Archive for Sabaton

Sabaton w/ guests – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 28th January 2017 by Pieni

Sabaton, Accept, Twilight Force
Coliseu, Porto (PT)
20th January 2017
Promoted by Prime Artists

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“The Last Tour” – named after the album “The Last Stand”, not after some early desire of retirement – hit Porto at one of its biggest and renowned venues. A bit bold, as it turned out. True, the last time Sabaton played here, Hard Club sold out its 1000-person capacity, but Coliseu holds six times that number. On the other hand, with the background videowall and all the apparatus, Hard Club’s stage wouldn’t have been big enough.

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dsc_0014-copyThe name Twilight Force hinted of power metal, and the dragon in the backdrop brought a positive certainty, even before the fast, chirpy melodies flooded the halls. A strange mix but they’re from Falun too and Chrileon was even Sabaton’s live backup singer back in the day (and rumor has it that the Spartans in the Sabaton song are played by four of them but I haven’t been able to confirm it) so from a friendship point of view, a fantasy power metal band opening for a militant heavy metal one makes perfect sense.
Chrileon got on stage wielding a sword to the sound of “Battle Of Arcane Might”. I don’t think many people knew them, but their high-spirits were contagious and soon everybody was riding along their “adventurous metal”. Funny blokes too, always teasing each other with a smile on their faces. “Gates Of Glory” was particularly welcomed by the crowd but the whole show left a positive mark.

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www.facebook.com/twilightforce/

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00000196-copyThe “Generation Clash” – song they sadly didn’t play – went wild the moment Christopher Williams stood behind the drums screaming in salute. We have a saying in Portugal that goes something like “old are the rags”, meaning that “old” is a word that shouldn’t be applied to people, and the youthful attitude that Wolf Hoffmann & Co. put on that night could as well be the incarnation of such saying. From recent tracks like “Stampede” and “Stalingrad” to classics such as “Princess Of The Dawn” and the mandatory “Metal Heart” and “Balls To The Wall”, there wasn’t a single moment where “age” meant nothing more than “experience”. The synced headbanging and guitar hero poses, which I usually find so cliche, just felt right this time. I guess it all depends on who’s bringing the cliches to life after all. My heart was full.

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www.facebook.com/accepttheband/

00000426-copyEven though I was happy to see the old schoolers getting off their couches to support Accept, I was sad to see many of them leave and not give a chance to Sabaton. Well, their loss – as usual, the Swedes kicked ass. Even if I appreciated the 2014 gig more, their performance skills are unquestionable.
00000433-copyThey’ve been using their cover of Status Quo “In The Army Now” as intro since the beginning of the tour, so it’s not in memory of the Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt, who died last Christmas Eve. But it was a beautiful coincidence, and nice change – as much as I love Europe’s “The Final Countdown”.
Besides the powerful songs – “Ghost Division”, “Carolus Rex”, “Primo Victoria”, “To Hell And Back”, just to name a few – and their lively presence, their good humor and empathy towards the public are just as popular. When the show was halfway through, a roadie brought a keyboard and Joakim reminded us (well, informed, as some may not know the origins of the band) that he started out as Sabaton’s keyboard player. But when he started playing Van Halen’s “Jump” it became clear he wasn’t going to resume the role that night. Chris Rörland claimed that Tommy Johansson really knew how to play piano and to prove so, the new guitarist played a little of Beethoven’s “Für Elise”. From there, he engaged on their own “The Final Solution”, in a beautiful acoustic version.

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Later on, someone would throw a horned helmet with the Swedish colors that Joakim put on, saying that he probably looked like a “palhaço”. That’s Portuguese for clown, and the whole venue burst out laughing. And in the end, he tied a Portuguese flag on his back, like a cape, super-hero style, wondering if his super power would be being the best football player in the world. Great musicians, great performers and funny – what more could one ask from a metal show?

www.facebook.com/sabaton/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

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Iza’s Highlights of 2016 (Part 2: Metal)

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Metal, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2016 by izaforestspirit

Time for the second part of my highlights of 2016, the metal edition. This part was much harder to write than the first because it took me a long time to chose my top ten metal of albums and even longer to decide on the winner. So here are my top ten favourite metal releases of 2016:

1. Vader – The Empire
Genre: Death Metal

This year, Vader strikes back with ‘The Empire’… Let’s face it, they were kind of asking for comments like this with that kind of an album title. Star Wars jokes aside, this is a really good piece of work. If you’re looking for some new death metal to check out, I would strongly recommend this album. Unlike their previous work, the masterpiece that was ‘Tibi et Igni’, ‘The Empire’ shows a back to basics approach. No complex structures or atmospheric intros, just good, old-school thrashy death metal. Best tracks: ‘Iron Reign’, ‘No Gravity’ and ‘Army-Geddon’.

