Swedish heavy metal rockers Sabaton invaded the House of Blues in Dallas in support of their ninth studio album, The Great War. The album and the show continued the themes that have been a mainstay of Sabaton since their arrival on the metal scene in 2005. Every album has been a look into military conflicts throughout history, a lot of the songs are based on obscure or seldom heard battles that provoke images of heroism and sacrifice. Before I go too in depth with this review, I have to get the elephant in the room out of the way – the band had a massive tank replica on stage that lit up and made sounds. If nothing else, I knew that this was going to be an interesting show before I heard anything from the band.
As stage hands finished setting up the elaborate stage pieces and placing the mic stands (modeled after M16 rifles) in their proper locations, the sold out crowd started to erupt with cheers of “Sabaton,” knowing that the inevitable arrival of the band was getting closer. As the band hit the stage there was a deafening reaction from the crowd and the band soaked up every second before blasting into their first song, “Ghost Division,” with the overwhelming support of the crowd singing along to every word.
Lead vocalist, Joakim Broden, said that he would never thought of being received that great from the North American audience and he thanked the fans over and over again for their support and their response to the shows so far. He continually pointed out several audience members that were singing along to every song. The bands 18 song set covered six albums, including the title track to their 2005 debut album, Primo Victoria, five tracks from The Great War, and selections from 2008’s The Art of War, 2012’s Carolus Rex, 2014’s Heroes, and 2016’s The Last Stand.
The focus on military history is a unique subject matter for a power metal band, but the atmosphere created by the band is one that I have seen from few bands and somehow everything works like a charm. Sabaton is definitely a band that I hope to see again on their next trip through town and I will certainly be looking deeper into their back catalog.
– Robb Miller