Worrying about WW3? Power Metal Sabaton may stoke your fears with “The War to End All Wars”


Mack M

The cover of Sabaton’s newest album, “The War to End all Wars”

by Mack Mullinix, Reporter

On March 4, 2022, Swedish “power metal” band of studio Nuclear Blast, Sabaton, released its newest album, The War to End All Wars, marking the ninth album and many single releases since formation in 1999.

Official Sabaton logo.

Sabaton, while well-known across Europe, is a fairly unheard of band in the United States, mostly due to the band having most of its performances in their home continent.

However, this may also be due to their choice of themes. The band’s reputation is founded on history as the main subject for almost every song , mostly focusing on European conflicts. This newest album focuses on people and battles relating to the first World War.

This love of history may most notably be seen through their YouTube channel Sabaton History, which is partnered with Swedish-American documentarian Indy Neidell. The channel seeks to bring the historical context and background to their music.

The band also makes sure to highlight the work of many other history-based YouTube channels, just recently shouting out French history channel Nota Bene, who made a video relating to one of Sabaton’s new songs.

Sabaton is most infamously known for their willingness to cover both sides of the conflicts they choose to discuss. This has lead the band to being discredited by many rock fans and politicians alike as “Nazi-sympethizers.” On multiple occasions their music as been  banned in countries like Russia and Germany.

This is truly disheartening, as I believe that all Sabaton seeks to achieve through its recounting of history is to show the effects of war and retell the stories of those brave enough to go into it. To reviewers, focusing on the fact that they say the word “Nazi” in many songs seems to discredit everything the song is about.

For example, song “Primo Victoria,” includes the word “Nazi” in the opening line, but on further examination never describes them in a good light. The song says, “Through the gates of Hell, as we make our way through Heaven, to the Nazi lines, Primo Victoria.” However many don’t care about the explanation.

In defiance of the critics, that is the reason the band’s next album would have the word “Nazi” again in the opening song of album “Attero Dominatus.” If you may still not understand that Sabaton is against that sort of stuff, song “Counterstrike” focuses on the recent conflicts in Israel.

We always say that we are a non-political band, because we do not take political stands. We are a non-religious and non-political band, but the songs are sometimes sung from a certain point of view that has a stand, but if you looked through it and tried to figure out if there was political meaning then we’d end up being communist/Nazis /Democratic r*tards

— Bass player Pär Sundstrom

The majority of Sabaton’s music is rock style power metal, mostly for its high octane energy. Usually, power metal bands sing about Sci-Fi/Dungeon and Dragon like topics. When performing and playing, most power metal bands are also known to wear very expressive clothing and grand gestures (similar to bands like KISS).

This generalization does make sense in some areas. For example, the band does wear very stylized clothing (with the band sporting matching camo pants, black shirts, and with lead singer Joakim sporting aviator glasses and a chest plate).  This may also be seen with the name of the band, Sabaton, which comes from the royal knight’s armor. Sabaton is the specific armor piece used to protect the foot.

Many critics of power metal dislike the over-the-top energetic style of music. This includes music critic and math teacher Daniel Lake, who has published  USBM: A Revoulution of Identity in American Black Metal.

Lake said, “I’m glad there are artists like Sabaton who can get a young audience excited about world history. I just wish it didn’t have to be power metal. As a style, I find power metal to be pretty silly. The songs on this album are full of flashy, hard-rocking fun, like your favorite Super Smash Bros hero gripping the ultimate power-up and rampaging toward victory, but it’s hard to take Sabaton seriously when they decide that the best way to evoke the brutality of war is through daintily rolled R’s and fussy vocal harmonies.”

Many critics share Lake’s assessment.

Freelance music writer Adrian Begrand said, “I pride myself in being one of the more, erm, permissive writers when it comes to sheer, unadulterated goofiness in heavy metal, in fact I celebrate it, but Sabaton’s strange combination of metal style (power), subject matter (depictions of real war events), image (everyone clad in snow camouflage), and stage presence (goofily jumping around like they’re KISS without make-up), was just too much to bear.”

