Review and Photos by Krish Mistry
Having released their seventh studio album, Carolus Rex, and gone through a major lineup change, Sabaton are back in town and playing the Wulfrun Hall on the second date of the UK leg of their Swedish Empire tour
Opening the show is Hungarian power metal band, Wisdom. With frontman Gabor Nagy leading them on, the crowd are quickly drawn into the music and are soon singing and clapping along to band’s eponymous track. The evening takes an early turn for the heavy and the fast with ‘Gates Of Hell’ before Wisdom close their closed with the mighty ‘Judas’ from their latest album. Wisdom’s energetic power metal, abundant in dual guitar melodies and soaring vocals, provides a great opening set for an eager crowd.
Playing traditional instruments including flutes, bagpipes, a violin and a hurdy gurdy, Swiss band Eluveitie kick things off with ‘Helvetios’ from their latest album. With most songs sung in the extinct language Gaulish, the combination of harsh vocals from frontman Chrigel Glanzmann and clean singing from violinist Meri Tadic and hurdy gurdy player Anna Murphy, emphasises the folk aspect of their unique blend of folk metal. Playing more tracks from Helvetios, things slow down with Chrigel on the acoustic guitar and Anna taking the lead vocals on ‘A Rose For Epona’. When new guitarist Rafael is introduced, the crowd shows him what a true metal audience looks like by going fucking crazy as Eluveitie deliver a bunch of their heavier tracks. Though I’d have liked to have heard some older material, they played a great set.
With the set changed, the lights go down and Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’ plays over the PA before Sabaton‘s intro ‘The March To War’. The band takes to the stage with huge cheers from the crowd and they go straight into ‘Ghost Division’ from 2008’s The Art Of War followed quickly by ‘Gott Mit Uns’ from latest album Carolus Rex. Their set is laced with war-themed songs drawn from their impressive seven album catalogue and the crowd are with them all the way. Overwhelmed by the crowd response, Frontman Joakim Brodén addresses the audience at several stages throughout the show, saying how good it is to be back in the UK with good beer and good people. When he gives a member of the audience a choice of songs to play next, the noise from the crowd is so much that he can hardly hear himself and he reminds us not to argue with the guy with a microphone. Enough said. When the new members of Sabaton – Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund on guitars and Robban Bäck on drums (there’s no keyboardist here tonight) – are welcomed by the crowd, we are treated to awesome renditions of ‘The Art Of War’ and favourites ‘Primo Victoria’ and ‘Metal Crüe’ to end an incredible set.
Sabaton are a band who have been around for 13 years and tonight’s show proved that even with a major change in lineup, they are able to deliver a fantastic set. The new members prove that they are more than up to the task of putting on a great show and the crowd responses throughout the night definitely showed this was the case!
Setlist: The March to War, Ghost Division, Gott Mit Uns, Poltava, White Death, Carolus Rex, The Price of a Mile, 40:1, Cliffs of Gallipoli, Coat of Arms, Dominium Maris Baltici, The Lion From the North, The Hammer Has Fallen, Attero Dominatus
Encore: The Art of War, Primo Victoria, Metal Crüe
And you can see more shots from the show here: