Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sabaton at the Best Buy Theater

Joakim Brodén
Melodic heavy metal band Sabaton formed in 1999 in Falun, Sweden. The band is best known for lyrical themes based on historical battles, including World War II's Battle of Kursk, Warsaw Uprising and Battle of Midway; the Winter War; the Thirty Years' War; the Great Northern War. In 2012, four members left the band and formed another, Civil War, while vocalist Joakim Brodén and bassist Pär Sundström continued with new members Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund on guitars and backing vocals. Drummer Hannes van Dahl joined last year. The band's seventh and most recent album, Heroes, was released on May 27, 2014, and switched focus from battles to celebrated individuals or single units, including America's iconic WWII veteran/actor Audie Murphy and the Polish soldier/concentration camp resistance leader Witold Pilecki.

Coming on stage at the Best Buy Theater to the recorded sound of "The March To War," the five members of Sabaton wore similar camouflage pants and black shirts. Charismatic front man Brodén wore a sleeveless faux-armor-plated shirt, mirrored aviator sunglasses and a close cropped Mohawk haircut. (The rest of the front line was comprised of avid hair spinners.) The band played seering metal, and Brodén sang gruffly, backed by bombastic gang vocals on the choruses. He seemed to smile for the whole set, enjoying the rabid response from the cheering audience. Beginning a career retrospective with "Ghost Division," the band played power metal tightly and smoothly. As he did when Sabaton opened for Iced Earth at the same venue in April, Brodén poked fun at the band's wardrobe, referencing the Village People and getting the metal heads singing along to a few bars of "YMCA." Later he jokingly claimed that Sabaton was as Viking as the evening's headliner, Amon Amarth, before charging into another story song of war and valor. In a cluttered field of sound-alike look-alike metal bands, Sabaton curated a unique and memorable performance.

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