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Music / Sabaton

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The Primo Victoria lineup (2005-2012).note
The 2017 lineup.note 

Sabaton is a Swedish Power Metal band founded in 1999. Most of their songs touch on themes of war, often being about famous historical battles, especially from World War II.

Initially formed as a Traditional Heavy Metal group with frontman Joakim Brodén also playing keyboards, their first productions were a pair of EPs later released as Fist for Fight and their intended debut album Metalizer. However, these albums were sent into Development Hell by their label, Underground Symphony. In 2005, they jumped ship to Black Lodge Records and released the World War II-based Concept Album Primo Victoria, which had Brodén give up keyboard duties to Daniel Mÿhr. Such war songs, composed by Brodén, bassist Pär Sundström, or both, have comprised the lion's share of their output ever since. They are currently signed to Nuclear Blast.

The band underwent a major lineup change after the release of Carolus Rex in 2012, with Mÿhr, guitarists Rikard Sundén and Oskar Montelius, and drummer Daniel Mullback leaving due to the group's grueling touring schedule; they subsequently joined up with Astral Doors vocalist Nils Patrik Johannson to form Civil War. In their place, Joakim and Pär hired guitarists Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund and drummer Robban Bäck; however the latter only stayed a year before being replaced by former Evergrey drummer Hannes Van Dahl. Englund left the band after recording The Last Stand in 2017 and was replaced by Tommy "ReinXeed" Johansson, only to return in 2024 when Tommy left to focus full-time on his own band Majestica.

In 2019, Sabaton collaborated with Indy "Time Ghost" Neidell to create the Sabaton History channel on YouTube, going into detail on the history behind the songs and the process of writing them.

In 2020 they began a collaboration with American web animation studio Yarnhub to create story videos for some of their songs. This culminated in 2023 with their co-production of The War to End All Wars – The Movie, an Animated Musical using their 2021 album The War to End All Wars as the soundtrack.

Current line up:
  • Joakim Brodén - lead vocals (1999-present), keyboards (1999-2005, 2012-present)
  • Pär Sundström - bass (1999-present), backing vocals (2012-present)
  • Chris Rörland - guitars, backing vocals (2012-present)
  • Hannes Van Dahl - drums (2013-present)
  • Thobbe Englund - guitars, backing vocals (2012-2016, 2024-present)

Former members:

  • Rikard Sundén - guitars, backing vocals (1999-2012)
  • Oskar Montelius - guitars, backing vocals (1999-2012)
  • Richard Larsson - drums (1999-2001)
  • Daniel Mullback - drums (2001-2012)
  • Daniel Mÿhr - keyboards, backing vocals (2005-2012)
  • Robban Bäck - drums (2012-2013)
  • Tommy Johansson - guitars, backing vocals (2016-2024)


Sabaton and their songs provide examples of:

