Kentish Town Forum 12 Jan 2015
Swedish power metal band Sabaton bring with them some amazing support in the form of rock chick fronted Battle Beast and Delain. Unlike British and American metal which is largely male dominated in Europe the girls reign alongside the metal kings. Both bands are influenced by the Queen of metal Doro and the classic 80's metal sound. For fans of power, pop and symphonic metal these bands are definitely ones to add to your playlist.
The Forum, Kentish Town then transforms into a battleground as Sabaton
prepare to charge the stage. Europe's The Final Countdown is a call to arms for the Swedish band. After the restless audience chants Sabaton! Sabaton! the lights of a tank, which cleverly houses drummer Hannes Van Dahl, blind the first few rows. Vocalist Joakin Brodèm steps onto the stage, part warrior, part cyborg in his distinctive stage attire. With his baritone vocals and frantic stage presence he’s like the Thunder God himself wielding the microphone as if it were the mighty mjölnir, captivating the crowd as he sings Ghost Division. To Hell and Back and the powerhouse anthems Carolus Rex and Gott Mit Uns soon follow. Brodèm takes a breather to absorb his devoted audience who have Sabaton a heroes welcome. They appear genuinely moved by the support. For a gloomy Monday night in the city, these dedicated fans have created an electric atmosphere; If this were a battle, Sabaton and their soldiers would have smashed the enemy into meatballs!
The fans reaction is unsurprising considering a few years ago half the band left due to rigorous touring schedule which was impacting on family life. The future looked bleak for the band; but Brodèm and bass player Pär Sundstrom rallied the troops and reinforcements were sent for and the band continued.
There’s plenty of audience interaction and humour too as Joakin chats about the English language, British pub etiquette, candy thongs thrown by the audience. He even swaps jackets with the fan saying “we don't do washing on a Sabaton tour we just swap clothes.” And of course there's a compulsory mention of Iron Maiden. Watching a Sabaton show is pure entertainment with plenty of theatrics and more lights to rival Walpurisnacht!
Thor and his army of Berserkers continue their banter by giving the fans the choice of which songs to play throughout the set. The overwhelmingly popular choices are Smoking Snakes and Uprising and go down a storm. Swedish Pagans does not officially feature, but after raucous chants, Sundstrom rips up the set list and the band play one of their most anthemic songs; its their Number Of The Beast. After performing a track from every album there’s still time for a dramatic encore featuring Night Witches, Primo Victoria and Metal Crue.
Sabaton's power metal may be influenced by all the greats but they make it unique with their own Scandinavian flair. They are blessed to have one of the most loyal and supportive fan bases I have seen for any band. For Sabaton's Soldiers this amazing gig must have felt like they had died and gone to Vallhalla!