2. Rob Zombie – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser
Genre: Hard Rock/Industrial Metal

This year’s runner up deserves an award for coming up with the one of the longest album titles in years. I tend to refer to it simply as ‘The Electric Warlock’… Whilst still no match for his first two albums, ‘The Electric Warlock’ is Rob Zombie’s best work in years. Favourite tracks ‘The Hideous Exhibitions of a Dedicated Gore Whore’, ‘In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire We All Get High’ and the ultra cheesy but super catchy ‘The Life and Times of a Teenage Rock God’.

3. Devilment – II- The Mephisto Waltzes
Symphonic Gothic Metal/ Groove Metal

For those of you who read my highlights of 2015, you might remember my comments on the latest Cradle of Filth album. This year their vocalist Dani Filth has been busy working on the second album for his other band Devilment. ‘II- The Mephisto Waltzes’ is a delightful opus which happily mixes a variety of metal genres including Gothic, symphonic and groove metal. There’s even a touch of humour in the lyrics and several references to horror movies, modern horror literature and art – most notably Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. Best tracks are ‘Hitchcock Blonde’, ‘Dea Della Morte’ and ‘Full, Dark No Stars’.

4. Mortiis – The Great Deceiver
Genre: Industrial Metal

Ever since the Norwegian musician Mortiis started his own band in the mid ’90s, there has been some debate as to what category their music fits into. The older works are very much dark ambient, followed by the synth-pop period of ‘Smell of Rain, turning into the latest era of industrial rock. Their latest effort, the ultra creepy -sounding ‘The Great Deceiver’ is undoubtedly their heaviest and most complex album to date which is why I chose to include it in my metal top 10. Best tracks: ‘Doppelganger’, ‘Demons are Back’ and ‘Shining Lamp of God’.

5. Moonsorrow – Jumalten aika
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

Moonsorrow caught my attention after I saw them live at Tampere Metal Meeting Festival in the summer. I like some of their older material and after hearing some of the new songs live I decided to check out their newest album ‘Jumalten aika’. This is one of those releases where there are no real outstanding tracks, but rather the whole album is worth listening to in full. It’s one of the best pieces of pagan black metal that I’ve heard in a long while.

6. The Vision Bleak – The Unknown
Genre: Gothic Horror Metal

German Gothic horror metal duo The Vision Bleak are back with a new album. ‘The Unknown’ struck me as being somewhat “Lovecraftian”, both in the visual concept of the cover art and the the lyrical themes. Musically it is in every bit that you can expect from a Vision Bleak album; eerie Gothic horror metal with some doom influences added creating the soundtrack to your worst nightmare. Best tracks ‘The Kindred of The Sunset’ and ‘Into the Unknown’.

7. Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
Genre: Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal

Just in case anyone is wondering why the new Metallica is so low down on this list, the truth is that I expected it to be better than it turned out to be. After all, it’s been eight years since their last studio album. Needless to say that the expectations were high. I wasn’t expecting this to be another ‘Master of Puppets’ or ‘Ride the Lightning’ but I was hoping for something along the lines of ‘Death Magnetic’ which I really enjoyed. Luckily ‘Hardwired…To Self-Destruct’ isn’t as bad as ‘St. Anger’ but it’s hardly a masterpiece. To be honest I think that it would be have been better off as an EP with just four or five tracks instead of the 12 songs and 13 music videos. I definitely like the first disc more than the second one and my favourites include: ‘Moth To The Flame’, ‘Dream No More’ and ‘Spit Out The Bone’.

8. Sabaton – The Last Stand
Genre: Power Metal

Sabaton are one of the very few power metal bands that I like. I’ve always enjoyed their live shows and I’m very fond of the concept album ‘Carolus Rex’. As with all Sabaton albums, their latest piece of work doesn’t disappoint as far as the historical themes go. This one tells the stories of eleven defensive “last stand” battles. Each song focuses on a different battle from various historical events ranging from ancient Greece, medieval Scotland, the two World Wars to Japan at the time of the samurais. That sounds awesome in principal, if only the actual music was that good. Sadly it isn’t. It’s ok but not great and most of the time Sabaton are just recycling old ideas, changing the themes but making similar music. The only tracks that I liked are: ‘Shiroyama’, ‘The Last Battalion’ and ‘Blood at Bannockburn’.

9. DevilDriver
Trust No One
Genre: Groove Metal

DevilDriver - Trust No One

The only real groove metal entry on this list, ‘Trust No One’ is DevilDriver’s best work in years. It is an aggressive beast of guitar-driven groove metal made all the more powerful thanks to Dez Fafara’s vicious growls. Best tracks: ‘Trust No One’ and ‘Daybreak’.

