Metalcamp - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are Sabaton and this is Ghost Division!”
- Joakim Brodén (vocals)

And with that cannon-blast, we were off into the headlining act of the final day of Metalcamp 2012.
I like Sabaton, they make catchy music and their latest album, Carolus Rex, is without a doubt their best one so far. In addition to this, so far they have always kicked ass when playing live, and that’s a winning combo in my book.
However, since the last time I saw them, and since the album was released, Sabaton have undergone some radical changes – out were both guitarists, Rikard Sundén and Oskar Montelius, drummer Daniel Mulback and keyboardist Daniel Mÿhr, and in had come guitarists Chris Rörland (Nocturnal Rites etc.) and Thorbjörn ‘Thobbe’ Englund (ex-Winterlong etc.) and drummer Robert ‘Robban’ Bäck (live-Astral Doors). Apparently, Sabaton was no longer using a keyboardist in the band, instead relying on pre-recorded material.
That the previous members weren’t exactly finished with military power metal even though they were no longer part of the banner-bearer of the genre can be seen in the fact that they immediately started the group Civil War, but that’s another story. Right now, I was just wondering how this nearly completely new outfit would work in comparison to the old, well-oiled machinery that we knew and loved...

Well, the music didn’t lack any power of course, and the songs were still catchy as hell. The new songs played were not surprisingly played with their English lyrics, and even though I personally would have preferred the Swedish ones I can’t blame the band for wanting to be understood here, far removed from their Northern homeland.
The performance had changed though. Not from vocalist Joakim Brodén who was as lively as ever, but bassist Pär Sundström wasn’t quite up to standards compared what we have seen from him in the past, and the new guys were painfully clearly new guys – even though they are all accomplished musicians and could deliver the songs without problems, they were still finding their places in the band and thus took on a quite anonymous role in the performance. What bugged me the most though, and some might claim this to be irrelevant, but when you such a clearly military themed outfit as Sabaton, why oh why do you pick a drummer who looks like he was just out of the Mötley Crüe/Skid Row school of fashion? It was like a little nail in my eye the entire evening, a nail that occasionally was forgotten but when it made its appearance it stole some of the focus from the fun of the gig.
Another thing that I truly cannot understand, was why Peter Tägtgren didn’t join the band on stage for Gott Mit Uns. After all, he sings it on the album, and he had played with Pain on the very same stage just prior to Sabaton’s concert; I can’t think of a more opportune moment, and I have no doubt the crowd would have been thrilled about it...

The gig was still fun though, no question about it!
Brodén excused a lacking show which should have included a heavy amount of pyro effects, by mentioning that their tour-bus, which had included all that stuff, had broken down on the way to the festival. That didn’t prove a hindrance for the band to pull off a quite memorable performance however, even with the aforementioned lacking click of the new members. A bit of beer, an enthusiastic crowd, and a great amount of humour was all it took to get this beast going.
And Sabaton had a huge crowd, and calling them enthusiastic is almost not giving them enough credit – already in the intro, The Final Countdown by Europe, a loud sing-along began, and it didn’t let up for the rest of the gig, but that wasn’t all. No, arms were raised nearly as high as the voices and a good thing it was as the ever-flowing stream of crowd surfers saw both a rubber boat and a tent (!) sail by.
Not all things that sailed over the crowd ended up in the security pit either, although Brodén was a bit disappointed that what a female fan in the crowd had tossed up to the sage turned out to be a Kinder Milch chocolate bar instead of a pair of panties, but his mood was later lifted as someone else threw a Swedish flag up there – of course Brodén wanted to fold it out and wave it around with pride, but as he did so he got quite the surprise, as did we all. You see, in bold black letters across the yellow stripe the previous owner had written “Visa kuken”, which, when he had caught his breath from laughing, Brodén was kind enough to translate for the international crowd as “Show your cock”. Somehow, this sort of thing only seems to fly with this particular band.

Yes, even though this was the last large act of not only the evening, but of the entire festival, the large crowd showed no signs of fatigue as Sabaton were blasting us with their war tunes, and as the band finished up with throwing a bunch of drum sticks and guitar picks out for the audience, we heard rise, as had been the case on several points during the show, a loud Sabaton chant which beckoned for more.
Alas, the time of the end had come, and even though circumstances kept this from being something truly spectacular, I still had a very good time, and looked forward to the future where the new line-up would be more in sync with each other.


The Final Countdown (Europe song)
The March Of War

Ghost Division
Gott Mit Uns
Cliffs Of Gallipoli
The Lion From The North
The Price Of A Mile
Into The Fire
Carolus Rex
Panzer Battalion
Attero Dominatus
The Art Of War
Primo Victoria
Metal Crüe
Dead Soldier’s Waltz

Latest uploads: