“It’s the nature of time, that the old ways must give in” – The SABATON experience

17439400_1260218607418426_671565767916912640_nLife is mysterious. Sometimes it brings you things that you didn’t expect. In fact I find that life has a way of throwing things in my face. If I ever over-state anything, life seems to go out of its way to make sure that I have to swallow the statement and actually change my opinion or change my ways. This is the way we grow I guess, how we become new people.

I am not the person I used to be, every cell in my body has renewed itself so why not renew the way we see the world on a regular basis, just to mix things up?

Since I was a kid I’ve had this aversion to “real”. Reality can be grim and spending time reading about what “really happened” seemed like overindulging in the grey and the mundane. This reflects greatly on the things I choose to read. Biographies are very popular in Iceland. They say (only half jokingly) that every Icelander writes their biography. I think that to this day the only biography I’ve actually read from cover to cover was one about Ozzy Osbourne. Which now suddenly seems incredibly fitting.

And don’t even get me started on the “based on true events” line in some books and films. I get hives and will rant about the subject for hours if allowed!

But for someone who actually likes knowledge this is a dangerous road to walk. Still to this day I will choose fiction over non-fiction any day of the week. So once I quit school I more or less stopped reading fact-books. Which is a shame, because I now find that I really did love reading literary theory, for example.

So to the subject at hand, my interest in war and war history, as you can imagine, has been minimal. I’d quit at saying that “war is awful and should be eliminated” (something I obviously still stand for) and that would be that. I’d role my eyes at you if you started a war related topic. If there are documentaries on TV about war, Hitler or anything similar and I can’t actually change the channel I’d be snoring in the corner or reading a book.

Then maybe two years ago I was in a bad place. I won’t get into why, but I was in a state of intense anxiety most of the time. This is a place so awful that it’s hard to describe, even hard to recall what it was like now that it’s passed. I believe I was finding my way to the other side of that dark place when I was out running. I was using the Spotify running thing on my phone. It’s a neat feature that plays you music that fits your tempo and I had the thing play songs that it thought I’d like based on what I’d previously listened to.

And on comes this AMAZING song.

I’d say it stopped me in my tracks, but I was out running – I believe my pace doubled. It was an exhilarating experience and at the time such feelings were rare. In fact I’d say that the feelings I got from this song was more powerful than I’d ever had from any other music, – ever. This includes QUEEN, which I seem to have grown out of a little, but was a huge thing for me back in the days. This also goes beyond anything BOWIE (And I really, truly, madly, deeply love Bowie) gave me. It even out did the feeling of blasting THUNDERSTRUCK by AC/DC in the car radio as a nineteen year old on my way to school.

This is a big deal.

When I got home I looked the song up.

It was RESIST AND BITE by SABATON.

A band that solely sings about war history.

Yeah. To say I was perplexed would be an understatement.

I remembered I saw the band opening for IRON MAIDEN a few years back. I remembered digging them but then I had this intense feeling that I shouldn’t. They had war items on stage, for crying out loud, guns and helmets.

Their songs are war cries. They write about the awfulness of war as much as they write about the people who made a difference in history. War heroes, people who offered their lives for others.

I did a lot of research. I spent a lot of time going through their texts, trying to decide if this was too nationalistic, something that idolised war too much – too much in general.

What I found was enthusiasm for history. Texts that don’t just sound like war cries but educate about history as well as feed you with the urge to want to know more. They don’t focus on a special nation, but the people behind the deeds, trying to push forward people – anywhere – that did something extraordinary, went through something people shouldn’t have to go through.

I found artists very enthusiastic about the facts of war. People who have an extraordinary ability to write powerful music too.

So I fell flat.

And I know I put them through more scrutiny than I’d put any other band. I never really questioned IRON MAIDEN’S BRING YOUR DAUGHTER TO THE SLAUGHTER text, never questioned if that was too much. But I’m happy I did with this. It has me reading non-fiction again, which seems like a much more important change than not drinking Coke anymore and turning to Pepsi, or going from being a PC fanatic to being completely surrounded by Apple products.

Last Wednesday SABATON played in a smaller arena in my area. So when I heard they were releasing the tickets I was one of the first to buy. I’ve waited for this concert for quite some time now.

I’ve been to way too few concerts in my life but I’ve seen some powerful stage performances. I’ve seen Bruce Dickinson (IRON MAIDEN) in Göteborg – this is not to be taken lightly. He’s an immense performer. And RAMMSTEIN? Eat your heart out…

I also had some strong words to say about VOLBEAT when I saw them live back in October, but they too fade compared to this…

I also saw David Bowie in Reykjavík.

I’ve seen nothing as powerful as SABATON on Stage in Lund on an ordinary Wednesday evening. It’s hard to get Swedes going on a Wednesday. It’s hard to get them jumping and cheering any day of the week. Even drunk they tend to be a bit timid (until they get to the point they’re running around naked;)). It doesn’t mean they’re not enjoying themselves, it’s just the way they are. But SABATON managed and it didn’t hurt that their warm up band was ACCEPT who got the public going quite nicely by chanting BALLS TO THE WALLS with awesome enthusiasm, making the public participate in their shenanigans.

The show has its fair share of war helmets, tanks (I imagine when the stage allows it), the sound of guns firing and camouflage. They also have immense energy on stage and an awesome mixture of strong power metal and emotional ballads. Seeing the images from Sweden during LIVSTID I KRIG may have looked a bit nationalistic but putting those images along with the dark sadness of the text just underlined what I already knew about the band. They stir up emotions and they push you to think for yourself about this topic. First and foremost though they put on a HELL of a show and play GREAT music.

They’re taking their THE LAST STAND tour to the U.S. next. I urge you to go if you get the chance. If you like power metal or heavy metal in general seeing SABATON live is quite an experience.

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I also learned that heavy metal concerts can produce some fun silhouette images and so I’ve been having fun editing pictures of Joakim Brodén’s silhouette on stage. I’ll include these here (the top image is obviously one of those too):

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