w/ Huntress and Trivium
September 19, 2016
The Masquerade – Heaven
Sabaton must have found a way to break the First Law of Thermodynamics because they created a metric ton of pure energy in Atlanta! Fresh off of releasing their latest album, The Last Stand, Sabaton joined Trivium for their Silence in the Snow tour alongside Huntress. Thankfully, this tour brought them to Atlanta, and I was determined to see them play live again.
I arrived at the venue about three hours before the doors opened so I could be early enough to snag a spot at the barrier (also because it certainly beat studying for midterm exams!). About half the people waiting on line were Trivium fans, and the other half were just there for Sabaton, like me. A very pleasant surprise was being able to meet all of the members of Sabaton except frontman Joakim Brodén by their tour bus. They were super nice guys, and were happy to sign my silly Sweden-themed banner that I bring to their shows in the vain hope they will sing “Carolus Rex” in their native Swedish. It honestly was one of the highlights of the day for me, and was proof that the guys from Sabaton are truly great people (unlike Trivium who I witnessed blow off two fans who approached to say hello a couple hours before the show). After the doors opened I found myself right at the center of the barrier with a friend of mine to my left and a rather apathetic Trivium fan to my right, who kept telling me that he knew a guy to get steroids from if I wanted them (I declined of course).
As the Huntress crew dismantled their equipment after a short but sweet set,the Sabaton crew started setting up. At this moment, you could feel the excitement in the air. Soon Sabaton’s cover of “In the Army Now” filled the room and the crowd began to eagerly sing along. This reminded me of how people sing along to “Doctor Doctor” by UFO before Iron Maiden comes onstage. The comparison makes perfect sense because in my opinion Sabaton is the natural successor to Iron Maiden, at least when it comes to stage presence.
When the band rushed out to “Ghost Division”, the room exploded with energy! Everyone was singing along and pumping their fists to the music. This energy was continued with “Sparta” from the new album. Just as I predicted in my album review, it was incredible to hear played live. Hearing the crowd shouting “Ooh, ah!” and then singing along with the chorus really pumped everyone up and you could tell that the show was off to a fantastic start. Lead vocalist Joakim Brodén’s witty banter back and forth with the crowd along with his infectious, positive energy definitely connected with the crowd. This proved to me that he is without a doubt one of the greatest metal frontmen of this new generation of metal.
Next was “Blood of Bannockburn.” If you read my album review, this was not my favorite song, but hearing them playing it live made me go back and reconsider it because they did an awesome job with this song. After some playful banter on stage with the new guitarist, Tommy Johansson (who by the way did a more than fantastic job), they played crowd favorite “Swedish Pagans”, another song that they absolutely killed. After that was the English version of “Carolus Rex.” Granted, I would have preferred if it was sung in their native Swedish (back in 2012 I accidentally purchased the Swedish version of the album and now it doesn’t feel completely right if I don’t hear it in Swedish), but it still sounded great and everyone had a wonderful time singing along.
The song about the Polish Thermopylae, “40:1”, was next up. This one is a favorite of mine, especially since I have spent a lot of time learning about Polish history so any time I hear one of the many Polish-themed Sabaton songs I get very happy. Then there was a short interlude with the eerie “Diary of an Unknown Soldier” followed by the first single from the new album, “The Lost Battalion.” I personally love this song, and had a great time singing along with it. “To Hell and Back” followed it, which is always a fun song to hear played live, and this time was no exception.
Sabaton then played “Winged Hussars” from the new album. I was waiting all night to hear this one and it was amazing to hear played live! The chorus to that song is probably one of my favorite choruses from their whole discography. That ended the main set, and after loud chanting of “Sabaton! Sabaton!” they returned to the stage for their encore kicking things off with the energetic “Night Witches.” After the song, Joakim pointed out that there was a young boy in the crowd and invited him on stage. He told the kid, “I see that you have some Trivium gear on but how about some Sabaton gear? Here, wear my glasses and go stand by the drums.” Joakim asked the crowd if we would sing and jump with them, the crowd roaring in response and at that point they closed out their stellar set with “Primo Victoria.” The kid on stage was smiling ear to ear as he bashed on the cymbals along with drummer Hannes Van Dahl. “Primo Victoria” is a great closerand was such a fun and fantastic way to close out this amazing night!
It was kind of funny to see a large chunk of the audience doing the same thing as me and leaving once Sabaton left the stage. I don’t blame them, and I doubt we missed much by leaving early. As far as I am concerned, I had already witnessed the true headliner that night.
Without a doubt it was an astounding performance by Sabaton from start to finish. The whole band was at their best. Tommy fit seamlessly with the other band members and I am 100% sure that he is a perfect addition to the Sabaton family. The only thing I would have changed was to have them play the other two favorite songs of mine from the new album: “Last Dying Breath” and “Rorke’s Drift.” Perhaps one day I will get to hear them played live!
I say this with as much conviction as I can muster: Sabaton is one of the best bands out there to see. If you have not heard of Sabaton yet, give them a listen, and be sure to catch one of their shows when they come around because I guarantee that you will love it. This was an incredible show by Sabaton and I cannot wait until they get to headline a full North American tour. They are simply too amazing to just be an opening act for someone else!