SABATON With Hell @ KoKo, Camden

SABATON With Hell @ The Koko, Camden

16th December 2011

Review By James Griffiths

Photography by Andre Purvis

It’s a very cold Friday evening in Camden and upon exiting the tube station approximately 20 minutes before the venue doors open there is an amazing sight to behold. Hordes of fans just wrapped around the venue screaming to get in and witness the might that is Sabaton!

18:00 and the doors open bang on time to an enormous applause and cheers and its not long now till the magic starts.

18:45 hits and the only support band of the night take to the stage, HELL burst onto the stage like a bullet from a gun.

Having formed in 1982 these guy have had a turbulent time if it. Despite over five years of constant touring, the band was cruelly overlooked by the 80’s press, who just didn’t get it. Hell were too different, too extreme, too musically intelligent and far too thought provoking for all but the most enlightened to understand them.

So the question tonight is……Has this changed? The answer is YES!

While the music and the spirit of the band has pretty much stayed the same over the years, its the scenes around them that has changed and seems to have slotted right into what these guys are all about.

I myself will admit, I had never actually heard of Hell before tonight so I was shocked to hear HELL chants just before they took to the stage.

These guys may be old timers in view but from the energy that pours out of every drop of sweat during their performance would put the average teenager to shame.

Their amazing stage show is just awesome, with vocalist David Bower making many costume changes throughout the set in a matter of seconds between songs was brilliant.

The vocal range was truly outstanding on all of the tracks, opting to have a head piece mic fitted so that his hands were free to bring more to the performance which looked great.

I think we can safely say that the issues this band had in the 80’s has finally been put to rest and they can be proud in the fact they took to the stage in front of some of the most die hard fans in metal and won each and every one of them over. With a new album to be recorded in the new year I think this band will get bigger and bigger very quickly and deservedly. [9/10]

It has been a very long time since I have been to a gig where before the main act comes on stage the crowd are chanting and singing the songs of the headlining band. It shows how much the British crowd appreciate the fact that Sabaton have come back for a one off show at the end of their tour just to say thank you for voting them ‘Best Breakthrough Artists’.

In good old Sabaton tradition now the opening music is Europe’s The Final Countdown, the crowd singing along and jumping about in preparation for the onslaught that is about to smack them straight in the face.

With a mighty explosion Sabaton plough onto the stage and nothing but cheers can be heard throughout the venue. Tonight is going to be a very special night as once 4 songs are over singer Joakim Brodén announced that there will be no more set list and that the crowd will control what they play.

Obviously this could descend into chaos as trying to work out what the crowd want will be hard so to make it easier he gives them choices and the loudest cheer will be played. This made for an outstanding array of songs from their back catalogue and each song was played note perfect not just by the band but also the crowd.

This seriously was like a night of metal karaoke as not one song or line went by that the crowd wasn’t singing along with the band. It just goes to show in the short time these guys have been around how important and outstanding these guys have become.

From complaints that the metal scene was becoming boring and stagnant with bands all sounding the same and nothing new to come and relight the burning metal flame, Sabaton have don’t just that.

They are original, they have the power and the passion to carry metal through this next decade and even further.



There was no encore tonight as they wanted to play as much as possible before having to leave the stage. 21:45 came around way too fast for anyone’s liking but the end of the night had to come at some point.

Hopefully it wont be long before these shores once again see the faces and hear the music of what can only be described as the happiest band on this planet the mighty SABATON![10/10]


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