Ahead of the release of their ninth full-length album ‘The Great War’, Metal-Wani’s Vidur Paliwal had a chance to spend a weekend with the band in Verdun and talk to the Sabaton’s bassist Pär Sundström about the new album, the ideas behind it, the plans with Sabaton History Channel and more.
The new album titled ‘The Great War’ is a concept record entirely based on the events of the First World War. But, this is not new to Sabaton, in the past, they have composed songs like “Angels Calling” and “Cliffs of Gallipoli”, but to record a complete album on the war is definitely new. On what drove the band in this direction, Pär said “Recently, last year there was the 100 years anniversary of the end of the great war. There were so many ideas popping up. Also, as a coincidence, it was the same time when we entered the studio and so it was in our head at the time.”
Besides the album release, 2019 also marks 20 years of Sabaton. Looking back at the past, he quipped in saying “We are a band which has always had big ambitions and that has not changed. What has changed is our approach, in the beginning, we were trying and not succeeding (laughs about the same). Sabaton prides themselves in deciding their own fate. We never had a manager who told us what to do, it was always our own decisions. Over the years we have made mistakes and learned from them. Now we can consider ourselves much more professional in what we do.”
On discussing the sound of the new album ‘The Great War’, Pär quotes “We aim to create as good songs as possible. We bring in different ideas and sounds to create the best songs we can. Even if we do stranger songs, for example, “Red Barron” on the new album, it’s a bit different from what we have done till now, but it still sounds Sabaton. Whenever we take a song, we make it sound Sabaton! That is our strength.”
Another project that Sabaton have recently launched is the Sabaton History Channel, with Indy Neidell (and the TimeGhost team). The channel takes one Sabaton song at a time and dissects both the musical and historical aspects of the song. This brought us to the question of what comes first, the history or the music? And the use of artistic freedom by Sabaton. Pär replied with an interesting analogy saying “Music comes first. You can imagine Sabaton like a three-stage rocket. On the third stage, the top of the rocket, there is the song with only a little bit of the story with few words and a few minutes. If they care of history, they go to the second stage, where they dig a bit deeper. This is where the Sabaton History Channel comes in, where one can find out more history. That is enough for most people, with a quick 10-minute history for each song. Then, there is the booster first-stage where we leave people to explore on their own and dig deep as they like.”