Interview with Joakim Brodén (Sabaton)

Swedish heavy metal heroes SABATON are set to release their new album ‘The Great War’ on July 19th, 2019. Rohan spoke with frontman Joakim Brodén about the emotional rollercoaster that was making this amazing album. 

Does bombastic, hooky and energetic heavy metal force you to go crazy – in a good way? Well then, unless you have been crawling in muddy trenches for the last two decades, you have been exposed to the majestic firepower of history-loving metal giant SABATON. Since SABATON‘s inception on the threshold of a new millennium, these powerful Swedes have been conquering battlefield after battlefield – of course, only those musical ones, as no-one is supposed to perish under the treads of this merry metal machine – and along the wondrous path, SABATON has practically done and seen it all within the realms of explosive heavy metal. A grand pile of gold and platinum – quadruple platinum in case of 2012’s “Carolus Rex” – selling albums? Check! Crowd-commanding headline shows at largest European festivals, such as Polish Woodstock in front of half a million devoted admirers? Check! High profile tours in Australia, Asia and both American continents – including victorious performances at prestigious events like Japanese Loud Park and Ozzfest USA? Check! Despite such unforgettable accomplishments, SABATON has never been a troop that likes to dwell in the past. For this unstoppable heavy metal panzer, there has always been just one window of opportunity: to march fearlessly towards next challenges.

As we speak, SABATON is reaching the twentieth anniversary as a band. What would be the most appropriate way to celebrate this tremendous milestone – and set our targets on the future at the same time? Naturally, there is only one option: to unleash the ninth missile into the heart of the heavy metal world. In other words, SABATON‘s new album – another concept record from the vaults of fascinating military history – is completed and we couldn’t be more satisfied with it, says SABATON bassist and lyricist Pär Sundström – and continues: „The title of our new magnum opus is “The Great War”, and within its rich musical and lyrical journey, we dive into the gloomy and bloody atmosphere of World War I. This frantic war shook the whole planet during 1914-1918 and caused devastating consequences that still echo to this day. World War I was also supposed to be the war to end all the wars. Well, today, we, unfortunately, know a little bit better…“ If you are any familiar with the epic sounds of SABATON, you know that these gents are no strangers to cheerfully diverse and catchier-than-glue style of heavy metal. Well, no need to be worried: epic-sounding “The Great War” takes everything to another level. „The contrast between the brutality of merciless war and heroic sacrifices made by humans of any kind is reflected on seminal tracks – both on compositions and lyrics“, states Sundström.

Once again, SABATON‘s musical rollercoaster has been masterminded by singer and lyricist Joakim Brodén. “Maybe needless to say, but I am pursuing each of our records to be the absolute best we’ve ever done. Because of this, the writing process is always immensely emotional and challenging, but also extremely rewarding ride. And time-consuming… I’m always double-checking just about everything in order to come up with the most fascinating SABATON-manufactured heavy metal ” With utterly delightful The Great War, SABATON is able to combine two extremely important elements: here and there, the band fires it up on more familiar territories, only to storm into untouched zones during next moment.

„”The Great War” is 100% pure SABATON album, but that being said, we’re also taking the listener on a wild ride with severe twists and turns“, smiles Brodén and goes on to say: „I don’t want to reveal too much, but the new longplayer kicks off with a curveball, making desired space into more distinguished, multilayered and melodically rich SABATON metal lunacy. There are more surprises along the way and record is finally completed by a rather special piece… Well, you just have to be patient for a little while!“

If World War I was supposed to be the end (of that kind of inhuman behavior), “The Great War” is nothing like that for SABATON: in fact, this colossal piece of art may eventually turn out to be the last piece in the puzzle leading for a total domination in the world of heavy metal. „SABATON’s next world tour – obviously titled “The Great Tour” – begins with number of European festival appearances, including our 20-year-anniversary headline spot on holy grounds of Wacken Open Air“, tells Sundström and adds: „After summer shows, SABATON will give no mercy whatsoever, as we will be visiting all possible and impossible corners on our beloved planet. The actual touring cycle starts from North America in October and after that… Well, let’s put it this way: “The Great Tour” will be lengthy and ferocious, but gratifying one“.

For now, one last thing remains: what really was the band’s main goal with “The Great War”? „To build up f***ing impressive SABATON album that will go down in the history of harder music“, states Brodén, without any hesitation.

Well, lads… Target locked, missile fired and mission completed!

The release of SABATON’s ninth full-length record perfectly coincides with the band’s 20th anniversary and the concept album is based on events during the First World War.

This ninth full-length record, that will see the light of day right in time for the band’s 20th anniversary, will be a concept album based on events during the First World War and will be available in different formats:

CD-Digi (History Edition) incl. narrated parts in addition to the album tracks
CD (Album Edition)
2CD Earbook (Album + History Edition)
180g LP (History Edition)
180g LP (Album Edition)

“The Great War” tracklist:
01. The Future Of Warfare
02. Seven Pillars Of Wisdom
03. 82nd All The Way
04. The Attack Of The Dead Men
05. Devil Dogs
06. The Red Baron
07. Great War
08. A Ghost In The Trenches
09. Fields Of Verdun
10. The End Of The War To End All Wars
11. In Flanders Fields

“The Great War” will be available worldwide through Nuclear Blast Records on July 19th.

Pre-order the album here:

The band started the recordings exactly 100 years after the end of the First World War (11/11/1918) and took 3 months of intensive work to complete the album together with their long term producer and partner Jonas Kjellgren at Black Lounge studios. Furthermore, the album has been mastered by Maor Appelbaum and the artwork was once again created by Peter Sallaí.

“This is not the first time we have sung about stories from this period in time, but now we felt the timing was right to make a full concept album about this war”, explain the band.

In addition, SABATON posted this trailer revealing more details about the amazing artwork – watch it here:

Alongside the album, the Swedes have worked hard to make their 20th year anniversary a very exciting year, and also started the SABATON History Channel – a unique collaboration between the band themselves and multimedia historians Indy Neidell and Timeghost – capturing the power of social media to tell stories about the wars, battles and heroes behind SABATON’s songs. Subscribe to the YouTube channel via this link:

“This is the biggest album we have taken on so far.There is more depth and story around the songs that we have ever had before”, Pär Sundström announces. “Expect many surprises as we have tried new things and we also went back in time to a concept we know a lot of you love. The Great War has been created side by side with the Sabaton History Channel to make 2019 the most exciting year in our 20 year history.”

More info: