Widsom” which carries a lot of resemblance to “White Death” off “Coat of Arms”. The song is a nice addition though, and if we weren’t getting the mood up here, it sure will bring us up in the next song, as we continue on these anthem-like songs in “82nd All The Way” which, just like the previous one, carries a resemblance, but this one to “Shiroyama” off the last album. However, I really like this one.  An incredible anthem to pay tribute to Sgt. Alvin York and what he achieved during the war.

In the next moment, we are taking a step or three down from the anthem’s, and are instead greeted with an unsettling intro of gas before being launched into a marching rhythm with accessories setting a certain mood to it. As the verse starts, I’m delighted to hear that this is actually something relatively new for being Sabaton. And I really like what I hear.

However, this break didn’t stay long until the album headed for another anthem, that is walking in some more traces of times passed. “Devil Dogs”, about the US Marines gives us an extremely powerful and cheerful anthem, bringing the thoughts slightly back to “Smoking Snakes”, but still enjoyable.

And then.. it arrives. The eerie, circus and carnival-like intro which its funny melody, giving you a funny feeling inside before setting off in a hysteric song that chugs on and on, still with the eerie organ in the background – making this song one of the top of the album. While still nodding back, still something new – like “Blood of Bannockburn” was on the preeceeder. While it may not be the most technical or difficult, this is also the guitarsolo I enjoy the most. This song as a whole – is just so god damn great.

Speaking of great, the great anthem of this album is just around the corner. The Titletrack is, not to my surprise, is a large and epic anthem, just like on many of the albums before this – and this has very quickly made its way to my personal favorite. With the quiet first verse, epic and bombastic choruses, the aggressive second verse and almost hopeful bridge, this song is the shit. And the lyrics, talking about the lyrics. This is some of the best lyrics I’ve seen from the band. While the lyrics of “Red Baron” has its charms and twists, it doesn’t come near this soldier perspective song dealing with the duality of feelings about the conflict as a whole. Yes. YES.

Two filler songs come after this – and I do want to give “A Ghost In the Trenches” A little heads up for that ending – that was real good.

Upon my first hearing of this album I hadn’t done a song count, so when this low, slow musical intro started, I assumed in my head that this was “In Flanders Fields”, and I started to slowly drift of to the serene tunes… as the song then went completely bonkers. “The End of the War to End All Wars”, starts off nicely and then launches into attack mode. I guess a bit like war. The song itself talks about the war that was supposed to be the end of all wars, and this song is an emotional rollercoaster. The verses are uneasy and hysteric, and the choruses are beautiful, epic and heartbreaking.

“In Flanders Fields” is the perfect ending to this album, mesmerizing arrangement and I’ve found myself putting this on repeat. Is there some hypnosis in this? Who knows.

So.. That’s a walkthrough. What are my feelings about the album then?

In general I think this is a pretty good album. While it may contain a little too many nod-backs that I can’t completely ignore, the gems of the album – “Red Baron” for instance – makes completely up for it. Overall, it’s a slick production that holds water, no matter what.

Favorite song: “The Great War”, followed tight by “Red Baron”. But please ask me again in six months.
Least Favorite: “Fields of Verdun”
Dance-friendliness:  4/11
Headbang-friendliness:  8/ 11
Crowd-friendliness: 7/11

// Sara

Unboxing – Sabaton: The Great Box

Posted in CDs, Uncategorized with tags , , on September 4, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

At last it arrived! Pre ordered some time in March or April, and delayed for a month and a half for whatever excuse they gave, it’s here at last. I am a bit unhappy with the delay – when the Tank from the Tank Edition was late, Nuclear Blast DID in fact ship out the rest of the content before it was done, and I feel they could have done that here as well. I do not understand nor know the obessession they have with always keeping everything until the last missing item is there, causing a huge dissatisfaction amongst their clients. We can only know, huh? They say production was late, but why didn’t they start already before they put it up for sale?

So on to the box. The box is a lot smaller than the prototype insisted originally – Originally it looked more like the History Version CD, and although we know that wasn’t the final box on the image, it still.. Is a little weird, don’t you think? That it differs that much. The box on the image was a full big box, and we got a pizza box size item.

I will however gice them cred for the details. I liked the fact that the recipients country is stamped on the box, as well as the metal hooks holding it together.