10. Theatres des Vampires – Candyland
Genre: Gothic Metal

It’s been a while since the Italian Gothic metal band Theatres des Vampires have released anything new. I’ve been a fan of their music for many years and so I was keen to get my hands on a copy of their latest piece of work. ‘Candyland’ is somewhat more metal-sounding than its predecessor ‘Moonlight Waltz’. There are notably less vampire themes on here compared to the previous album but other than that not much has changed. Sonya Scarlet is still the key figure in Theatres des Vampires. Whilst I still prefer their older works, back when Lord Vampyr was still a member of the band, I did enjoy this album. Best tracks ‘The Morgana Effect’ and ‘Resurrection Mary’.

 
Biggest New Discovery: Powerwolf
Best live show of 2016: Powerwolf live in Tampere
Most anticipated albums of 2017:
Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars
New albums from Cradle of Filth and (hopefully) Behemoth.

That’s all from me for now. Happy New Year!

Sabaton – The Last Stand

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 8th August 2016 by izaforestspirit

Sabaton
The Last Stand
Released 19th August 2016
Power Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

Sabaton doesn’t need much of an introduction. Since the turn of the millennium, the Swedish group have been entertaining us with their historically themed, highly catchy power metal and energetic live shows. Their concerts are always great to watch; however the same cannot be said about their albums. Whilst they haven’t produced any complete garbage thus far, some of the albums are less memorable than others. As for which is their best effort, that varies depending on who you ask… Personally I’m a huge fan of the concept album ‘Carolus Rex’, which I believe is an absolute masterpiece and their best work to date. The follow-up ‘Heroes’ had its moments but it never matched the same level of excellence. This brings us to their latest effort ‘The Last Stand’, a concept album which tells stories of eleven defensive “last stand” battles.

Each song focuses on a different battle from various historical events ranging from ancient Greece, medieval Scotland, the two World Wars to Japan at the time of the samurais. So that’s the themes explained, now let’s talk about the actual music… The bombastic and “epic”-sounding Sparta has all the features you would have hoped to hear from an opening track. The ultra-catchy keyboard tunes, epic chanting and cries of “Sparta!” and “Hellas!” in the chorus is enough to make you want put on some armour and run down the nearest hill to attack. Oh wait, hold your horses! Before you start your charge you might want to stick around and listen to what else is on here…

Is that bagpipes I hear? Oh yes!! Bagpipes, a hammond organ, heavy metal and cries of “rally all the clans” along with references to The Scottish Revolution. These are all the things that make Blood of Bannockburn one of the best tracks on the album. Another song that caught my attention was Shiroyama mostly due to the chorus and references to the “the last stand of the Samurai”. I don’t know much about the Japanese history, but I’ve always found the samurai culture intriguing and after hearing this song actually decided to do some research about this battle. Arigatō Sabaton!

So those were my choice cuts, now about the rest of the album… Well, sadly there’s a few tracks on here that sound oddly familiar. Take Winged Hussars for instance, the entire structure, everything from the sing-along-narrative, the keyboards, the guitar riffs to the chorus, is very similar to another song with reference to Polish history – Uprising from the ‘Coat of Arms’ album. Then there’s The Lost Battalion which sounds like an leftover from the ‘Heroes’ album.

Overall it’s a decent effort but there’s quite a bit of recycled ideas here. The stories are all unique but some of the music is a case of Sabaton playing it safe and creating something that’s very similar to what they have done before. It’s as if someone took the best tracks from ‘The Art of War’, ‘Coat of Arms’ and ‘Heroes’, stuck them all in a blender and poured the results into new frames. I’ve been there, done that, I won’t be buying the t-shirt but I’ll probably get the album for Sparta, Blood of Bannockburn and Shiroyama.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Sabaton reveal title and artwork for new album

Posted in Metal, News, Studio Report with tags , , on 2nd May 2016 by izaforestspirit

The Swedish power metal band Sabaton have recently announced that their new album, the follow-up to ‘Heroes’ will be entitled ‘The Last Stand’. They are currently in the studio working on this latest piece of work with the help of their producer Peter Tägtgren.

‘The Last Stand’ is scheduled to hit the shops worldwide later this summer, on 19th August via Nuclear Blast Records.

