» Joakim Brodén - Sabaton
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Interview conducted July 11 2010
Interview published July 19 2010

Recently Sweden's own Sabaton released another excellent album entitled 'Coat Of Arms'. I was very excited when I was asked to interview vocalist Joakim Brodén about this masterful new war effort, and other fascinating scatagorical inquiries.

Instantly, we ripped into the right depth, and discussed all things metal and primo with the recent victory of the band, and their new found success statewide.
So come forth Sabatonic ragers, raise your fist, and fight for the Metalizerz!

MettleAngel: Hey Man, I am so grateful that Nuclear Blast asked me to speak with you.

  • Joakim: Yeah, you are in Ohio, right? We just returned from a festival in Finland.

MettleAngel: I was going to awake a bit earlier, and listen to the new album with lyrics, but then I chose to sleep in, and when I got up, I played some Heavy Load.

  • Joakim: Aha, another classic Swedish band. I am home now in Sweden, so it is great to speak with you too. I am very familiar with Metal Covenant and your work, MettleAngel.

MettleAngel: Oh really?

  • Joakim: Did we meet at Prog Power?

MettleAngel: I have never attended, but my friends have, and I know they met you, and even surprised you when you signed some rare shit.

  • Joakim: Hmmm, I think I recall that.

MettleAngel: I am definitely a fan of the band, and I have reviewed most of your material. Most of the CD reviews have been for another site called: www.metalcdratings.com.

  • Joakim: What albums did you like?

MettleAngel: I really liked 'Primo Victoria', but I think my first review was for 'Attero Dominatus'. You sure like to use Latin titles.

  • Joakim: Yeah, we did, and many did not notice, but we made a mistake with 'Primo Victoria'. It should have been 'Prima Victoria', but most of our fans do not know Latin.

MettleAngel: I sure as hell do, and when I commented on that fact, I was concerned readers would find me too arrogant. I know that adjectives and nouns have to agree in gender, number, and case.

  • Joakim: So do you speak Latin?

MettleAngel: I have studied the Classics, but I can read Latin better than speak it. This is the case with most languages which I know.

  • Joakim: Latin is a dead language, right?

MettleAngel: Man, I do not know why people feel that. It is a very viable, non-spoken Classical language, but believe me, knowing it will improve your grammar, and your grasp of the Romance Languages.

  • Joakim: Perhaps, but being Swedish it is different.

MettleAngel: I know, as I have learned a bit of Swedish too over the years, working for Metal Covenant. I was not sure if the title for 'Primo Victoria' was purposely misspelt, for effect.

  • Joakim: How do you mean?

MettleAngel: I thought it was a play on words like a primo (cool) victory. When it came time for the release of 'Attero Dominatus', I definitely provided a translation in my review.

  • Joakim: So, when we want to use Latin, we should perhaps check with you, first?

MettleAngel: You would not be the first band to do that, and I am honoured to assist. I mean, it is not as bad as when in the early '90s bands like My Dying Bride misused Latin titles like 'Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium', which gramattically made no sense when translated. They even later admitted to guessing.

  • Joakim: So would you say my Latin on a song like 'Wehrmacht' is accurate?

MettleAngel: I have not read the lyrics yet, as I mentioned. I received a podcast digital version, and burned that for the car. I will check, and let you now, but I am sure it is fine, from what I have heard. I really like the new album too.

  • Joakim: You do?

MettleAngel: Definitely, and now I have turned my wife and my son on to the band.

  • Joakim: Your son, really?

MettleAngel: Yes, when I burned it for the car I added some older tracks like "Metal Crüee", "Metal Machine", and your great German rendition of Doro's "Für Immer". My wife and son really got a kick out of the lyrics to those songs. (I begin to sing to him): "When the priest killed a maiden in the metal church...Armored saints and warlocks watched the slaughter...Rage of the slayer forced the pretty maids...To kiss the Queen in crimson glory..."

  • Joakim: (Laughs) Wow, you know the words!

MettleAngel: They are so damn catchy! Is it true that you actually composed the lyrics to "Metal Machine" while indisposed on the throne?

  • Joakim: Yes, indeed it is. The band was after me to come up with some lyrics, and so I sat down to ponder the lyrics, while my stomach did its own dance of death.

MettleAngel: Not to be too crass, but some up the best ideas can occur at this time.

  • Joakim: Peter Tägtgren had given me these Metal 'zines to read, and all these big bands were on the cover, so that is when the melody came to me, and I wrote the lyrics.

MettleAngel: This reminds me of the band Tankard and their song "Desperation", which is about plagiarism. When I confronted Gerre about the inspiration for this song about "not knowing what to write", he had completely forgotten. I guess 'The Morning After' really did take its toll.

