On Saturday April 22, 2017, Swedish Pagan superstars Sabaton rolled their war machines (sans drum riser tank which was only used at the NYC show) into Worcester, Massachusetts as the headliners of the 2017 edition of the New England Metal Festival.
The fans in attendance at The Palladium, most of who had been there since noon that day, had reached a fever pitch by the time fellow Swedes Katatonia finished their set and the changeover began for Sabaton. Fog machines cast a cloudy backdrop on the stage, with Sabaton’s makeshift machine gun and army helmet microphone stands gave off the atmosphere of an empty battlefield before the dawn of battle.
As the lights dimmed, the crowd roared in anticipation with deafening chants of Sabaton! filling the packed theater. The familiar sounds of In The Army Now (cover of thed Bolland and Bolland song and bonus track on the Carolus Rex album) blared from the house P.A. The band took to the stage and launched into their opening number Ghost Division. The band were on fire running from each end of the stage to the other as lead vocalist, the charismatic and commanding Joakim Brodén led the charge, the crowd feeding off the energy of the band and vice versa.
At this point in their careers, Sabaton are a well-oiled machine. Brodén is the consummate frontman, engaging the crowd and cracking jokes. New guitarist Tommy Johansson ( of the band Reinxeed) is a fantastic guitarist as well as a superb vocalist in his own right and is the perfect compliment to fellow axeman Chris Rörland. Drummer Hannes Van Dahl and bassist Pär Sundström are the backbone of the band. Because of the time restraints of the festival the band had to keep the talk to a minimum and crank out as many songs as possible, including crowd favorites The Art of War, Blood of Bannockburn, Night Witches, and the ever-present set highlight, Primo Victoria. Alas, the shortened set meant that quite classics were cut from the set, including Swedish Pagans, Metal Crüe, and 40-1. Never the less, the band put on an incredible show, ending the night in grand fashion with To Hell And Back and sending the packed house home happy.
Sabaton have worked incredibly hard to build their audience in the U.S. market and their current U.S. tour is a testament to all that hard work paying off with a show that was worthy of their headline status.
Photos courtesy of Blazing Metal Photography : https://blazingmetal.smugmug.com