I’ve never been the biggest fan of power metal myself. However, I don’t think that Sabaton, deserves to be dismissed.  As their style doesn’t solely revolve around the one style of music, as the whole style and tone of the song are prone to changes (Look at songs Price of a Mile, Rise of Evil, and other more slow metal heavy songs). With songs that are more flashy, they usually are set to focus on the standpoint of a person of said victorius nation. Songs like Counterstike and Valley of Death are set from the point of countries that through unlikely odds beat their competitors. Which can’t be compared to that of wars true nature.

Members of the band include Joakim Brodén on vocals, Pär Sundström on bass, Chris Rörland on guitar, Hannes Van Dahl on drums, and Tommy Johansson on guitar. Though it is important to note that only Pär and Joakim have been with the band since their inception.

Check out these recent tracks.


Song 0.5: “Sarajevo” (only on physical copies/YouTube)

Sarajevo gives a hard introduction to the intricate start of World War 1. Beginning with a narration about the death of ArchDuke Franz Ferdinand, and the first declaration of war. The song is heavy, and a bit slower than the average Sabaton song. The song makes a great introduction to the rest of the album, and does it in a very powerful way.

From a shot that could change the world. Tensions rise and war is unfurled. Nothing like what had come before. It’s the war that will end all war!

Song 1: “Stormtroopers”

StormTroopers can most notably be said as fast and furious, but at a much lower pitch. Taking inspiration from the elite class of well trained soldiers of the German army, meant to break through stalling stand stills. Most notably using the famous Blitzkrieg strategy which sought to sprint through key points with overwhelming force. StormTroopers is a great introduction to the upcoming songs compared to Sarajevo, since it carries the more common Sabaton sound.

Song 2: “Dreadnought”

Cover art of song “Dreadnought”.

Dreadnaught is a song that speaks to its namesake with great authenticity. Slow, menacing, and heavy like the ships themselves. The song fully adds to the behemoth presence that these ships had on the soldiers unfortunate enough to go against them. For context, the original Dreadnought was a ship made by the Royal British Navy. Its design was so impressive, that it made the germans fleat completely out of date. This caused the German, French, Italian, and Hungarian armies to create their own ships falling under the same design. Leading to its design covering the whole class of battleships. Sabaton lists one of their main inspirations for the song as the Battle of Jutland, a disastrous navy battle between the British and German forces that involved over 250 ships in 72 hours of bloodshed. 

Unopposed under crimson skies. Immortalized, over time their legend will rise. And their foes can’t believe their eyes, believe their size, as they fall. And the Dreadnaughts dread nothing at all

Song 3: “The Unkillable Soldier”

Promotional image for “The Unkillable Soldier”. Based On WW1 British propaganda poster.

The “Unkillable Soldier” takes focus on a more light hearted, and humorous story from a time that many only see darkness. As one can’t help but to sing along with the expressive and boisterous vocals.  The song tells the story of Sir Adrian Carton De Wiart, a Belgian soldier who served in wars from 1899-1947. Though being shot in almost every body part, losing an eye, and tearing off his own fingers, he had been documented as saying in regards to World War 1 “Frankly I had enjoyed the war.” The music video it is accompanied by adds a lot to the song, as it presents his feats almost like that of war propaganda, which may come off as comedic. The song is also heightened by the appearance of Indy Neidell, who gives a great performance as Sir Adrian.

Song 4: “Soldier of Heaven”

“Soldier of Heaven” is a song that I may only describe as breathtaking when paired with its music video. Focusing on the battles that took place in the Alps, where soldiers were common to die in extreme conditions, most notably dying to the avalanches that would frequently trigger throughout fighting. Sabaton takes a focus on that of a soldier buried by the snow. The song hits you several times with incredibly laid out lyrics, that hit the heart even after rewatching. The most notable difference it has from most of Sabaton’s work is it’s techno wave sound it utilizes throughout.

White Friday, i’ll take the Stairway to Heaven. I’m sky high, when I die. I’ll be immortal. Forever, I never. I won’t return to. Blood mountain, I am the Soldier of Heaven.

