I don't always like to write posts to promote a single band, but today's focus of discussion is about a fairly obscure band in a genre of its own: War Metal.
Found by me via last.fm, Sabaton is a Metal band from Sweden whose songs, lyrics, and instrumental style deal with war, soldier life and war related topics such as the Holocaust and P.o.W. camps. This band is unique because it takes numerous different "sides" in their songs--such as the Polish, Finnish, French or German during World War II for their lyrical inspiration, telling us about individual battles and events in a form most Metal fans can enjoy.
For example, in the song below, entitled "Uprising," the song's lyrics tell the listener about the Warsaw Uprising. This uprising was the rebellion of Polish civilians and militia against Nazi-occupied Warsaw, whose goal was to soften the German defense of the town as the Russians marched through Poland towards the city. Unfortunately, the rebellion was quashed due to Russia's desire to see Poland fail, causing more than half of Warsaw's citizens to be killed and 85% of the city destroyed. But enough with the history lesson, the song describes it better than I can:
I chose this song for a couple reasons: first, I generally think it's a good idea to accompany a song with a music video, to give you a scope of the plot of the song and let you see the musicians performing it. Second, the beat reminds me of a marching troop, a common theme in Sabaton's work. Lastly, being half Polish, I can't help but feel half-connected to this song and the limitless amount of respect I had for the Warsaw citizens to rise up against impossible odds.
Uprising and the next song have made the band extremely popular in Poland for obvious reasons, and wherever the band tours, if they've written a song about that country's military history, it will be played and the crowd will go insane. This might sound a bit gimmicky, but I feel that it's justified because the entire song revolves around this country's war history, unlike songs that just arbitrarily list cities the band enjoys. 40:1 (the song below) is another World War II Polish song, telling about the start of WWII--the invasion of Poland. With Nazi Germany marching East and Soviet Russia marching West, Poland was doomed, but at the battle of Wizna, with the Polish Army face odds of roughly 60:1, they held the bridge for three days against even more impossible odds and a technological disadvantage. The title of the song actually refers to the casualty count the Nazi army suffered at that battle, despite eventually taking the town of Wizna. In the video, you can see the band playing in Poland, as this battle is something to the effect of Thermopylae (300) or the Alamo for the Polish:
This band also piqued my interest in their "Metal Collage" songs they do at the end of most of their albums, where the lyrics are not-so-subtle nods to the bands that inspired their musical style. The lyrics aren't essentially "good," but the song is a lot of fun, noting how many bands are mentioned. In this video, the helpful uploader of the video pictures each band mentioned in the song (pay special attention to the pronunciation of UFO and Annihilator):
I wouldn't think this band has the lasting effect of some of our favorite bands, but I will promote them up and down as an awesome band with a unique theme to their music.
What I like about the band:
Consistent theme to their music and this consistency does not get redundant; every song has a fresh style to it, and the lyrics are enjoyable for any casual to serious history buff.
Well written music which honors those who participated in the battles/events of which the song describes.
Seem to have an amazing live show (though I will probably never get to find out, see weaknesses).
Weaknesses of the band:
Vocalist is not the clearest English speaker in the word.
They have not and do not plan to tour in America, perhaps they do not have a strong enough following here. :(
If you're looking for more songs to get into by Sabaton, I would simply go to their Wikipedia page, go through their albums and find a song title that touches on a particular aspect of the great wars that interests you. I've enjoyed every song by them that has come up on last.fm, so I can't really tell you any songs to avoid. Additionally, there are two more "Metal Collage" songs that you might enjoy if you liked "Metal Crue." There's Metal Ripper and Metal Machine (such clever titles!) that follow in suit with Metal Crue.
Keep on rockin'!
P.S.: If you're interested, this was the first Sabaton song I heard on last.fm; the sound--rather than the lyrics--were the attention grabber in this case. A straight up rocker...Warrior Soul!: