Copenhell - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

As the banner bearer and only representative of the genre, Sweden's Sabaton took the Helvíti stage of Copenhell in broad daylight to deliver a deadly dose of power metal!

“Good afternoon dear neighbours!”
- Joakim Brodén (vocals)

Sabaton surprised in having the most scraped to the bone stage setup I have ever seen them sport – there was only a backdrop and their urban camouflage pants to let us in who they were visually, gone were the stairs, podiums and fireworks that we are used to from this band!
Gone was also the sound from the entire right side of the stage during the intro when The Final Countdown was playing, but on the other hand, the crowd was more than happy to sing the Red Warszawa version of the song as loud as they could, so the atmosphere was definitely in place even though the sound wasn’t.
True to form, the actual concert began with Ghost Division, but already before this I had been slightly surprised to see Snowy Shaw take to the drums instead of Robban Bäck – this was apparently due to Bäck taking some paternity leave and Shaw filling in for him on the tour.
The rest of the band was intact though, and came swarming onto the stage as soon as the song was set to start; the band sound still haunted Sabaton, but now we had a happy and enthusiastic band to watch, and we had a great set of songs in which we could hear drums and vocals to listen to!

In all fairness, the sound did pick up a bit as the show went on, and with help from the overall atmosphere it became bearable at the least.
More than bearable, or absolutely amazing in fact, was the fact that most of the songs played from Sabaton’s latest effort, Carolus Rex, were sung in Swedish! In fact, it was only The Lion From The North that was sung in English, of the new songs of course, and even though this saddened me a bit, it wasn’t enough to put a damper on the fact that hearing Gott Mit Uns (in which Thorbjörn ‘Thobbe’ Englund and Christoffer Chris’ Rörland took turns in filling in on Peter Tägtgren’s vocals), Carolus Rex and Karolinens Bön all sung in Swedish was tremendously uplifting. And hearing the Danish fans do their best to sing along was entertaining as well, but that’s a whole different story…
Apart from the new songs, the setlist was a bit shorter than usual but still very much to the point, giving us some of the bands greatest hits spread out over their career, and a good opportunity for the band to show off their performance skills with some fast and well-rehearsed tracks.

“I’m going to change from Swedish to English now in order to maintain the peace.”
- Brodén (vocals)

This was of course also exactly what they did; Brodén was switching between Swedish and English as he laid down comments and jokes between songs, not that I really know why as he was greeted by a world of boo’s (not booze) when he put the suggestion up to the test. Still, his demeanour was impeccable as always, and for his grand final stand he took to crowd surfing out over the audience during Metal Crüe.
It came as no surprise that Brodén was entertaining to watch though, as was the rest of the band, but it came as a positive surprise to see the extent to which they were pushing themselves today – I can without a doubt say that I have never seen the current line-up be so tight and at the same time playful as they were at Copenhell this fine day! Rörland, Englund and Pär Sundström were chasing each other around the stage, instruments a blazing, and the posing was strong in them!
Posing was also strong in the audience, which was pulling out some of the more advanced air guitar moves as they played along to the concert. There were clearly fewer people in the crowd than what I had anticipated considering how popular Sabaton’s shows usually are, even here in Denmark, but as I had ended up next to a couple of very playful friends I didn’t mind the extra space to fool around in.
With the atmosphere set already in the intro, sing along’s, air guitar playing and jumping were the main activities of the concert, and everyone was up on their toes especially in Got Mit Uns and the always included Primo Victoria.

The way Sabaton took the festival by storm even with their crappy sound and absence of extra stage equipment was mind-blowing, and Sabaton were quickly placed in the top concerts of the festival for me so far. The energy was out of this world, far above what I have seen from this incarnation of the band in the past (and that hasn’t been bad to begin with)!


The Final Countdown (Europe song)
The March To War

Ghost Division
Gott Mit Uns
Carolus Rex
The Lion From The North
Karolinens Bön
The Art Of War
Primo Victoria
Metal Crüe

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