REVIEW: Sabaton Takes Huntington To Hell and Back

Swedish heavy metallers Sabaton returned to the states for yet another tour, this time co-headlining with Kreator, on what is being dubbed the North American Tour 2018 – as opposed to Sabaton’s 2017 headline run, The Last Tour, in support of their most recent album The Last Stand. Let’s get it out of the way right now: I’m a huge Sabaton fan, and this was my 4th time seeing them since April 2015 when they supported Nightwish on their Endless Forms Most Beautiful tour – twice as support, and now twice as the headliner – and after not knowing who they were less than three years ago, they’re now one of my favorite bands, so of course I was making the drive out to Huntington to catch them at The Paramount.

Needless to say, I have only great things to say about a band I love as much as Sabaton. They are what they are, which is a gimmicky metal band that also happens to make amazing music despite multiple lineup changes and what was effectively a completely new band under the Sabaton name just three years ago as Joakim Broden’s bandmates essentially quit on him. Sabaton endured, though, and continues to thrive and sell out shows around the world as they take fans into battle with what I lovingly refer to as “war music”.

Of course, with any band whose repertoire consists of so many killer tunes, there are going to be omissions from the setlist that myself and I’m sure many others would love to hear. Out of the 17 songs Sabaton went through, noticeably absent was The Lost Batallion, but in its place was White Death, which I can live with. What continues to disappoint me for the past three tours – the two headline tours and the supporting tour with Trivium in 2016 – is that the band has stopped playing Metal Crue, which I still think should close every show and probably should have been played in place of Cliffs of Gallipoli (sorry, I never liked that song) and in instead of Sparta or Night Witches, I’d much rather hear Aterro DominatusPrice of a Mile or Gott Mit Uns – or any combination of those three.

But, between the obligatory open with Ghost Division and the inclusion of the fan-favorite Swedish Pagans – that song never gets old – and one they haven’t played live in a long, long time in The Final Solution combined with mainstays from previous tours like Carolus RexResist and BitePrimo VictoriaShiroyama and To Hell and Back, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the band’s setlist, but it definitely could have been improved from a diehard fan’s standpoint with even one or two changes to include any of the previously mentioned songs.

I don’t know where I’d be without Sabaton. They aren’t quite AC/DC or Nightwish in terms of what their music means to me, and I don’t even want to imagine life without either of those bands – though I’m slowly adjusting to AC/DC as I knew it being over – but they’re definitely up there in terms of my favorite bands and music I couldn’t live without. I’ll see Sabaton any chance I can get and I’m even considering making a trip to Falun, Sweden, for Sabaton Open Air. The band never disappoints and delivered once again with their usual stellar performance at The Paramount.

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