And when you open it, it looks like this

So, lets move onto the contents?

All in all, this is the content of the box, and my box more specifically. Three vinyls – regular vinyl, History Edition with a lot of blabber between every song and an instrumental “soundtrack” edition.

Earbook containing the same things as mentioned above, but on CD. With large artwork!

Five different photographs of the members of the band, not signed, but they look cool.

The poem “In Flanders Fields” together with a poppy+ Sabaton Logo pin. The Poppies are a memorial symbol for the people who lost their lives in the World War I.

And last but not least, one of the propaganda posters. Sabaton has since this tour started to spit out propaganda flyers about every song on their shows – and here we randomly get a poster depicting one of the flyers. My poster represent the song “The End of the War to End All Wars”

I must admit – something that makes me really unhappy with these posters is the need to slap the Sabaton + The Great War logo onto them. I have looked up what the others look like, and they all would really look so much better without the logo slapped everywhere, and just the quote.

So.. What can I say. I’m all in all pretty happy. At the end of the day, I knew, all of us, knew what we were getting. I guess I personally perhaps wish we could have gotten all the posters. Because why not?

As a bonus, I’ll throw in the propaganda flyers – so you can see what they all look like. Although, I suspect this is a misprint since the poppy has the quote from The Great War, and the Great War has the Flanders Fields quote.

These however, you collect during the gigs!

So, that was my few coins about that. In a few days, my review of the album shall be up as well.

// Sara

 

U-Rock @ Umeå, 20/7 -19 Part 2

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags , on July 20, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, with Raubtier being done, we now had a bit longer wait for our next band of the day – Sabaton. Yes. We pretty much drove this entire way simply to see Raubiter and Sabaton. Fucking come at me bro! We drove a 1000 miles for them, and we’d drive that again to be with them. Themesong of this trip really IS “1000 Miles” by H.E.A.T.

Anyway, enough with the jibberjabbish.

Next band to enter the stage was Nocturnal Rites. Interestingly enough, Raubtier was only meant to play for an hour, but wound up playing 75 minutes. I guess Nocturnal Rites gave up some of their setup time, or something, because they were still on time on stage.

Nocturnal Rites

So, this is another band that I may or may not have seen live before – after about 12 years of touring it’s hard to keep track on every single band you see at a festival or show. But, they delivered a very good set, very enjoyable, and the crowd had a good vibe to it – not an idiotic vibe, gladly. I really enjoyed their set!

So, after them, the wait for the last band before B-Band started and it was time for U.D.O

U.D.O

I always mix up if it’s U.D.O or Dirkschneider that is the Accept tour, but I worked out pretty quickly that this was not the Accept one. I’ve had the oppurtunity to review some of U.D.O’s albums in the past, but besides that, it’s not something I’ve been listening a lot to.

The band did do very good though – they delievered more than okay, and put a smile on my face.

There was one thing though that I noticed.

And it took me some time.

I was looking at one of the guitarists, seeing his guutar clad in the Swedish shield. Three crowns and a lion. And I didn’t get it. Why would a german guitarist have a Swedish shield guitar? But then again, why not? What do I know about this band, maybe they have it for all countries.

And I kept staring for a few good songs before it hit me. And perhaps it didn’t even hit me until I saw the other stringbenders with instruments clad in city camo paint. Then it hit me.

This was not their guitars. This was Sabaton’s guitars. And in case I hadn’t worked it, Udo himself would mention it a little bit later. I really am stupid, aren’t I?

But with that said, after a really good show they wrapped it up and it was time for us to wait for the main act.

And seriously. As the crew started assembling Sabaton’s stage, which is somewhat similar to trying to assemble a piece of IKEA furniture, for some reason, the people in the crowd would do nothing but scream for Sabaton. And not just scream their name, but be like “Why aren’t you starting already??” Well probably because the stage is still basically a manual and some screws? What do I know?

And this kept on. And remembering how I in my last entry about this, wrote about how things was just about to get worse? Well this was the part. Firstly, a lady comes from behind and start acting very elitist, worse than me. Proclaiming she’s been here for hours (haven’t seen her before?) and upon us telling her how far we drove and how long WE’VE been staying she calms down and instead starts talking about how she’s at least see them before. Honey, this was my 32nd Sabaton show, but please tell me more?