  • The Ace: "White Death". The song is about the aptly-named sniper who took down hundreds of Russian soldiers all by himself, armed with nothing but iron sights. It got to the point that entire platoons were being sent out just to kill one soldier.
  • Ace Custom: In the World of Tanks video for "Primo Victoria", Sabaton drives a post-WWII Centurion tank with the logo of the band on it while blasting an assortment of hilariously outclassed Wehrmacht tanks.
    • "Steel Commanders" has the band hop in a possessed tank and go to town during a World of Tanks match.
  • Ace Pilot: "Aces in Exile" (about the RAF's Polish 303 Squadron, the Czech 310 Squadron and the Canadian 401 Squadron) and "Night Witches" (about the Night Witches, a squadron of Soviet bomber pilots). The Great War has a track about the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen.
  • Action Girl: "Lady of the Dark" is about Milunka Savić, a Serbian woman who dressed as a man to take the place of her brother when he was conscripted for the First Balkan War. After ten deployments, she was discovered when she was wounded, but she had been such a good soldier that they didn't want to punish her, instead allowing her to serve openly in the infantry when she refused to be transferred to nursing. She went on to serve in World War I in the Serbian and later Yugoslav armies, becoming the most decorated female soldier in the recorded history of warfare, including becoming the sole female recipient of the Croix de Guerre with gold palm. And then was practically forgotten as soon as the war was over. The animated music video for the song shows her pulling off action movie-like feats, such as single-handedly capturing an enemy machine gun nest by running across the battlefield and beating up the soldiers inside in hand-to-hand combat then pointing their own machine gun at them until they surrender.
  • Adolf Hitlarious: Sabaton usually takes Hitler and the Nazis dead seriously. The exception is in Yarnhub's story video for "Christmas Truce", which features a certain German soldier with a toothbrush mustache first trying to tattle on the truce to the generals before getting hit in the head with a stray football/soccer ball, then grumpily observing the proceedings from the sidelines.
  • Affectionate Parody: They've got one in "Sabadu", which is comprised of members of other power metal bands (like Alestorm) turning things all the way up for the sake of a joke. "Mighty Polish Tank" is all about how much the singer loves tanks and Poland, while "A Very Polish Christmas" is a joke of a song about Polish Santa giving Hitler a gift of a boxing glove that punches Hitler in the face.
  • All Are Equal in Death:
    • "A Lifetime of War"
      When they face death they're all alike
      No right or wrong
      Rich or poor
      No matter who they served before
      Good or bad
      They're all the same
      Rest side-by-side now...
    • "Cliffs of Gallipoli" has a similar theme.
      There is no enemy
      There is no victory
      Only boys who lost their lives in the sand
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Sabaton really hates the Nazis, being the only group the band consistently paints as unambiguously villainous. They go out of their way not to present the Wehrmacht (at least the Heer (Army), the Kriegsmarine (Navy) and the Luftwaffe (Air Force) ) this way, however, showing them and the German people in more of a tragic light.
  • Amazon Brigade: "Night Witches" is about the all-female Russian 588th Night Bomber Regiment, which kicked a lot of ass and raised a lot of hell for the Germans.
  • Ambiguously Evil: The subject of "Father," Fritz Haber, is the inventor of both chemical fertilizer and chemical weaponry. While the song abhors him for his "Dark Creation," it also points out his genius was used for good and Mankind can't judge him by any normal means.
    And on the battlefield they’re dying
    And on the fields the crops are grown
    So who can tell us what is right or wrong
    Maths or morality alone?
  • American Eagle: "Screaming Eagles" is about the US Army 101st Airborne Division holding the line at Bastogne against the German Army during the Battle of the Bulge.
  • America Won World War II: Averted in the songs. In addition to recognizing the importance of the Eastern Front, the band sings about many lesser-known events that didn't involve any of the major Allied powers. On the other hand, in concerts in the United States, Joakim will usually make at least one comment to the audience along the lines of "if it weren't for you Americans, we'd all be speaking German" (usually before playing "Primo Victoria").
