Maximum Metal Interview With Sabaton's Joakim Brodén by EC 4/12/05

Sabaton has just released their brand new album, "Primo Victoria", through Black Lodge Records. Congratulations on this new effort! It is an amazing work from top to bottom. Tell us, when did you first begin the idea behind this album and for the fans at home, give us a description of the overall theme of the record?

JB - I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the album, and I must say that I really enjoyed reading the review on your site. The idea of a war concept on the album started with me and Pär writing the lyrics to “Primo Victoria” on an early pre-production stage. At that time I had already written the lyrics to “Panzer Battalion” and Pär and I figured we needed something fitting the mood of “Primo Victoria”. And what could be more fitting than a tribute to the men who charged up the shores of Normandy sixty years ago? The result convinced us to write a concept album on the theme of war. With that decided, we let the mood of each song decide what war/battle would be most fitting for the tune.

This release is pretty much filled with war torn epics, with everything from World War I & II to Vietnam and the current middle east struggles. Military history has always been a frequent topic of heavy metal songs, with big bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Motorhead at one point or another penning lyrics around battles. Lately bands like Iced Earth (Gettysburg Trilogy) and Jag Panzer (The Mission) have written some epic battle hymns. Why did you choose your third album to really focus on this type of writing? Has our current state of affairs, with the war in Iraq and the recent 9/11 tragedy, been a major influence on the writing? Any books or films that have had an impact?

JB - We thought it would be interesting to base the album on real battles in our own time, and at the same time keeping some sort of realism. "Wolfpack", for example, is based on an actual submarine battle, which is why we’re counting all those submarine codes in the a-capella part. As far as the influences go I really don’t know of anything specific that may have inspired us, but I read a lot of Tom Clancy myself, and I guess that might have something to do with it. Movies is of course a great source of inspiration, mostly when creating music, but I guess it carries over to lyrics aswell. What happened 9/11 has to some extent influenced the lyrical content of the album, especially in songs like “Reign of Terror” and “Panzer Battalion”.

I am 28 years old and grew up with many of my family members involved in major wars. My father was in Vietnam, my uncles and grandfathers were in World War II, and my cousin right now is in Poland training as a Marine Sniper. Does the band have friends or family in the military?

JB - We ain’t got much of a military force here in Sweden, but every male citizen gets sent to some kind of “military audition” when they are 18. All of us in the band was relieved of military service except Oskar, who spent 9 months in the Swedish army (standard service time in Sweden for a private). So he will be called to battle if we are going to war. Until recently the military service here in Sweden was mandatory, but in the last 10-15 years it has become more or less voluntary.

For me this album sounds more epic than the debut "Fist For Fight". On the debut the band showed a ton of promise, really playing fast power metal with a huge dose of Teutonic heaviness. With this record I can hear more mid-tempo riffs with huge "gang" chorus stylings, evident on tracks like "Wolfpack", "Primo Victoria", and "Purple Heart". Was that the general sound you were looking for here? Were you influenced by the epic bands like Edguy and Blind Guardian any?

JB - Nobody in the band is really into Edguy or Blind Guardian, we are of course familiar with the bands and their work, some of it being first class metal. As far as the sound goes, I am never searching for a sound when I write the music, I just compose and see what happens. But you are absolutely correct in your comparison between “Primo Victoria” and our earlier work.

"I am never searching for a sound when I write the music, I just compose and see what happens."
The band has released this record through Black Lodge. How did you get involved with them?

JB - Not much of a story to tell here, we recorded the album on our own and sent it to various labels, and Black Lodge convinced us that they were the best choice for us, and so far they’ve been great. And since they’re Swedish, we can always visit them with a baseball bat if they don’t behave.

After the release of "Fist For Fight" the band went into the studio and recorded their sophomore effort, "Metalizer", which has yet to be released. To clear up some confusion, do you consider "Primo Victoria" your second or third album?

JB - We consider “Primo Victoria” our second album, “Metalizer” our first, and ”Fist For Fight” as it was originally intended, a promo to hook a record label. (who was later released by our previous Italian crap label).

Why didn't "Metalizer" come out when it was finished? Why the delay in releasing it until later this year?

JB - Don’t know, we keep getting different answers from the label all the time. They’ve promised us a release every six months the last two and a half years. Frankly, I don’t give a shit about “Metalizer” anymore, they fucked up, and they fucked up badly. “Metalizer” consists mostly of re-recorded material from “Fist For Fight” and since we regard our new material much better we don’t care.

What label will release "Metalizer" and when will it become available on store shelves?

JB - I’m still hoping it will never be released at all, not because I dislike the material, it just doesn’t represent the band today. And I don’t like the idea of our previous label cashing in on our new labels expense. Since they’re making a great job in promotion and the Italians didn’t do shit.

What are the touring plans right now and will the band hit any festivals? Any chance of visiting the US in the future?

JB - We will be playing on the Swedish festivals “Sweden Rock Festival” and “Gates of Metal”, and some gigs abroad are planned, none in the US though. We would very much like to tour the US, but sadly, it’s an economical impossibility for us today. We’ve been wanting to tour US/UK military bases for a long time now, (especially Iraq since “Panzer Battalion” is dedicated to the armoured forces fighting over there). Maybe you could pull some strings?

Again, congratulations on this new record and we wish the band the best of luck. Keep us up to date on all the band's happenings and let us know if we can do anything for you.

JB - Thank you very much, and keep writing those kickass reviews!

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