Song 5: “Hellfighters”

“Hellfighters” covers a famous, but poorly looked upon group of soldiers from the 369th Infantry Regiment. Mostly containing Black and Puerto Rican soldiers, who served for France after being refused to serve under their American bretherin. The legion of men were famous for not being the first army to go into Germany, but for also being the American regiment that served the longest during the war (191 days). It shares a similar theme and attitude to that of “Stormtroopers”, with similar speeds. However, “Hellfighters” comes into its own with its thrashing solos.

Cover art for song “Race to the Sea”.

Song 6: “Race to the Sea”

“Race to the Sea” focuses on the decision by King Albert of Belgium to flood the country, allowing Belgium to retain a sliver of the country, while the rest remained under German control. The song greatly shows how much the people of Belgium believed in their king and how they saw him as a hero for the decisions he made. When paired with its music video, the song’s heavy beats are only elevated by seeing the pounding of water by every movement the band makes.


Cover art for song “Lady of the Dark”


Song 7: “Lady of the Dark”

“Lady of the Dark” is by far the most unheard of story the album covers. Milunka Savić was a Serbian soldier, who can be summed up as the modern day Mulan. Stepping up to take her brother’s place in the army, she disguised herself as a man to fight for her country. It wasn’t until her tenth battle she was discovered to be a woman, and only after suffering an injury. After much argument to stay a part of the infantry, she was allowed to keep fighting for her country. Catchy, and with great rhythm, it’s easy to find yourself singing along, or pumping your fist to the air.


Song 8: “The Valley of Death”

The “Valley of Death” is a great showing of how Sabaton can give countries with little recognition an adrenaline pumping patriotic song. The song is about the Battle of Doiran, where Bulgarian forces were able to withstand British assault again and again. Even against a larger and more equipped force, British forces failed to capture Doiran. The song contains strong vocals, and another ecstatic solo.

Song 9: “The Christmas Truce”

Music video made for song “The Christmas Truce”

“Christmas Truce” is the most unexpected song of the album, as it deviates from normal Sabaton sound more heavenly then any previous song they have ever made (most notably seen from its use of the piano). The song has an incredible chorus (similar to that of harping angels), and an incredible guitar solo around two thirds of the way through. The song focuses on the soldiers, who instead of continuing to fight, chose to celebrate the religious occasion. As across the trenches, sights of Christmas trees, and carols could be heard, soldiers decided to call cease fire. Soldiers exchanged gifts, conversated about family, and even played games of football. The music video especially adds gravitas to how a glimpse of humanity could be found in destruction and madness.

Then all the cannons went silent. And the snow fell. Voices sang to me from no man’s land. We are all, we are all, we are all, we are all friends

Song 10: “Versailles”

“Versailles” is a mirrored song to that of Sarajevo. However, it chooses to focus on the end of the war, and its supposed aftermath after the Treaty of Versailles. With the chorus echoing that of hope and change, while the narrator questions whether this is really the end, but the start of something even bigger. Not only is the song a perfect recap to the album, but it also caps off the album preceding it “The Great War,” which also focused on stories from the major conflict.

Promotional image for “The Tour To End All Tours”

So where can you listen to the album? The whole album can be found on YouTube, with some of the songs featuring music videos. You may also find it on Spotify and other premium music streaming services. For those who prefer physical copy, Sabaton sells both CD’s and Vinyl.

The band also offers a wide range of paraphernalia. Including a newly released magazine called Camoflauge that people may receive upon ordering any item from their merch store. Sabaton specializes in making a wide amount of merchandise, not only with your basic shirts and hoodies, but also with stuff one wouldn’t first expect. These include a gaming chair, gaming mouse, dlc in game World of Tanks, underwear, and a complete board game.

It is also the perfect time to get into the band, as they recently announced that they would be returning to North America to do The Tour To End All Tours, with the band having a venue on October 6 at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland. Sabatons songs are great in person, as they are easy to sing along to, and the band always has great enthusiasm when they perform.

If there is any time to pounce into Sabaton, there may be no better time than now.