Currently embarked on a pretty large European tour billed as 'The Last Tour' in support of their latest album 'The Last Stand', Sabaton have just finished their four date stint in the UK, with the last date being in London at the O2 Academy Brixton.
Support for the evening was from "Twilight Force" and with special guests "Accept"
Twilight Force: Are a six piece band from Sweden and have just released their new album "Heroes of Mighty Magic", the first to be released under their new label ( Nuclear Blast Records). They play power metal with the themes for the songs being based on fantasy stories. With the venue doors only opening at 6:50pm and with the band on-stage at 7pm it was a bit of a struggle even for me to get into the venue and be at the front to see the start of the bands performance. They started their set with hardly anyone in the venue, which I thought was a bit of a shame as by the time that everyone had got in and bought their first pint the band had just about finished their set. With the band, dressed in costumes that reminded me of characters from the Lord of the Rings they gave a great performance and the only thing lacking was perhaps a guest vocal appearance from Gollum??!!..A great opening act and one that the audience did appreciate once they had actually got into the venue.
Accept: this German heavy metal band have been around for many many years now and were originally led by Udo Dirkschneider. They are a band that have had lots of past members and several break ups and reunions but still have one original member in the band, Wolf Hoffmann (guitar). Now led by Mark Tornillo ( vocals) since 2009 they seem to be going from strength to strength, with their fourteenth studio album 'Blind Rage' (released in 2014) being their latest album. Playing a super set of ten songs starting with 'Stampede' from the latest album and following this with 'Stalingrad' from their 2012 album of the same name, they were out to make a point that their latest material really is as good as the early stuff.
With the audience egged on by Wolf on a few occasions, (but they really didn't need too much egging on !), they got the audience into full voice with added chanting and jumping when required. They finished off their set with 'Teutonic Terror' from the 2010 'Blood Of The Nations' album and the super 'Balls To The Wall' from the 1983 album of the same name. What an absolute joy it was to watch this band playing live again and hope that they come back to the UK soon and do a full headline tour themselves.
Sabaton: Time now for another Swedish act, but this time they theme their songs around war time events and famous battles. Having been around since 1999 they have slowly and steadily been growing their UK audience and this time the venue was large enough for them that they could use their full stage set that includes a tank with the drum kit as the turret section, a super back drop video screen and not forgetting their pyrotechnic effects, which they used on just about every song during the night. This band are so large in their home country that they have their own open air festival, their own radio station and also their own cruise!! So it really is about time that the UK got behind them and supported this super band.
They opened their set with 'Ghost Division' from the 2008 'The Art Of War' album but as this tour was in support of their eighth album, 'The Last Stand' (that was released in August), they then played 'Sparta', it being one of the six songs that they played from the new album. This was the first time that I had seen the band with their new guitarist Tommy Johansson, whom I have to say seemed to fit seamlessly into the lineup and to mix things up a bit they played 'The Final Solution' from the 'Coat Of Arms' album acoustically with 'new boy' Tommy playing the keyboards.
Joakim (vocals) interacted with the audience very well all night with some little jokes about how he was to be Michael Jackson's guitarist on the tour that never happened... how he started out with the band as their keyboard player...just before the rest of the band quickly 'booted' him off the keyboards saying he was rubbish at playing them..and he also mentioned that he was told the UK would not 'get' Sabaton and to not bother with the UK....Well I for one am glad he didn't listen to those people and that they do come to the UK and from tonight's audience I would say the UK is just about 'getting' Sabaton now...
They finished the night off with 'Primo Victoria', 'Shiroyama' and 'To Hell And Back'. It may have taken them over ten years to get to play to an audience big enough to fill the O2 Academy Brixton, but after tonight's performance I don't think it will take too much longer now for them to fill such places like the SSE Arena at Wembley...
A super night's entertainment and one topped with not one, but two, really great bands coupled with a great opening act.
1: Ghost Division
3: Blood of Bannockburn
4: Swedish Pagans
5: Carolus Rex
6: The Last Stand
7: Far From The Fame
8: Winged Hussars
9: The Final Solution (Acoustic)
10: Resist and Bite
11: Night Witches
12: The Lion from the North
13: The Lost Battalion
14: Union (Slopes of St. Benedict)
15: Primo Victoria
17: To Hell and Back
Words by: Robert Sutton
Images by: Robert Sutton Photography
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