Sabaton – Swedish Empire Live

SFdFcw7TOwQyOAQgJOqz1QKkPkHZoYfHqcBPXB_WXfk1-772x1024Sometimes, a band has to be seen in the flesh at a concert to be fully appreciated. Sabaton are one of those bands. This live DVD/CD is the band’s second live offering but their first full length concert video, filmed whilst on tour in support of their latest album release Carolus Rex. It’s a generous package too: four live shows recorded AND a CD to go with it, but the main focus of this review will be the main DVD performance from the band’s show at Woodstock Festival in Poland, from which the CD is also drawn.

Sabaton’s recent years have been turbulent and well-documented; a parting of the ways saw four members leave and three come on board, but with the same military spirit that inspire their song lyrics, they have merely soldiered on and continued to work as hard as they ever did. At least their setlist remains fairly stable; Ghost Division has been the opening number for a good five years, and once again the band tear onto the stage with the song, pyros exploding in the background. Not ones to shy away from a country’s personal history either, they follow this up with Uprising to the delight of the Woodstock audience and Gott Mitt Uns from the latest record, which is fast becoming a real anthem in their catalogue. All five members sound great for the most part and in tune with one another, a positive sign that the current lineup is pulling all the right strings and continuing the high standard of music we’ve come to expect from the band; Carolus Rex is simply magical to listen to and Primo Victoria has enough force behind it to blow a freight train clean off the tracks. So far, so good.

Given that they do not currently have a live keyboard player, all parts are currently played through as backing tracks and as mentioned previously in their concert review last November on this site, it’s something that is continuing to hamper proceedings somewhat. Put simply, there are songs that need a live player to be truly powerful, an example being Cliffs of Gallipoli which is a little flat and doesn’t pack the same punch as it does usually. Joakim Brodén’s stage banter is another point; his singing voice may be as strong as ever but he sounds quite nervous when speaking to the crowd, although maybe this is his genuine personality coming through as opposed to his frontman guise, particularly as he mentions his gratitude for nobody giving the three newest band recruits any abuse whatsoever. Not that the audience seem to notice: they are in full voice and singing every single word back at the band with gusto, and the cheer that goes up when Metal Crüe dies away is deafening, to say the least.

In any event, the fact still remains that Sabaton are an exceptional live force and that, lineup changes or not, they will continue to leave their rivals in a trial of dust when it comes to putting on a show that is exciting and worth every penny. Naturally this release will only give the viewer a taster of what the band are truly like in a live setting, but if it makes them go and see a live show then all the better for it. 8/10

Sabaton lineup

Joakim Brodén – vocals, keyboards
Pär Sundström – bass, backing vocals
Chris Rörland – guitar, backing vocals
Thobbe Englund – guitar, backing vocals
Robban Bäck – drums


01. The March To War
02. Ghost Division
03. Uprising
04. Gott Mit Uns
05. Cliffs Of Gallipoli
06. The Lion From The North
07. The Price Of A Mile
08. Into The Fire
09. Carolus Rex
10. Midway
11. White Death
12. Attero Dominatus
13. The Art Of War
14. Primo Victoria
15. 40:1
16. Metal Crüe
17. Panzer Battalion (not included on CD)


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About Elliot Leaver

PlanetMosh's resident Iron Maiden fanboy and Mr. Babymetal. Also appreciates the music of Pink Floyd, Rammstein, Nightwish, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot and many others. Writing to continue to enjoy life away from the stresses of full-time employment.