Metallers Sabaton talk their new album The Great War and becoming TV historians...
Swedish metallers Sabaton have made a career from war. Since their inception, they have dedicated each of their songs to a different battle or moment in military history.
That has them move through the most ancient of battles to contemporary conflicts like the War on Terror. Now though, with new effort The Great War, they've decided to focus on just one conflict: World War I.
As the record arrives on shelves, we spoke to the band's Pär Sundström about why they decided to focus on just one historic conflict this time...
When did you start work on The Great War?
"The decision to make the album was done during the summer of 2018, and directly following that started the songwriting process for real. In November, we were done."
Did you want to do anything differently from the way you wrote and recorded The Last Stand?
"Writing was similar, recording happened in a different studio and for sure that changes the way things are being done. We changed producer from Peter to Jonas and with that comes a different workflow. We like to work with both and it will be exciting to see the results when fans make the final judgement on which album sounds the best."
Your previous records have taken in battles and conflicts from across the ages, whereas this one is all inspired by World War I. Why did you decide to do that?
"We like the idea of concepts and we wanted to do a full album about World War I for a long time. Seeing as we were coming close to the 100th anniversary of the armistice day we thought that we won’t find a better time. So that’s why we decided to put aside other ideas and projects and focus on The Great War."
You worked with Jonas Kjellgren on the album, what did he give you as a producer?
"We worked with Jonas several times before, he is a very creative and efficient studio producer who makes a sound that reminds more about the earlier sound of Sabaton. No producer has really told us exactly what to do, we usually have a good idea of what we want our albums to sound like."
This is your first album with Tommy Johansson on guitar, what has he brought to the writing process?
"Tommy is a bit of everything, guitar player, keyboard player, singer and of course also a songwriter. We wanted him to contribute and he did and it resulted in the song 'A Ghost in the Trenches'."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"'Attack Of The Dead Men'. It was originally intended for the album Heroes in 2014, but did not fit in."
And which came together most quickly?
"'Fields of Verdun' was quite painless in many ways. Musically and lyric wise and also actually to script and do a music video for this song was not that hard."
When did you decide on The Great War for the album’s title?
"Last summer when we decided on the topic. We chose between World War I, The War to End All Wars and The Great War. I love the title because of the strange and powerful meaning."
What are your plans to take the album out live? You’ve got nine records now, how will decide what makes your live set?
"We will likely do a lot of new songs, our fans usually like the new stuff that we put out and it has always been a big portion of new songs in Sabaton tours and the coming one won’t be any different. It is hard though to say bye bye to some old lovers..."
When will we see you back in the UK?
"In February, we are playing a show at Wembley Arena together with Apocalyptica and Amaranthe! But for anyone who can’t wait, we are soon headlining Bloodstock!"
Finally, you’ve launched your own history channel, how’s that going? Are you enjoying producing the videos?
"Yes, it is a hearty project we wanted to do for so many years. Seeing the reactions, I guess a lot of fans waited also many years for something similar. We grew it a bit quicker than we anticipated, which is a stamp of quality for us!"
Sabaton's new album The Great War is out now.