Sabaton: Teaching History with Heavy Metal

(Image credit: Steve Brown)

Sabaton are a five-piece heavy metal band from Falun, Sweden. Their name is a reference to a knight’s foot armor. The sabatons, made of riveted iron plates, were the first piece of armor to be put on.

Combining soaring power riffs with distinctive deep vocals, Sabaton’s lyrics focus on the history of war, from ancient battles to modern acts of heroism. They are one of the most successful metal bands in Swedish history.

The band’s electrifying live show – which features a full-sized and firing tank – has won numerous industry accolades. (The band members also like playing World of Tanks between shows!)

Sabaton’s most recent album, “The War To End All Wars” (2022) reached #1 position on the charts in several countries including Germany, Sweden, Finland and Poland.

The Music

Featuring vocalist Joakim Brodén’s instantly-recognisable gruff baritone, Sabaton sings of real-life wars and the people who played a part in them – of gruelling campaigns and dazzling acts of bravery, of magnificent victories and touching personal struggles – true stories more fantastic than any fiction.

“Laugh at us, how we dress, everything. But what we sing about, that’s not a joke,” said Joakim in a Metal Hammer magazine interview. “We tell stories about what happened. People forgetting about it, that would make their sacrifice in vain, so I have no moral issues about it. If I was one day to become a millionaire singing about this, I would be proud because it would mean that so many people would have heard these stories.”

The band has released ten studio albums:

Primo Victoria – About various wars and battles including the Normandy landing, the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Wolfpack Hecht U-boat attacks on Allied merchant ships, the Six-Day War (1967 Arab–Israeli War), the Battle of Stalingrad, the Vietnam War, and also a song about the Purple Heart.

Attero Dominatus About resistance movements and tyrannies falling.

Metalizer – This was actually their first recorded album and it contains a song about the Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft, the Nazgul from The Lord of the Rings, and a song from the perspective of a victim of the Spanish Inquisition, among other things.

The Art of War – Every song is themed around one of the 13 chapters from the ancient Chinese military treatise of the same name.

Coat of Arms Each song is about an event from the Second World War.

Carolus Rex – The rise and fall of the Swedish empire from 1611-1719.

Heroes – All about heroes from WW1 and WW2.

The Last Stand – Famous last stands. For example, “The Last Stand” is a song about the 189 brave soldiers of the Swiss guard during the sacking of Rome in 1527.

The Great War – About the World War 1.

The War to End All Wars – About World War 2.

The Movie

Sabaton has also launched the never-been-done-before “History Rocks” project. At the centre of this global charity initiative stands the band’s new animated film, The War To End All Wars – The Movie.

Developed in partnership with Yarnhub Animation Studios, the 67-minute musical film vividly tells the World War I tales from Sabaton’s “The War To End All Wars” album.

The War To End All Wars – The Movie will mark its global premiere in museums in the two weeks surrounding Armistice Day, when it will be screened by participating museums around the world from November 4-19, 2023.

The goal of this project is to encourage more young people to visit their local museums and take an interest in history. The movie will not be shown in cinemas and will not be available on any streaming platforms.

Click here to find a screening near you! (There are too many to list on one page so click on the drop-down menu to filter by country.)

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