  • Joakim: I am not sure I have heard this song.

MettleAngel: Oh check it out, the lyrics are hysterical. Another band that Sabaton remind me of lyrically is Metalucifer.

  • Joakim: Who are they?

MettleAngel: They are a Japanese act, with connections to the German band Metal Inquisitor. When I first read this true NWOBHM inspired act's lyrics in the mid '90's, I was floored with how many band references there are in just one song.

  • Joakim: Oh really?

MettleAngel: I mean it is totally over the top. Take a song like "Heavy Metal Hunter Pt. 2" from the album 'Heavy Metal Drill'. (I begin to sing more lyrics): "...The Metal KISS of steel... The Heavy metal machine RIOT's, flight of the warriors of thundersteel. I have a metal heart, I'm a breaker, an ACCEPT-ed, Heavy metal power player who seeks & destroys, and rocks until you drop with RAVEN's mind over metal... in OVERDRIVE burn in hell! IRON MAIDENs pounding metal, EXCITER invasion waiting in the dark...Headbanging man and his Heavy Metal Breakdown before the GRAVE DIGGER..."

  • Joakim: That is hysterical!

MettleAngel: Their English is horrible, but they sure scream out the band names.

  • Joakim: I will definitely have to look into this band!

MettleAngel: I noticed that you did not do a silly song on 'Art Of War', which is totally understandable, given the concept.

  • Joakim: That album was well received by fans and critics, but the main comment was what you just mentioned, that, and the voice overs. Surprisingly, this was the only major complaint.

MettleAngel: Since that album was all about Sun Tzu and The Art Of War, I would not expect a departure from its serious content; although, I too was a bit annoyed by the female voice overs.

  • Joakim: Well, she was free and public domain, so we took advantage of that.

MettleAngel: I understood the use of her, in order to have the message flow, but this was still just prior to the use of podcasts, and writers were quite annoyed with voice-over promos; so this only made it more unbearable. However, the special edition did include a book which was noble.

  • Joakim: We wanted our fans to know what inspired us, and the book was the main source.

MettleAngel: Now that you are signed to Nuclear Blast, your new album is doing quite well here in America, even charting on the Billboard Heetseeker.

  • Joakim: Yeah, that just blew us away. This is really our first proper release in America, so we are glad to be working with Nuclear Blast on it.

MettleAngel: I was surprised that the US edition only included two instrumental bonus tracks. Overall, I find the music a total return to the sound that made you famous. When you sat down to write the new album, was it a deliberate decision to get back to your roots?

  • Joakim: It was never a real plan to return to our previous sound. As a band, we always write what we feel. We create the music we want to hear. Our rule is if we like it, then so will our fans.

MettleAngel: That sounds like a good rule of thumb.

  • Joakim: It is my job to work on the lyrics and then bring them to the band to see what they think, then we work together to compromise on a working song.

MettleAngel: This is a good formula. I love the song 'Metal Ripper", as you are at it again, with the silliness!

  • Joakim: Yeah, with the overall content of the album, we petitioned our fans to give us material to write about. This is what inspired "The White Death". A fan educated me all about this. 50-60% of our fans sent in worthy ideas.

MettleAngel: I am pleased that you have returned to the war themes as well.

  • Joakim: It was quite a task to weed through all the E-mails in order to find new inspirations, but our fans were really supportive, for the most part.

MettleAngel: That is good to hear.

  • Joakim: Yeah, well every now and then you get an E-mail by a fan who claims to really know the band and have all our albums, then he asks us to write a song about something new like, say D-Day!

MettleAngel: What, you already have songs about that, even album themes!

  • Joakim: Exactly! We even had a fan suggest that we write about the WWII Panzer Division.

MettleAngel: Get out! That is like last night I was watching "That Metal Show". They had on the band Slayer as their guest. A supposedly diehard fan actually wrote in wondering what ever happened to drummer Paul Bostaph. Eddie Trunk was serious in answering his request. Kerry King, just laughed, and scoffed, knowing that he had just seen him recently, as Slayer was then on tour with Testament!

  • Joakim: I have not seen this episode yet.

MettleAngel: Hell, they did the same thing last year with whatever happened to Ross The Boss from Manowar. The dude claimed Manowar was his favourite band! Have these dudes never heard of the Internet! Anyway I digress, tell me about the inspiration for "Metal Ripper".

  • Joakim: Well, my bass player Pär Sundström came to me with some ideas. We were messing around in the studio, and decided we wanted to copy some Priest material, Well, we sure did, and then we just went with it. I originally wanted to call the song "Metal Ripoff".

