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Interview, review and photo by David
Stage: Spendrups
Date: 10 June 2005
Setlength: 40 minutes


Sabaton is a rocket on its way to the Swedish sky of metal. Their latest release Primo Victoria has been well received among critics as well as among metal fans. They'd just finished a successful gig at Sweden Rock Festival when Metal Covenant met the singer Joakim Brodén.


David: Can you tell me something about who you guys are?

  • Joakim: Six crazy guys from Dalarna ("galna dalmasar" in Swedish). We've played together in this setting since 1999. We have fun together and I think that makes the crowd happy as well. Of course we have other jobs as well, everything from call service to a security guard.

David: Is the band a democracy or a dictatorship?

  • Joakim: A democratic dictatorship… Since I write most of the music and lyrics, I have the last word in those matters. But that's usually not a problem. In every other issue, the band decides together what to do.

David: How do you feel about today's gig?

  • Joakim: Absolutely great! Well, some small mistakes here and there, but I never expected so many people to show up at that early time (11.50) at a festival. I mean, I wouldn't had shown up myself just to see us…

David: Do you feel that things are starting to move now in your career?

  • Joakim: Well, the cooperation with our promotion company SoundPollution works great, so things are rolling. But I don't expect any big bang. We'll see what happens.

David: Are you afraid of becoming too big and face an anti-wave that for example Hammerfall has done?

  • Joakim: No, Hammerfall get much undeserved criticism. They make great songs. If you care about what people think, you're on the wrong track. But of course it is fun if people appreciate what you do.

David: What kind of music do you listen to yourself?

  • Joakim: Mostly hard rock and metal from the 70s and 80s, like Accept, Rainbow, Black Sabbath with Dio… I actually like Black Sabbath best with Dio and Tony Martin. The most deviant influence I've used must be ABBA. The music was better in the good old days. I don't listen to much of today's music scene. Not the more brutal stuff either. There is nothing wrong with a good sing-along chorus. That's party!

David: Historical wars and battles are a theme in your lyrics on Primo Victoria. Is that a long time interest you have or just something that came up?

  • Joakim: I'm not exactly a warmonger or warrior but it is an interesting and engaging subject. I like to read about history and especially to watch movies about such issues. I think we will continue on this theme for another couple of albums.

David: Did you do much research on your lyrics?

  • Joakim: Much of it is actually put together because it fits lyrically, but for example Wolfpack and Stalingrad are authentic descriptions of those historical events.

David: Have you got any criticism about facts that may be wrong or disputed in the lyrics?

  • Joakim: Not much, but some. We try not to take part for any side, but rather to tell just what happened. But in more recent wars, like in former Yugoslavia, what actually can count as facts is not fully investigated yet and that will make it harder to write about. The exception is the song Primo Victoria, which is a clear tribute to those who participated in the D-day operation. Some facts are actually intentionally wrong to fit in lyrically. For example, in Counterstrike we changed the number of planes that Israel shot down from 309 to 307…

David: Have you guys done any military service yourself?

  • Joakim: Only one of our guitarists actually. But the drummer is a hunter…

David: You have a rather special accent when you sing, with rolling r's, how come?

  • Joakim: Well, I want the lyrics to be recognizable. It's easier to catch the message if I use a distinct pronouncing. But also I want people to hear that we are not from an English speaking country. So that's why the r:s come out kind of Scottish and I guess I sound German sometimes.

David: Some fast questions then: Wine, women or song?

  • Joakim: Song, there is something special with a great voice, like Udo's.

David: Festival or club?

  • Joakim: After this gig - festival!

David: War or peace?

  • Joakim: For me personally, peace!

David: Sense or sensibility?

  • Joakim: Sensibility.

David: Leksand or Mora (ice hockey teams from Dalarna…)?

  • Joakim: LEKSAND, of course!

David: Helix or Overkill?

  • Joakim: Overkill



Who the fuck is Bengt?

For those uninitiated in the Swedish cult band Svenne Rubins (also from Sabaton's home county Dalarna), you might wonder what the hell of a song Sabaton was closing their set with. Långa bollar på Bengt might not be very metal, but a truly classic party song! Perfect final of an excellent gig. But before that Sabaton had delivered about half an hour of hard melodic metal. With the opening, Panzer Battalion, they took a tight grip on the quite large crowd for this early morning time (11.50). A grip that never loosened for a moment. Knowing the limited time to their disposal, the band skipped all formalities and delivered as much as possible from the success album Primo Victoria, spiced with Hellrider from their earlier material.

In Metal Machine, Joakim Brodén, to the amusement of the crowd, changes a part of the text to an almost forgotten pop song by one hit wonder Joakim Hillson, "Vacker utan spackel". Small details like that makes you remember a good concert! Although the early hour, the crowd are doing their part of the job to shake some optional bodyparts and sing along. This must have been the best show of the year on the smallest stage, Spendrups! Sabaton is here to stay and to grow big.

9 chalices of 10

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