Sabaton is a power metal band from Falun, Sweden formed in 1999. The band's main lyrical themes are based on war and historical battles. This is heard in the albums Primo Victoria, The Art of War, Attero Dominatus, Coat of Arms, Carolus Rex, Heroes, The Last Stand and The Great War in which all of the songs contain these motifs, except final tracks which are tribute songs to influential heavy metal bands. Lyrical content drawn fromWorld War I, World War II and other conflicts is prevalent and includes songs about battles and leaders on all sides of said conflicts.
In April 2012, guitarists Oskar Montelius and Rikard Sundén, drummer Daniel Mullback and keyboardist Daniel Mÿhr left the band to form Civil War. Vocalist Joakim Brodén and bassist Pär Sundström continued with new members. As well as extensively touring internationally, the band have a festival in their home town of Falun, Sabaton Open Air in August and an annual cruise, 'Sabaton Cruise', in November.
Early career and first albums
Sabaton was formed in 1999. After the first songs were recorded in Peter Tägtgren's studio, The Abyss, Sabaton was contacted by a couple of record labels. The band decided to sign up for Italian label Underground Symphony, under which internationally released the promo CD Fist for Fight —actually a compilation consisting of material from two demotapes recorded between 1999 and 2000— with the intention to promote forthcoming releases.
In 2002, a new album was recorded. Metalizer was supposed to be distributed by Underground Symphony as the band's debut album, but after two years of waiting, during which the band held various performances across Sweden, the album was abandoned.
The band returned for a second album titled Primo Victoria and found themselves in negotiations with several international record labels. They eventually signed with Black Lodge, the metal division of the Sound Pollution record label. In early 2005, they recruited Daniel Myhr to relieve Joakim Brodén, who played keyboards in addition to singing, of his keyboard duties.
Their third album Attero Dominatus continued the war theme of Primo Victoria with songs like "Back in Control" (which focuses on the British retaking of the Falkland Islands during the Falklands War), "Attero Dominatus" (about the Battle of Berlin which brought about the end of World War II in Europe) and "Angels Calling" (about trenchwarfare during World War I), and was released in Europe on 28 July 2006.
In March 2007, Sabaton released Metalizer as a double disc together with Fist for Fight, along with the previously unreleased song "Birds of War".
The Art of War
As a follow up to Metalizer, in May 2008, Sabaton released its fourth album The Art of War an album inspired by the influential book by Sun Tzu. The decision to base the album upon Sun Tzu's book came from the idea that in the 2000 years since the book was written, the human race has achieved many things but apart from weapon advancements, war and tactics have remained basically the same. The album contains the singles "Cliffs of Gallipoli" and "Ghost Division".
In September 2008 it was announced that Sabaton would be performing at the 2009 ProgPowerUSA X festival in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, Sabaton were the first band confirmed for the festival Bloodstock Open Air '09 in Derby, UK. Furthermore, they toured Europe in 2009 as an opening act on the Hammerfall Tour. After their Bloodstock performance, the band went on a tour with DragonForce, towards the end of 2009, for 18 shows in the UK.
Coat of Arms
The band had hoped to begin recording the next album in October but with concerts booked and the DragonForce support tour the following month, it was pushed back. On Wednesday December 23, 2009, the band announced the name of their forthcoming album. Coat of Arms contains a majority of songs about World War II, but also has songs about other wars, like the Winter War "White Death". They announced it on their official website, and posted a link to a YouTube video containing the album art and a teaser music sample. Coat of Arms was released on May 21, 2010. The first music video, for Uprising, was released on August 1, 2010 and features Peter Stormare. This was accompanied by a European tour. A second music video, for Screaming Eagles, was released on May 25.
On March 31, 2012 vocalist Joakim Brodén confirmed rumors that the band would be going separate ways, with only Brodén himself and bass player Pär Sundström staying on-board. Sabaton was joined by touring members Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund on guitar, and Robban Bäck on drums. Before separating, Sabaton had finished recording of their new album Carolus Rex, which was released in May 2012.
Following the announcement of a new lineup taking the stage, "Carolus Rex," the first single for the album of the same name, was released on April 4, 2012. Coinciding with the release of the new single, Sabaton announced their world tour headlined as "The Swedish Empire Tour". This was the first time that Sabaton performed live with the new lineup.
Regarding the line-up change, Sabaton's bassist Pär Sundström commented: "It appears to be sudden, but it had actually started years ago when some members already got tired of constant touring. And with wives and kids back home it does not get any easier. During the recordings of Carolus Rex I drew a map of what the band will be doing the coming 3 years and for some that was too much commitment..."