MettleAngel: Man, that would have been a perfect title, and so brutally honest!

  • Joakim: Sadly, the band did not agree, so we went with "Metal Ripper" and lifted the lyrics and music. Then I suggested we add some Maiden and Ozzy lyrics, too.

MettleAngel: Overall, is the album 'Coat Of Arms' a concept, as it deals with war themes, and more WWII subject matter?

  • Joakim: Pär came up with the basic idea for the cover art, and had the Brazilian artist fashion the cover based on his own mock up design. Yes, there is a war thread that runs throughout, but it is not overall a concept.

MettleAngel: I know the album begins with the title track. Not having read the lyrics, I keep hearing a reference to Leonidas and his mighty 300. Surely, this has a deeper meaning, as the Greeks did not have a coat of arms.

  • Joakim: I know, if you listen carefully, it is all about the Greek's and Italian's early involvement in World War II.

MettleAngel: Oh you mean with the Axis alignment vs. the Allies?

  • Joakim: Yeah, I refer to the Hellas (The Greeks), and the blood Line of king Leonidas!

MettleAngel: This makes more sense, as "Midway" (what a great movie!), and "Wehrmacht" (killer '80s US thrash act!) are much more in line with my WWII knowledge. Are you familiar with the band from The Netherlands called Hail Of Bullets?

  • Joakim: I am now!

MettleAngel: Uh-oh, I assume you also heard about how they sing about WWII, and the Eastern front involvement in the war.

  • Joakim: I was all set to write a song about the Nachthexen, when I discovered that this Death Metal band beat me to the punch!

MettleAngel: In all fairness, they are more Death Thrash, as their vocalist Martin Van Drunen stems from both Pestilence and Asphyx. When I first learned about WWII history it came from listening to Iron Maiden, which in turn was inspired by some great movies starring Clint Eastwood.

  • Joakim: Yeah, that is true.

MettleAngel: No one has a monopoly on writing about history, as long as it is done accurately. God Dethroned wrote their last album all about Passiondale and WWI. Henri Sattler learned so much about this atrocity, that the new album will continue this theme.

  • Joakim: So I can write a Sabaton song and call it "Night Witches"!

MettleAngel: Absolutely! Besides, Sabaton fans may not necessarily listen to Hail Of Bullets, and vice versa. Think about it, if HOB can only sing about WWII, then only KISS can sing about sex, and only Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie can sing about horror!

  • Joakim: Yes, thank you for making this point. It would not be like I was stealing the idea, but writing on it from my own perspective. Next time, I think I will do this! Thank You!

MettleAngel: No problem! So, you came to America for Prog. Power, any chance of touring here, or being on the 70,000 Tons Of Metal Cruise with so many other great Nuclear Blast acts?

  • Joakim: We will be doing a Swedish Cruise this fall, but I cannot comment on the other. I can say that a great Traditional US band has asked us to be their guest for next year, and to tour America, so we will see.

MettleAngel: Cool, I understand that things are in negotiation, and you can not speak for legal reasons, no problem.

  • Joakim: I do love America. I was just in Hawaii when my sister graduated. You know the rules to getting in your country can be so strict, and quite rigorous.

MettleAngel: I know, and I am not my government, so I apologize for this frustration.

  • Joakim: It reminds me of when I was a little boy, and my mother was living behind the Iron Curtain in what is now the Czech Republic.

MettleAngel: Whoah, your mother lived behind the Iron Curtain!

  • Joakim: Yeah, and now people forgot how tough it was for us to visit back then. There were so many boarder checks, when we visited. Now in Europe you just see signs, now leaving Holland, now entering France. The whole concept of the boarder check has dissolved.

MettleAngel: I have never been to Europe, and plan to do so very soon!

  • Joakim: Really!

MettleAngel: Yeah, I know, I speak so many languages, and I love Euro Metal, so what is my deal! My point is that I remember back in the '80s how cool it was when Maiden played beyond the Iron Curtain, or when the Scorpions first went to Russia, or the Moscow Music Fest.

  • Joakim: Yeah times were more tough and more difficult back then.

MettleAngel: Damn brother, if you are looking for material for the next album, there you go, write about visiting your mother over the Berlin Wall. write about what you had to endure, as a small child. You would be surprised how your fans would react, and you may even find some like-minded souls who shared your fate.

  • Joakim: Wow, talking to you has been most inspirational.

MettleAngel: Thank You. I want to congratulate and the rest of the band on an excellent album. I would love to see you on tour, and meet you in person. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.

  • Joakim: Man, same goes here, this has truly been an enlightening conversation! Man please stay in touch, and I will come to you when I need help with my Latin!

MettleAngel: I appreciate that Brother, and take care!

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