Having half a million fans chanting your bands name is a fantasy that many aspire too but only few can recall. For Swedish power metallers Sabaton, this dream became a reality last year when the (mostly) fresh-faced quintet headlined the notorious Polish Woodstock Festival in Kostrzyn nad Odrą. Swedish Empire Live (Nuclear Blast) is the bands soon to be released DVD/CD that documents this momentous occasion, amongst other things, and judging by the audio version in this writers humble hands, it was indeed a momentous occasion.
Arriving to the familiarly welcoming tune of ‘The March To War,’ Sabaton unleash a set filled with energy and grandiosity, banishing any doubts that the newest members of the crew may not be up to the high standards set before them. With seven albums to choose from, Sabaton cover ground from both the old and the new, with albums such as The Art Of War (‘Ghost Division,’ ‘Cliffs Of Gallipoli,’ ‘40:1’), Coat Of Arms (‘Uprising,’ ‘Midway,’ and ‘White Death’) and Carolus Rex (‘Carolus Rex,’ ‘The Lion From The North,’ ‘Gott Mit Uns’) all being explored.
What material, past or present, was most revered on this night in Poland however, is a hard question to decipher as the admiration for the five-some constantly streams from the voices below, all of which appear to be immensely enjoying the war-themed metal they are being fed from the stage. This encapsulation of the fans adulation for the Swedes however, doesn’t just add to the album: it makes it. Spine-tingling at times and heart-warming at others, the supporters love for all things Sabaton is fantastic to hear and it’s a sentiment reflected in Broden’s heartfelt interactions with them.
Capturing the atmosphere and spirit of the show, Swedish Empire Live provides a glimpse into a night that must have been amazing to experience first-hand. For those who didn’t however, this recording will give you a glorious insight into it, even if it does leave you kicking yourself in the knackers for not being part of it.