Second problem was a lady from the side. Her boyfriend or something had stayed next to me during U.D.O and he was fine. But her? She started talking about how she was going to push us away during Sabaton so he could stand next to her instead of behind her. Fuck that. And I figured, to myself, that it’d be the other way around. She’d be the one who is gone. It usually happens like that.

The endless screaming went on and on for a good half an hour to 45 minutes… Until the intro started rolling. At this point, no one cared. No one noticed. Except me. I remember even saying to people like “Look, it’s fucking starting now why aren’t you screaming?” Funny people, really.

Sabaton

So, the eerie new intro… haha. No. It’s not eerie, who am I kidding? The new intro is a bit silent, much like “Dominum Maris Baltici”, but eventually it picks up it’s pace. It’s a similar intro as to “Nightwitches”, just that now it’s “Ghost Division”. So there goes my long wishes about getting rid of “Ghost Division” as an opener. Oh well. Maybe another tour.

So, as you probably understood, “Ghost Division” was indeed the opener, and again, to practice some kind of dominance I might have burned out my neck at this point – and as the “Winged Hussars” arrived, all the annoying people were gone.

For the third song, Jocke wiped out a guitar and it was time for “Resist and Bite” because apparently that song is now a steady one, as opposed to a Belgian regional. Or perhaps its just for now. Somewhere here, supposedly accidently, the propaganda flyers were sent out. Well, why not?

After this, it was time for Sweden premiere of “Fields of Verdun”. Still, this really isn’t one of my favorite song, but still – I enjoyed it. “The Price of a Mile” was next on the list, and much to my dismay and almost disappointment, the choir is not joining the ranks.

And while speaking of that, a lot of other things were lacking as well. The trenches weren’t there, just the pyro thing. The grand The Great War sign was missing as well – felt like this was just a between show. And to make things worse, the screen didn’t work properly either. And you guys knows what that means, right? If you don’t, I’ll get back to that later.

And after this… it was time for a live premiere. As suspected, we beforehand suspected “Great War” and “Red Baron” would be premiered today, and it was time for “Great War.” Jocke spoke of being nervous for playing this, and evidently he should have been as he completely blanked out the lyrics.

Well, lucky Sabaton that they had us, Toivo, me, Elli and her friend. We all raised our voices and sang instead of him until he got back on track. But, it was magical nontheless! This is slowly becoming my favorite of the album.

Right after this, they fired off “Shiroyama” before embarking on “Bismarck” which was as epic as always. But due to crowd, we couldn’t start off our planned rowpit.

It got silent, and the lowkey intro for “Lion From The North” started coming out of the speakers, and the band got back on stage running out and firing off the song, launching them straight into “Carolus Rex” and later on “En Livstid i Krig”.

And there are two things I want to talk about here. Firstly, the incredibly epic singalong. It was LOUD. LOUD. And the second thing, remember how I talked about that the screen behind them not working?

This also means there was no baby bears. The baby bears is the only reason I enjoy this song live, and the only reason I accept this song live, is because of the baby bears. And if there is no baby bears, is there even a song? Is there even a point? I could almost cry. Baby bears are life.

The band left the stage and then the red blinking lights and sirens started going off alerting us that the “Nightwitches” where near, and such was the next song. “The Lost Battalion” was fired off before it was time for the next livepremiere, which was just as suspected, “Red Baron”.

They performed the song without an intro, much to my.. dislike. I guess I had an idea in my head on how you could have done this intro, but maybe for the tour? I improvied my swingdancing as well – wasn’t meant to but as Toivo asked how I thought about it we figured we would. And everyone probably hated us.

My personal favorite “The Last Stand” came next, thank god, before wrapping the set up as usual – “Primo Victoria”, “Swedish Pagans” and lastly with “To Hell and Back”

With that said, the band left the stage and we were left there. High on life, not sure what we had just witnessed. It was a very predictable set but nonetheless, they performed it very well. Thank you so much, Sabaton!

// Sara

 

New song from Sabaton – “Great War”

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags , , on June 29, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

June 28th. Already at Metalfest I was seeing posters plastered all over the place about June 28th, and figured out Sabaton was giving out a new single. This single, “Great War” simply captures everything that was World War I. Not a specific event, just the greatness (eh) of it.

