Sabaton: Historical Heavy Metal For Wargamers

Today, I want to talk a little bit about music. Many of us, myself  included, listen to music while painting minis or getting ready for a big tournament. On spotify, I’ve seen a few Flames of War and Team Yankee playlists. Common to many of them is one band: Sabaton.

Hailing from Falun, Sweden, Sabaton is unique in heavy metal that EVERY song has something to do with military history. Sabaton also has no “preference” as it were, having songs about the British, US, Russia, Germany, Serbia, Poland, and many other nations.

I have seen Sabaton live twice and met the band members, so I want to introduce you to this fantastic band as well as offer suggestions for choice songs to get you started.

Origins 

Sabaton has been around for 20 years, since 1999. Founded by singer Joakim Broden and bassist Par Sundstrom, Sabaton started out as your typical euro-power metal band. Having shredding guitars and lyrics about “true” heavy metal, vikings, and the like. If you want a sample of Sabaton’s early sound, their album “Metalizer” is a collection of these early tunes. However, the band decided they wanted to take a different approach, and turned to the extensive warfare history of the world for inspiration. This change was the magic spark Sabaton needed to break out from the pack, and they have grown into a band with legions of fans worldwide, and also have their own festival in Sweden and even their own metal cruise!

Me with Sabaton. Joakim, Par, Me, Hannes, Christian, and Tommy.

Sabaton also has a real cool youtube channel “Sabaton History”. Teaming with historian Indy Neidel, they give the history behind their songs as well as the history of the song itself. Many people the world over have cited Sabaton as inspiring them to learn about history and even helping them pass a school history exam!

The band members themselves are very laid back and friendly. Hannes was very keen on hearing about my daughter’s education and her love of aeronautics, while Joakim literally turned to their road manager to write down a song suggestion I made talking to him. They are very much a band you can be proud to be a fan of.

Joakim on stage here in Phoenix. 

Beginners Track And Album Suggestions

Here are some good starting places for inspiration in gaming as well as a good introduction to Sabaton:

The Great War (album)

For Great War players and WWI buffs, I strongly recommend Sabaton’s most recent album “The Great War”. Released just this past summer, every track highlights notable events and people of the great war. From Alvin York (“82nd All The Way”) to the Red Baron (“Red Baron”) to the advent of the tank (“The Future Of Warfare”), Sabaton really nails it on this one

Bismarck

The song “Bismarck” is special because Sabaton did it solely because the fans wanted it. According to the band on their channel, the story of the battleship Bismarck was far and away the most requested song amongst their fans. Telling the story of the mighty battleship, it is a single release that also has a music video with over 3 million views on YouTube.

Heroes (album)

Heroes was a first for Sabaton, chronicling people and units more than events and battles. As its name implies, Heroes has songs about people and units that did amazing things. From Luftwaffe pilot Franz Stigler (“No Bullets Fly”) to the all female Soviet night bomber regiment 588 (“Night Witches”) and Audie Murphy (“To Hell and Back”) this is a must for anyone getting into Sabaton.

Historical Heavy Metal

So, if you’re looking to blend your love of history with some good music give Sabaton a listen. Also, check out Sabaton History on youtube. Until then, roll hot and rock on!

Category: BritishEarly WarFlames of WarGermansGreat WarLate WarMid WarReviewsSovietsUS

5 comments

    1. Additionally, I’d add the album “The Art of War” to the list. “Ghost Division” should be heard by every Flames of War Panzer Commander.

  1. Winged Huzzars and Panzer Battalion are my favorites but there are many other Sabbton tunes I enjoy. Like you Alex, they are often playing as I paint!

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Article by: Alex Montalvo