Sabaton / Kreator

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Sabaton w. Kreator and Cyhra

The Palace

Calgary, Alberta

Feb 17th, 2018

by JP

Photos by Jeff 

In some sense this is going to be a bit of a non-review. has interviewed and review Sabaton and Kreator many, many times over the years often on the same tour! Sometimes a reviewer just wants to sit back and enjoy the show without micro-analyzing set-lists, stage moves, stage design, banter, the crowd etc. There are many, many variables that go into making a good performance and sometimes it is the intangibles. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words so our photographer Jeff is doing the heavy lifting on this review.

I had the very pleasant experience of having dinner with Kreator and made it to the venue just in time for Cyhra. The three-band bill was performing at The Palace, an old converted movie theater with great sightlines and a multiple-tier balcony design. Despite the cold and snow the walk-up sales were strong and I heard that the 1000 capacity venue was sold out.

Cyhra has a bit of buzz with it’s ‘all-star’ status, although it was odd to see them perform with a bassist as Peter Iwers (ex-In Flames) was absent. Drummer Alex Landenburg (ex-Rhapsody) is probably underutilized, but a gig is a gig! Super smooth, super melodic these pros were a grat warm-up. Vocalist Jake E (ex-Amaranthe , ex-Dreamland) can pull it off live very easily!

Kreator basically just melted everyone’s faces. Many (most?) of the people I talked to were there to see Kreator but even I admit that it was Sabaton’s night and their crowd.   It is almost as if Kreator’s ripping thrash is too heavy for the fans of the bouncy and anthemic Power Metal of Sabaton. Kreator played a chunk of tracks from the latest album GODS OF VIOLENCE and the rest was a NICE mix of their hits, ‘Phobia’, Flag of Hate’ and so on.

Sabaton played some entrance music, their cover version of ‘In The Army Now’ Seemed very appropriate!   I had a bet with my photographer about what song they would open with. He said ‘Ghost Division’, I was not so sure. He won. He probably cheated and looked at the set-list! (Not true!) They opened the show with the same song they have for they last several tours it seems, this is the band fourth time in town and the fourth time they opened the show with it. ‘Ghost Division’ is a great song but they could mix it up a bit!   Tommy Johanssen (Reinxeed) was still filling in on guitar…it was only 10 months ago they were here at the same venue, they tour very heavily. On a side note, their tour bus looked awesome, sponsored by the videogame World Of Tanks.

The banter from Joachim was a better this time, he was in a good mood. Last time they played in Calgary in 2017, I heard via grapevine that he had missed the birth of his son (or something) so his stage performance was a bit down. The time before that in 2014 it was like watching a comic at a comedy club with him telling tons of jokes. This time was the perfect balance.   On previous tours he lead the crowd in a sing-along of the song ‘YMCA’, which is fun, but trying to follow Kreator, it would be a bit risky…so they switched it up and did a very quick impromptu jam of ‘Master Of Puppets’, instead. Much more Metal!

In the past I’ve chatted with friends, in person and on-line, about the future of Metal. Inevitably people ask, “Who is going to be the next Iron Maiden or Judas Priest?” I can see Sabaton being one of those contenders. The rear-screen projector and visually looked just stunning.


It was a really fun night, I had seen each band (except the openers) many times before and it was more of a social occasion for me, moving about the venue, bumping into a dozen different friends in different places, chatting enjoying different viewpoints as the very familiar songs that pummeled my head. I’ve never seen these bands do a bad show and tonight was no different.