With a mammoth trek across the UK and beginning to draw to a close, excitement seems pretty high for band and fans alike in anticipation of Swedish power metallers Sabaton’s biggest UK show to date. Add to the mix that it was announced that London would be not only filmed for an upcoming DVD release from the band, but would also be their first UK performance with their full festival stage setup and tonight becomes a very important date for the hordes of power metal fans (some in camo gear of course) who are out and ready for a good time this Friday night.
Kicking off proceedings are Hungary’s own Wisdom, who with a very typical power metal sound are very apt opening act. Despite being on their first ever UK/European tour run, the noticeable amount of people in Wisdom merch suggests that these guys have made quite an impression throughout the tour, and the response they get right from the first note more than confirms their suitability. Their anthemic brand of power metal brought a storm down in front, especially on the guaranteed to succeed Iron Maiden cover of “Wasted Years” (complete with Bruce’s trademark “Scream for me…” call to arms). In fact the only people who seem to be enjoying themselves at the front are those guarding the stage; and such a response is a sure sign that these guys have made a fair few new friends.
Up next is Switzerland’s own Eluveitie, who’s melodic death/folk metal mix makes them stand out like a sore thumb on a giant’s hand stylistically, but they appear to have a great fanbase along for the ride. They arrive to a hero’s welcome from much of the audience. Live these guys display both sides of their music from the heavier likes of ‘Inis Mona’ to the more fragile with their stunning rendition of ‘A Rose For Epona’. They may prove very different to both bands either side of them on the bill but they are no less impressive or fun.
Montages of war footage on the screens signals the imminent arrival of the headliners, followed by the intro tape leading in to a rapturous ‘Ghost Division’. Sabaton simply explode on to the stage right from the get go. Frontman Joakim seems to have the endless energy, jumping and running around the stage constantly; other than a brief spell where sat behind a keyboard (a chance to play a few bars of some Abba and Van Halen’s Jump).
Much has been said of the band’s extraordinary lineup changes earlier in the year but the new members show a great chemistry already and work as a formidable unit. Most importantly the whole band are visibly having the time of their lives. Newer numbers from their latest “Carolus Rex” album also go down hugely well; the likes of ‘Gott Mit Uns’, ‘The Carolean’s Prayer’ (sang in Swedish) and the title track being received just as well as the likes of ‘Coat Of Arms’ and’ 40:1′. On evidence of tonight, things in the Sabaton camp seem as strong as ever, as London is without a doubt, conquered.
Photos taken by Sabrina Ramdoyal.