The former members of Sabaton have since formed a new band called "Civil War", including vocalist Patrik Johansson and bassist Stefan Eriksson.
In November 2012, drummer Robban Bäck decided to take a break from touring due to becoming a father. Snowy Shaw replaced him as touring drummer.
In November 2013, it was announced that Sabaton would be touring North America with Iced Earth for six weeks in the spring of 2014. Robban Bäck left the band and was replaced by Hannes van Dahl of Evergrey.
In January 2014, the band announced the cover of their new album called Heroes, then due to be released on May 16, 2014. The album proved to be a hit and made #1 on the official Swedish album chart. On 27 January the band was announced to play Download Festival in June. In October 2015 performed the first concert in Japan in Loud Park.
The Last Stand
In April 2016, the band announced the cover of their new album called The Last Stand, then due to be released on 19 August 2016. On 10 June 2016 the first single of the upcoming album was released, called "The Lost Battalion" and about the eponymous military unit of World War I. On 25 July 2016, the band announced that guitarist Thobbe Englund had left the band. Thobbe Englund played his last show with Sabaton at Sabaton Open Air 2016.
Tommy Johansson of ReinXeed was announced immediately as the new member after Englund's final show with the band.
Pär Sundström stated in a 2017 interview that the group would be touring less in 2018 so they could concentrate on writing and recording their next album. Joakim Brodén confirmed a 2019 release date for the still-untitled album in a September 2018 interview on MAD TV's show TV War. On the 31st of December 2018, it was further confirmed in an official announcement YouTube video.
On 8 January 2019, the band announced the creation of a YouTube channel called Sabaton History, a cooperation between Indy Neidell, TimeGhost History and Sabaton. The channel documents the history of the events behind Sabaton songs and the songs themselves. The channel started 7 February 2019.
On 22 of April 2019 Sabaton released a standalone single called Bismarck in a collaboration with Wargaming and their game World of Warships. The song is about the German Battleship Bismarck, one of the biggest ever built in Europe. Commissioned in August 1940 it sank in May 1941 after an intense hunt in the North Atlantic.
The Great War
On 2 April 2019, the band announced a new concept album about the First World War entitled The Great War. It was release on 19 July 2019. The first single on the album is 'Fields of Verdun', which was released on May 3rd.
On 13 June the lyric video for the song, "Red Baron", was released. On 27 June the premiere of "The Great War" was released.
On 3 August 2019, the band performed their 20th anniversary show at Wacken Open Air festival 2019; during the gig former guitarist Thobbe Englund joined the band on stage for two songs and in the second half of the show Sabaton invited other former members to the festival's second stage - Rikard Sundén, Daniel Mÿhr, and Daniel Mullback, along with Englund. Sundén, Mÿhr, and Mullback are all members of Civil War, a similar band formed by the three along with Oskar Montelius, another former Sabaton member, as well as Nils Patrik Johansson and Stefan Erikkson, neither of whom are former Sabaton members.
On 30 August 2019, the band was involved in a serious car accident in Tunisia while returning from a music video shoot in the Sahara Desert. Injuries from the wreck forced them to cancel an upcoming show in Gdańsk, Poland.
Primo Victoria (2005)
Attero Dominatus (2006)
The Art of War (2008)
Coat of Arms (2010)
Carolus Rex (2012)
The Last Stand (2016)
The Great War (2019)
Joakim Brodén – lead vocals (1999–present), keyboards (1999–2005, 2012–present)
Pär Sundström – bass (1999–present), backing vocals (2012–present)
Chris Rörland – guitars, backing vocals (2012–present)
Hannes van Dahl – drums, backing vocals (2014–present)
Oskar Montelius – guitars, backing vocals (1999–2012)
Rikard Sundén – guitars, backing vocals (1999–2012)
Richard Larsson – drums (1999–2001)
Daniel Mullback – drums, backing vocals (2001–2012)
Daniel Mÿhr – keyboards, backing vocals (2005–2012)
Thobbe Englund – guitars, backing vocals (2012–2016)
Robban Bäck – drums (2012–2013)
Former live musicians
Frédéric Leclercq — rhythm guitar (2011; replaced Sundén due to his paternity leave and Rockstad:Falun 2011)
Udo Dirkschneider — additional vocals (2011; Rockstad:Falun 2011)
Chris Boltendahl — additional vocals (2011; Rockstad:Falun 2011)
Van Canto — backing vocals (2011; Rockstad:Falun 2011)
Snowy Shaw - drums (2012-2013; replaced Bäck due to his paternity leave)