  • Anachronism Stew: The video for "The Unkillable Soldier", which consciously leans on Rule of Funny as a deliberately slapsticky interpretation of Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart's military service. Among other things, Sir Adrian didn't enlist out of patriotic fervor when World War One starting (he was a professional soldier whose career started more than a decade before the war), he actually lost his eye putting down a native uprising in Somaliland (he used the injury as an excuse to return to Britain so he could be reassigned to the Western Front, World War I having broken out shortly after he was sent to Africa), the Hospital Hottie's uniform is completely inaccurate to what British Army nurses wore at the time, and the Tommygun wouldn't be introduced until after the war ended. According to Joakim in the associated Sabaton History video, the director wanted the band members, who were playing German soldiers, to all wear Stahlhelms for historical accuracy, and the band pointed out that very little else that was going on was historically accurate and went helmetless.
  • And Then What?: "Light in the Black", which details the newly formed United Nations and their peacekeeping forces in the wake of WWII. The chorus details the valient efforts of said peacekeepers to maintain stability and safeguard innocent people during future conflicts, whilst also touching upon the massive impact the war has had on the world and the anxiety about what will follow such a massive conflict, noting that the Peacekeepers have many veterins of the war in their ranks and none know what conflicts the future will hold.
  • Animal Motifs: Frequently, as many nations and/or armed forces have animals as their symbols. Most reoccurring, their songs often refer to Nazi Germany and its armed forces as "The Eagle," which was one of their symbols. Other examples include the Swedish Empire's Eagle and Lion, the Chasseurs Ardennais boar, and the Brazilian Expeditionary Forces' smoking snake, the "Screaming Eagles" (the unit nickname of the 101st Airborne Division), and the "Devil Dogs" (a nickname for the US Marines earned in World War I).
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In the final chorus of Versailes from The War to End All Wars, after first claiming that the Great War and the peace that would follow would end all war, the lyrics explicitly wonder "Can A War Really End All War?". This is also the point where the song begins to reprise tones from the earlier song Rise of Evil, making the answer clear: It can't and it won't.
  • Army of The Ages: The cover of The Last Stand shows a battle containing ancient Spartans, The Polish Winged Hussar cavalry, Samurai, and soldiers from both world wars fighting side-by-side in Castle Itter, a WWII battleground.
  • Artistic License – Anatomy: On the cover art of Heroes, the American soldier basically has to dislocate his arm to Shoryuken the Nazi soldier in that manner.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The lyric video for "The Lost Battalion" inexplicably depicts scenes from a World War II battlefield for a song describing events from the previous war.
    • "82nd All the Way" mistakenly says Alvin York was part of the 338th Infantry Regiment. He was part of the 328th. The band is aware of the mistake but it was too late to fix it on any version of the album; however, they sing the correct unit number during live performances. Then Amaranthe went and repeated the error in their cover of the song.
    • A borderline case: The guitar solo of "Defence of Moscow" incorporates a passage of the State Anthem of the Soviet Union, which was written around 1943 (albeit based on a tune originally composed in 1938 as the anthem of the Communist Party) and officially adopted in 1944. The song is about the campaign to defend Moscow in fall and winter 1941.
    • Partial example for the video of "Soldiers of Heaven", which shows a dogfight between a biplane and a red triplane flying over the band, then a pair of World War II Luftwaffe fighter planes doing the same. The latter is probably meant to represent the fact that many of the soldiers who died on White Friday still lie where they were buried by the avalanches and "saw" WWII fought over much of the same ground (though little fighting took place on the Italian-Austrian border in that war), but the former is just an anachronistic Call-Back to The Great War: the Red Baron spent his piloting career in France and Belgium and never served in the Italian Alps.
  • As the Good Book Says...:
  • Ascended Meme: The Sabaton History episode about "The Last Stand" opens with an extended joke about the "Last Stand is about the Crusades" meme.
  • Ate His Gun: The video for "To Hell and Back" shows the Shell-Shocked Veteran (strongly implied to be Audie Murphy himself) sticking the barrel of a pistol in his mouth at one point.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The US Marines in "Devil Dogs".
    Five times attacked, and then five times repelled
    At the sixth time, they managed to break the line
    Heart of the Corps, and a part of the lore
    The deadliest weapon on earth

