Sabaton is a Swedish heavy metal band from Falun. Most of their 10 albums are written about war. Their 9th album The Great War (2019) reached number 1 on Swedish and German music charts. Sabaton has been referred to as one of the “big four” power metal bands, along with Helloween, Blind Guardian and DragonForce. They are one of the most successful rock bands in Swedish history, with their album Carolus Rex being the best-selling Swedish heavy metal album of all time.
Sabaton was formed in December 1999. After the first songs were recorded in Peter Tägtgren’s studio, The Abyss, Sabaton was contacted by a couple of record labels. The band signed with the Italian label Underground Symphony, which then released, internationally, the promo CD Fist for Fight. The disc, distilled from two demo tapes recorded between 1999 and 2000, was intended to promote forthcoming Sabaton releases. In 2002, a new album, Metalizer was recorded and was supposed to be distributed by Underground Symphony as the band’s debut album. After two years of waiting, during which the band held various performances across Sweden, the album was abandoned.
Joakim Brodén playing at Global East Rock Festival in Ukraine 2010
The band returned for a second album titled Primo Victoria. Brodén stated that album’s title track “kicked off” the band’s historical theme. Sundström stated that the band decided to focus primarily on historical themes in their lyrics after he and Brodén watched the film Saving Private Ryan. Sabaton signed with Black Lodge, the metal division of the Sound Pollution record label. In early 2005, keyboardist Daniel Myhr was recruited in order to relieve Joakim Brodén of his keyboard duties. In early 2006, Sabaton toured in support of Edguy and DragonForce. The band’s third album, Attero Dominatus, was released in Europe on 28 July 2006. In March 2007, Sabaton released Metalizer as a double disc together with Fist for Fight, along with the previously unreleased song “Birds of War”.
Sabaton performing at Norway Rock Festival in 2010
As a follow-up to Metalizer, in May 2008, Sabaton released its fourth album The Art of War, an album inspired by the influential book by Sun Tzu. The decision to base the album upon Sun Tzu’s book came from the idea that in the 2000 years since the book was written, the human race has achieved many things but, apart from weapon advancements, operational art, strategy, and war itself have remained basically the same. The album contains the singles “Cliffs of Gallipoli” and “Ghost Division”. They toured Europe in 2009 as an opening act on the HammerFall Tour. After their Bloodstock performance, the band again went on tour with DragonForce, towards the end of 2009, for eighteen shows in the UK.