So about the song then, shall we?

This song starts off in an epic way with big drums and echoing choirs. It has the kind of opening that draws the thoughts to the Raubtier song “Sveriges Elit”, the anthem kind of hook that serves as a simple adrenaline shot to your heat. When reaching the verse, it mellows down to simply Jocke’s voice and keyboards.

The deeper tones of the voice and sturdiness in his singing combined with the lingering keyboards create an epic atmosphere, almost putting you out in the battlefield. The pre-chorus builds up, similarly to the preceeder “The Last Stand” before it culminates in the epicness anthem hymn kind of chorus that explodes inside you. The song continues on similarly, only with a more aggressive tone and some added guitars for the second verse, until it emerges into a shredding solo to again end up with the epicness of “The Last Stand”.

This song gives me chills. When I heard it the first time, and when I heard it for the tenth time, I still get the chills. I think you my true readers at this point have learned I love anthem-like songs, so it shouldn’t surprise you.

But something I wanna talk about. The lyrics.

I have reprimanded Sabaton for making generic lyrics for “Fields of Verdun”… but all of that is made up here. The story being told in the verse, from the point of view of a soldier, sharing of the brutality, grimness of the war, the honest spoken words about how there are no victors nor losers in war – we all are the losers. This is the lyrics I would have expected from “Fields of Verdun”, so Sabaton – all is forgiven. This, combined with the grime feeling Jocke puts into the voice when he sings.. makes it perfection. Wow.What a song. NOW, Now I’m most certainly feeling the excitement for the album.

Thank you.

// Sara

“The Red Baron” – New from Sabaton

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags , on June 15, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

And so the time has come! Another new single release from Sabaton, from their upcoming album “The Great War”. And this time, it was time for “The Red Baron” to come to show.

The song is about Manfred von Richthofen, a German pilot during World War I. He was known as one of the greatest fighter pilots of the war, credited to 80 victories and was well respected in Germany and by his enemies.

So, how about we start looking into the actual song yes?

The song itself starts off with eerie, circuslike organ, only to launch into a rather quick, and to a certain degree, swinglike kind of verse, and it keep it like this throughout the song. The organ remains in the background throughout the song as well. I can imagine the circuslike sounds to it is a kick-back to the nickname “The Flying Circus”.

While the song brings the thought back to “Night Witches” at some point, I’d love to argue that it has got a happier feeling to it, despite the eerie background organ – and it works faster without barely any fills, just all at once.

I actually.. At first listen I’ll admit I didn’t like it at first. But after giving it a few more tries, it grew very quickly on me. Now, I’m more excited than ever. And I can’t help but to get stage setting ideas, just as I did with “Bismarck”.

But yes I’ll say it – this is a dance song. This song it was will ensure Sabaton earns points on “Dance Friendliness”, and I myself, shall pick up a bit on swing dancing because of this.

// Sara

Listening session with Sabaton

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags , on June 11, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

So people! Another long wait for something to read, but here it is at last.

Some time ago I was invited to a “secret location” to participate in a listening session, Q&A and a meet and greet with Sabaton. For their own reason, I won’t reveal the location, but anyway.

This was kind of a last minute spontaneous kind of thing, so I just booked the bus kind of on the spot, which was no major issue… I thought.

Since I booked the bus at such short notice, I was assigned a seat. And of course, the seat assigned just HAD to be the one with a non functioning poweroutlet. And my computer, the computer I currently bring with me on tour, has a battery time of 50 minutes. Great. Just great.

On top of that, I got a bit rushed in the morning, and because of that, forgot my waterbottle. No biggie, right?

Except that I get horribly motion ill, and to top it off, I had cramps from hell. AND, becuase we aren’t even done yet, we got one of those bus drivers who drives extremly recklessly.

So here I was, in pain, being ill as hell, unable to work.. And the bus gets about 40 minutes delayed. Because why the hell not right? Gladly, I had plenty of time before the session, so it did not ruin my time plan, it was just a little bit of torture.

Once in Stockholm, I headed off to an Espresso House as per usual to have a quick lunch / dinner kind of thing and make myself ready for the evening.  I stowed away my stuff in a locker at the central station and headed off to the “secret location”. It wasn’t too hard to find, much to my pleasure although I’ve never been there before.

