Released: 2005, Black Lodge/Sound Pollution
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Sabaton was formed during 1999 and began by recording a few songs in the well known Abyss Studio. They received many offers from labels and signed a contract with an Italian label; the first step releasing a promo CD called FIST FOR FIGHT, so far so good. One year after the first recording, they return to Abyss to work with Tommy Tägtgren on their first album, by the name METALIZER. When the album was recorded they played numerous gigs through Sweden, in anticipation of the release of METALIZER. After two years of waiting Sabaton are pissed off and decide to enter the Abyss studio to record PRIMO VICTORIA; out of their own pockets and with no back up from any label.
With the release of PRIMO VICTORIA the offers come in a steady stream and they negotiate with several international labels. With the album in their hand they could set their own terms for a contract, and after months of negotiations the band decides to join the ranks of Sound Pollutions metal division, Black Lodge.
And now, finally it’s time for Sabaton, based in Falun Sweden, to release their “debut” album PRIMO VICTORIA. The Abyss studios have every piece of equipment possible to make an extraordinary production, and also an extraordinary producer, Tommy Tägtgren. I have never heard anything bad coming out of an Abyss production, because Tommy (and also his brother Peter) certainly knows what he is doing. And even if Tommy is used to producing more brutal and extreme acts than Sabaton, he has done an outstanding job. It sounds epic, majestic, and varied, with Tommy leaving enough room for the sharp guitars and lead vocals to impress. Luckily, he has narrowed down the use of keyboards. Sabaton are in the sub-genre, power metal, but they sound a little harder than the typical PM setting; the band has a lot of benefits when it comes to sticking out of their genre.
The guys play a somewhat harder kind of power metal with the main focus on Joakim’s phenomenal dark voice, along with some really razor sharp guitars. Joakim has an enormous vocal ability, and to be a power metal singer he has a very dark voice; something that makes the band a bit different from other power metal bands. The music is extremely well played and contains a lot of tempo changes. Oskar and Rikard are impressive on guitar, with the rhythm section contributing with a mighty foundation. As I mentioned earlier, the keyboard playing is narrowed down, and they do a good deed in focusing on the guitars and lead vocals. The keyboards are, by the way, played by Joakim. Something that makes Sabaton similar with other PM bands, are the really catchy and ‘sing a long’, friendly choruses. Compared to one of the most successful Swedish power metal bands, Hammerfall, Sabaton play a little bit harder and faster power metal, and I think that Sabaton can appeal to the crowd that usually doesn’t listen to PM, because of their harder style.
Sabaton play 9 tracks on PRIMO VICTORIA, and just by taking a short glance at the titles you’ll see that most of the tracks are about war and similar topics. PRIMO VICTORIA is an asskicking album and just 9 tracks are not enough; I want to hear more. All of the 9 tracks are well structured and well arranged with strong melodies and choruses; the high quality lasts through the whole album and there’s not one track that feels left behind.
The cover artwork looks like a typical PM cover and seems to reflect the theme of the lyrics pretty well. Sabaton are already booked for a few festivals such as, Sweden Rock Festival and Gates of Metal, here in Sweden; hopefully more dates are going to be added. Sabaton are definitely a band worth keeping an eye on, and I strongly recommend this album to anyone who likes power metal or fans of traditional heavy metal.
I have nothing negative to say about PRIMO VICTORIA, every song being a killer track; what else can we expect from such a stunning album.