You can check out the cover art below:

http://www.sabaton.net/

https://www.facebook.com/sabaton/timeline

 

Iza’s Highlights of 2014 (part 1: Metal)

Posted in Metal, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , on 30th December 2014 by izaforestspirit

It’s been an eventful year for alternative music. Not only were there lots of great new albums and shows but also some old bands like At The Gates coming back after a long break. For this year’s summary I’ve decided to focus on the albums that caught my attention:

Best Metal albums

1. Behemoth – The Satanist
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

This is without doubt my favourite release of 2014 and the metal album which I’ve listened to the most this year. I simply can’t get enough it. It’s been five years since ‘Evangelion’ but it was definitely worth the wait. ‘The Satanist’ is multi-faceted and very complex as an album but that’s why I like it so much. It combines the brutality old Behemoth with the atmosphere and the “epic” feel of their newer work. Best tracks: ‘Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel’, ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ and ‘O Father O Satan O Sun’.

2. Vader – Tibi et Igni
Genre: Death Metal

The Polish death metal titans are back. I’ve been a fan of their music for over a decade. While I enjoyed their previous effort ‘Welcome to the Morbid Reich’ it’s no much for this. In my opinion ‘Tibi et Igni’ is their best album after my all time favourite ‘ Black To The Blind’. If you’re a Vader like me then you probably know what to expect: aggressive and brutal death metal with thrash metal guitar mixed in. Best tracks: ”Go To Hell’, Hexenkessel’, ‘Triumph of Death’.

3. Kampfar – Djevelmakt
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

It’s been twenty years since Kampfar was formed and there’s no better way to celebrate the anniversary than with a new album. And what an album it is! ‘Djevelmakt’ is every bit as haunting and atmospheric as its predecessor ‘Mare’. Best tracks: ‘Mylder’ , ‘Swarm Norvegicus’, ‘Our Hounds, Our Legion’.

4. Sabaton – Heroes
Genre: Power Metal


Sabaton is one of the very few power metal bands I listen to. ‘Heroes’ might be a follow up to ‘Carolus Rex’ but it is very different both in terms of the themes and the overall structure. Here each song tells a story, of an individual or small group whose actions left their mark on history. Best tracks: ‘Nightwitches’, ‘To Hell and Back’ and ‘Resist and Bite’.

5. At The Gates – At War Reality
Genre: Melodic Death Metal


It’s been a while…These guys haven’t released an album since ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ back in 1995. What ever their reasons were for such a long break, I’m just glad that they’re back. The new album ‘At War With Reality’ combines the older style with their more experimental phase ‘Slaughter of the Soul’. Best tracks ‘Heroes and Tombs’ and ‘The Night Eternal’.

6. Metsatöll – Karjajuht
Genre: Folk Metal


The Estonian wolf-pack have returned. Like it’s predecessor ‘Ulg’, this album follows their tried and tested formula of catchy heavy metal with traditional Estonian folk instruments. Best tracks: ‘Külmking’ and ‘Lööme mesti’ (featuring Jonne Järvelä from Korpiklaani).

7. Vallenfyre – Splinters
Genre: Death/ Doom Metal


This band first got my attention due to the impressive line-up; it features members of both Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride as well as Adrian Erlandsson on drums. In many ways it reminds me of old Entombed, Celtic Frost as well as as the early works of Paradise Lost. Best tracks: ‘Bereft’ and ‘Splinters’.

Stay tuned for part 2: Industrial edition coming soon.

Sabaton announce several UK tour dates

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 15th June 2014 by Pieni

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Last month, Sabaton‘s seventh studio album “Heroes” hit the stores. Now the Swedes themselves will hit the stages to introduce it to you live, bringing along Korpiklaani and Týr. UK will have a full leg on this European tour, happening on the following dates (click links for tickets):

Nov 28th – Norwich, Waterfront
Nov 29th – Brighton, Concorde 2
Nov 30th – Plymouth, White Rabbit
Dec 2nd – Reading, Sub 89
Dec 3rd – Weymouth, Pavilion
Dec 5th – Glasgow, QMU
Dec 6th – Dublin, Academy
Dec 7th – Belfast, Limelight
Dec 8th – Manchester, Ritz
Dec 9th – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms

2015
Jan 12th – London, Forum

Pär Sundström, bass player and founding member, commented: “Finally we can reveal our plans for UK this year! We love to play a lot of shows and we love to see a sweaty sold out club everywhere! Sabaton always brings a good party wherever we go and when we take Korpiklaani and Týr with us for this run its certain that we will leave no city untouched”.

Sabaton online:
http://www.sabaton.net
http://facebook.com/sabaton
http://www.twitter.com/sabaton
http://www.youtube.com/sabaton

Sabaton release studio trailer displaying the making of Heroes

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 7th March 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

19th May will see the release of the new album, Heroes, from Swedish power metal overlords Sabaton. In anticipation of the band’s seventh studio album, they have released the first video in a series of trailers showing the making process of the new album. The trailer can be viewed below.

Sabaton online:

http://www.sabaton.net
http://facebook.com/sabaton
http://www.twitter.com/sabaton
http://www.youtube.com/sabaton

 

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