The first thing that happened was pretty much standing around waiting. And waiting. And after waiting some more, we were finally let in the salon for the listening session. It was a beautiful kind of old school cinema, and I loved the setting. The host spoke a bit before playing us the first five songs of the album.

So, I guess the most important part of this is this: What were my first impressions and opinions?

So, the first song, “The Future of Warfare” is a pretty lowkey but yet hitting opening song. I felt, or feel, that it might set the mood completely for the album – darker, harder, yet not leaving the Sabaton influences. It brought my thoughts back to “Primo Victoria” and “Metalizer” soundfigure, with a touch of “Coat of Arms”, if that makes any sense to anyone.

Second song of the evening, “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” made me throw my hands up in the air out of frustration. The only thing I can say about this song is that it’s “White Death”. It’s the new “Winged Hussars”, so to speak. Lyrically it’s fine, but at this point I’m still too frustrated at that to give a more proper view or insight.

As far as “82nd All The Way” goes, I can’t remember I thought anything special about it, it sort of blanded out amongst the songs, however, a song that REALLY stuck to me was the next one – “The Attack of the Dead Men”.

I had this song stuck in my brain for the rest of the weekend. And as soon as I think of the title, it starts playing in my head again. This one I really liked, a lot. And it made me excited, as it felt relatively new for being Sabaton.

Last song that got played, was “Devil Dogs” which wasn’t a bad song at all, but it brought the thoughts too much back to “Smoking Snakes” (not like ‘Seven Pillars’ though), but all in all – good.

So, I guess you can say I liked what I heard, and it did get me more excited than ever for the new album. And now, it ain’t long left. Just a month, ish.

After listening to the song, the band came into the room and we had a press-conference kind of Q&A, where we got to ask questions to the band and they’d answer. It was a pretty cozy thing to be honest, it felt very down to earth and relaxed. At least in my point of view.

Once the Q&A was done, we all lined up for the photo to be taken, and once that was over – heading home.

Thank you Warner Music and Sabaton for this evening, it was quite the pleasure. It was a spurr of the moment kind of thing for me, but I was not disappointed in doing it! Thank you!

// Sara

 

New Sabaton: “Fields of Verdun”

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags , , on May 3, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

So the day is here. “Fields of Verdun” is finally officially released. This day couldn’t really come any sooner if you ask me, but finally atlast it’s here!

As I spoke of before, “Fields of Verdun” simply covers the battle of Verdun, the longest and probably one of the grimest battles throughout the first world war.

So here’s the video as well as the song. Where do I even begin? With the song perhaps.

The good news primarily, is the fact that at the first listen and listens, I can’t really seem to find it being similar to any other song I heard before. I might change this statement once I’ve gotten more used to it, but that is a big plus. The little breakdown reminded, and still at some points, remind me of “Poltava” but the song all in all seem to be relatively new.

The feeling of the song brings my thoughts back to “Heroes” album at first though, which isn’t all too surprising considering that ex-guitarist Thobbe Englund helped to compose the song. I guess that on some levels, this song could have fit on “Coat of Arms” as well, but I personally get a lot of “Heroes” vibes – primarily from the fact the guitars are a lot more prominent as compared to the synths, which was the case on “The Last Stand” album.

So… what is then my humble opinion. To be perfectly honest… I’m a little… disappointed. I guess I just expected more. From what I’ve read and understood, Verdun was a very very grime and brutal battle, and having them make a very… almost rushed song, with very very generic lyrics made it all fall very, very flat for me. I wish there would have been a lot more greatness put into this – perhaps the perception is somewhat ruined due to the release of “Bismarck”, who, on the other hand, was a very epic and big song.

I don’t really see this song growing on me, sadly, which is sad because there was a lot of anticipation for this one. But hey, this could very well simply be that “one bad song” on the album, am I right?

As for the video.. I’m sadly not impressed by that one either. It feels a bit.. But you know what? If the song isn’t grand and epic, how the hell can the video be? I do however wish for a bit more action, I guess. And a bit more gore. They could’ve afforded that.

Shame innit, that the first single and song of the album is outshined both song and videowise by a song not even on the album. But oh well, as strange as it may sound, the disappointment of “Fields of Verdun” does make me want to hear the whole album NOW.

// Sara