The last time that the US territories had a visit from Sabaton was back in September 2011 when the band was opening up for Evergrey at this very same venue and at that show their singer vowed that the band would return for the fans in a headlining sense. Well, lucky for us he was not kidding because here we were back at the Gramercy Theatre and ready to experience The Swedish Empire Tour up close and personal. This evening would find only one opener in the local boys of Sanitarius and we made sure to see them as well for good measure since some of our audience of readers have said that we should try to do so if at all possible. Click the logo below to be brought to the full concert report and photo gallery and then come back to scroll further through this blog posting to enjoy some side images and other thoughts about the night.
Venue: Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY)
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
The Metal Month of May was starting off like the firing from a cannon with the Power Metal band Sabaton who prepared to entertain their loyal fans on the second leg of “The Swedish Empire Tour”. The band had been in the States for a few weeks to my knowledge and tonight’s show would actually be my second time seeing the band even though they had been around for over a decade. The last gig was when they opened up for Evergrey at this very same venue and I have to admit that I don’t recall them ever appearing in our region before that show last September. It’s very likely they had never done so before. That show found me admitting that the band was very new to my Metal ears but they pulled out the stops and impressed me greatly. As a matter of fact, I knew fans that had only come to that particular show for Sabaton and they had very little interest in Evergrey and left during their set. At the end of the gig their singer Joakim promised us that they would soon return and return they would but in an almost entirely different configuration. At the end of March, Broden had made it public that most of the band would be going their separate ways and that meant guitarists Oskar Montelius and Rikard Sundén, drummer Daniel Mulback and keyboardist Daniel Mÿhr would be departing Sabaton for reasons that were never made public. The tour would now bring in members Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund on guitar, and Robban Bäck on drums. The search for a keyboard player would go on and until they found one they would be using piped in recordings of the instrument. So how would this work out? Here is how the show went down for those who didn’t manage to make it into the city tonight.
This particular tour didn’t have any other “name” bands on it and would instead be supported by local talent which I don’t have to tell you can be a hit or a miss kind of thing. Lucky for New York City this would come via the Staten Island based Sanitarius who played a very accessible type of Thrash Metal with a hint of Progressive Metal tossed in for good measure. The band while young has been playing together for a few years so they have a nice tightness to them. My only critique was the frequent use of joking sort of banter which I felt didn’t fit in all that well with the type of music they were trying to play. Beyond that I did enjoy their set and learned that they would be opening up for Loudness in a couple of weeks at B.B. Kings. The crowd did seem into them which was nice to observe for the local side and they offered up “Into The Pit” by Testament along with a healthy dose of their own originals and the cover incited a little extra moshing from the audience. I was not certain if they had a full length CD or only a couple of EP’s. I did learn that songs would be easy to find on CD Baby. If you see their name connected to a show that you are attending they are worth a look.
By the time that Sabaton was ready to come on there were already what appeared to be well over three hundred bodies in the room. This was pleasant to see for our city because a very reliable source who had caught them in both Albany and Poughkeepsie said that attendance had been dismal at both shows. Nice work NYC Metal fans. Anyway, after a taped into of Europe’s “The Final Countdown” the band arrived to the stage with a powerful drive and the musicians were there first getting everyone’s fist pumping and excited. The applause was there immediately even though most of the players were new to this group of fans. Only Par Sundstrom was a familiar face at this point in time because we still were waiting on Joakim to hit the boards. When the armor sporting, aviator shades wearing singer did come out the place went crazy. His presence on stage is immediately likable because he is so into the whole thing. It’s hard not to find yourself getting into the band quickly even if you are new to the material because he makes it so much fun. They would open with “Ghost Division” from their “Art Of War” album and then it was onto “Uprising” from the more recent 2010 effort “Coat Of Arms”. For those who are not in the “know” about the group, they have a strong military context to their writing and almost all of the songs are about historic battles or legendary military people. The “Art Of War” album is actually about the writings of the Chinese General Sun Tzu.
The whole performance was an energetic one and the band and singer were smiles from beginning to end. They had to love the positive response that they were getting and whenever Joakim commanded a reaction, he received it back tenfold. Talk about the audience sending necessary positive vibes back to the stage. It’s often rare to find it being this pure and I loved it as well. This show started a little bit early than some of the others so some fans were scrambling in as the first and second number played through but they made up for lost time and when I glanced around I was seeing a pretty loaded floor and bleachers for the group. Joakim did all of the talking and the first amusing exchange was when he described how interesting it was coming into the states on the record label of Nuclear Blast and having to say that they were on the Swedish Invasion Tour. Clearly this was not appreciated by the border gates but at least the band got here in one piece with no apparent incident. He discussed the old days when the Vikings ruled the seas for the song “Swedish Pagans” and he thanked the USA for their part in the war because he said thanks to our involvement they are all not speaking German at this point in time. The band’s new album is called “Carolus Rex” and we got that title track but nothing more. I guess that with their first ever headlining set that they wanted to deliver more of their older material. That made sense because back in 2008 the Nuclear Blast label re-issued special editions of their catalog with bonus tracks and other cool extras. There was even a live album that we got last year so a lot of ground to cover for a band that is still kind of new to the fans of this part of the world.
As the set and night drew to a close Joakim took a moment to thank the fans about their receiving the new members of the group. He said that there was not a single show where they were given any shit about being in the place of the other members and this pleased him. I will say that even though I had only seen Sabaton once before, that the new players truly rocked and I wish them the best in their new official stations in this Metal army. “Primo Victoria” had the entire audience singing along, and the final song of the night would be “Metal Crue” that ended the set explosively. With no other label act of note, once Sabaton was done the show was over and the venue cleared out rather quickly. The merchandise was moving fast and that was also nice to observe. Closing up I had to admit that Sabaton was a solid bet if you were looking to be entertained and receive a great show for your dollar. I hope that they come back with another quality name for either a headlining show or perhaps as the direct support for someone even bigger than they are. I’ll be looking into getting a copy of their latest album for sure but first I will blast the live release a few more times and work up some kind of review. Now is probably the best time to find yourself getting into Sabaton if you have not done so already. With all the provisions from Nuclear Blast Records, it would be considered an act of treason to do otherwise.
Full Sabaton Photo Gallery: http://piercingmetal.com/sabaton-live-photos-gramercy-theatre-542012/
1. The Final Countdown
2. Ghost Division
5. Cliffs of Gallipoli
7. The Art of War
8. Into the Fire
9. Carolus Rex
10. Swedish Pagans
11. Attero Dominatus
12. The Price of a Mile
13. Coat of Arms
14. Primo Victoria
15. Metal Crüe
Now for some side images. This was the very first time that the guys would be doing a headlining tour and making a stop in NYC so it was without hesitation that I snared a photograph of the marquee. I really enjoyed the guys that last time around and felt that a headlining show was just what they deserved. With this being the first time ever doing so in the Big Apple, it had to be awesome to see this sight from the tour bus.
As this was a military exercise in Metal, the stage was adorned in a very battlefield kind of manner. Check it out.
And I shot this one to see if there were any specialty guitar picks. I hunt for those nowadays. It happens.
The guys had some awesome shirts up for the taking if you had the proper financial renumeration for their man at arms. Take a look at the goods below.
For the past year or so I have been trying to snap some shots of the fans because when I am up in the front line taking my photos, I sometimes get the chance to meet some very cool people and at the end of the day I have to say that I admire the unwavering allegiance to the Metal scene that they are putting out there. I apologize if a couple of these look the same. It’s the thought that counts.
Be sure to check this band out when they return because they very much deliver. You will not regret it.
Official Website: http://www.sabaton.net