Nuclear Blast Records
No heavy metal band in the world is better at bringing history and war to life with their music than Sweden’s Sabaton. The band was founded in 1999 by bassist Pär Sundström and frontman Joakim Brodén who have been leading the power metal charge for nearly two decades.
In 2012, two-thirds of Sabaton were lost in battle, but Brodén and Sundström forged onward. They pulled new soldiers into the ranks including drummer Hannes van Dahl, and guitarists Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund. Together, the quintet unleashed two of the band’s most potent albums, 2014’s Heroes, and 2016’s massive success, The Last Stand. Englund left shortly after The Last Stand to be replaced by the band’s newest recruit, guitarist Tommy Johansson.
This month, Sabaton returns to North America for a blistering tour featuring their friends in Battle Beast and Leaves’ Eyes. Hailed as The Last Tour, the band is quick to point out it is not actually their final tour, but refers only to the name of their current album.
Recently band co-founder Sundström shared with AXS some bits of Sabaton trivia that most fans are not likely aware. Here are five things you didn’t know, straight from the man himself.
1. “When the band was formed, our lead singer Joakim was actually the keyboard player," Sundström said. "Only after a few rehearsals he started to sing too. And for the first six years, Joakim played keyboards as well as singing from time to time.”
Joakim confirms this, stating in a recent interview with AXS, that he was only supposed to be a temporary vocalist until the band found a proper frontman, jokingly referring to his bandmates as lazy for failing to do so.
2. “I am a licensed and educated pyro-technician. In the first years that Sabaton used pyrotechnics, I controlled the pyrotechnics via different pedals and buttons during our live shows.”
3. “Our drummer, Hannes Van Dahl, did his first shows with the band as our drum tech while our stand-in drummer, Snowy Shaw, performed with the band.”
4. “Our new guitar player, Tommy Johansson, used to perform Sabaton covers with his own band before becoming a full-time member of Sabaton.”
5. "Chris Rörland, our other guitar player, used to work professionally in video post-production and effects," Sundström said. "He is also an art designer behind several famous artworks of different artists as well as several logos of various brands."
Sabaton’s new album, The Last Stand was selected on many a year-end list among the best albums of 2016. Every song on the record relates to a famous "last stand" battle including those immortalized in films like "300," "The Last Samurai," and "Braveheart."
Be sure to catch Sabaton on tour this spring including their forthcoming date at the City National Grove in Anaheim, Calif. on Thursday, May 11. Get your tickets here.
You can also check out their video for "Shiroyama" below.