    That's what a soldier should do
    Top of their game, earning their name
    They were the Devil Dogs
    In a war machine
    They were the USA Marines
  • Audience Participation Song:
    • Joakim always thrusts his mic out to the audience several times during the chorus of "Ghost Division".
    • The live versions of "Uprising" and "Carolus Rex" often insert an extra beat between the bridge and closing chorus to let the audience shout out respectively "War-saw!" and "I was chosen by heaven!" (the latter is also done in Follow The Cipher's Cover Version). The audience also usually sings the closing "Warszawo, walcz!" on "Uprising".
    • On the Heroes live album from the Sabaton Cruise, Joakim invites the Swedish-speaking members of the audience to sing the first half of the first verse of "En livstid i krig" all by themselves, to rebut claims he's heard that the Swedish crowds are lame. This has become a tradition for the band when they play gigs in Sweden. He also attempted this during the Denver, Colorado show in 2021,note  but not enough of the audience knew the words for the Swedish version.
  • Avengers Assemble: "Blood of Bannockburn" is a nation-wide version, talking about all the clans of Scotland assembling to fight the English in Bannockburn.
  • Badass Army: "The Carolean's Prayer" paints the soldiers under Charles XII as this, which is Truth in Television and the whole album has the Swedes being total badasses and winning except when they're outnumbered, which is still factual.
  • Badass Boast: "Carolus Rex" is this for King Charles XII of Sweden and "Poltava" is this for his Arch-Enemy, Tsar Peter the Great.
    Listen, excuse for a king! Trust me, this fight you can't win!
  • Badass Creed: One of the final and most epic parts of "Long Live the King".
    For their honor!
    For their glory!
    For the men that fought and bled!
    A soldier from Sweden remembers the dead!
  • Badass Native: "A Ghost in the Trenches" is about the most effective sniper of World War I, Francis Pegahmagabow, who was a member of the indigenous First Nations and fought in the Canadian military.
  • Badass Pacifist: The Lady of the Dark. Milunka Savić, aka "The Lady of the Dark", was a Serbian woman who disguised herself as a man in order to take her brother's place in the army in 1912. She singlehandedly captured 23 Bulgarian soldiers, amongst them the Bulgarian officer Minkov, without firing a single shot.
    Soldier with no will to kill, with a philanthropic heart
  • Ballad of X: "The Ballad of Bull" is about Leslie "Bull" Allen, an Australian soldier who saved a dozen of his fellow Australians by carrying them to safety after they were wounded.
  • Band of Brothers:
    • "Union (Slopes of St. Benedict)" is more about this than the Battle of Monte Cassino.
    • "The Carolean's Prayer" paints the entire army of Charles XII as this.
  • Baritone of Strength: Joakim is a rare example of a power metal vocalist fitting this trope. Even compared to other baritones in the genre, such as Hansi Kürsch and Matt Barlow, Joakim's voice is uncommonly deep, just skimming the edge of bass at times. He also customarily performs in a vest with steel plates in the shape of his pecs and six-pack, showing off his muscles.
  • Battle Aura: The "spirit" of the knight in the "Steel Commanders" video managed to give the band this while inside their tank. Broden even sported a pair of Glowing Eyes of Doom behind his shades in the process.
  • Being Good Sucks:
    • Most of the heroes from the same-titled album suffered pretty terrible fates in spite of their heroism. Karel Janoušek ("Far From the Fame") was imprisoned, and Witold Pilecki ("Inmate 4859") executed, by their countries' respective Warsaw Pact regimes. A theme of the album is also that despite their heroism, their tales are mostly forgotten.
    • The song "Hearts of Iron" from the same album covers the protection of civilians from the Red Army by the German 9th and 12th Armies. This did not end well for the 9th and 12th. However, it went much better for the 250,000 people they saved.
    • Audie Murphy (“To Hell And Back”) suffered from severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after being a war hero in World War II.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: "40:1" briefly references the fact that the Polish commander, Captain Władysław Raginis, committed suicide by jumping on a grenade rather than surrender to the Germans.
  • Big Damn Heroes: "Winged Hussars" elaborates how the Ottomans were nearly winning the Battle of Vienna... THEN THE WINGED HUSSARS ARRIVED!
  • Big "NO!": At the end of 40:1, representing the loss of the Polish army after three days of fighting.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The English and Swedish versions of Carolus Rex take very different lyrical tones. The English version is a pretty standard badass-praising Sabaton album, but the Swedish version has much more of a War Is Hell atmosphere and often calls out the Swedes themselves for various atrocities, such as executing Russian prisoners at Fraustadt in "Killing Ground"/"Ett Slag Färgat Rött".
  • Bilingual Rhyme:
    • The chorus of "Hearts of Iron" contains the couplet "Nicht ein Schlacht, ein Rettungsaktionnote  / Holding their ground 'til the final platoon".
    • The second verse of "The Red Baron" rhymes "red squadron leader" with "Rote Kampfflieger"—literally "the red fighter pilot", the German-language title of Manfred von Richthofen's memoir.
  • Black Comedy: The video for "The Unkillable Soldier" in a nutshell, which depicts Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart being repeatedly shot (and once blown up with a grenade) and always coming back for more. It almost comes off like a Monty Python sketch.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Charles XII in "Carolus Rex". Lines such as "Crowned by God, not by the church, as my power is divine!" and "My will be done!" come to mind.
  • Blood Knight: "Soldier of 3 Armies" states Lauri Törni is "addicted to the war game!"
    • Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart, true to history, writes in his memoirs of World War 1, "Frankly I enjoyed the war," at the end of "The Unkillable Soldier."
  • Bolivian Army Ending:
    • The viewpoint character of "Great War" ends the song about to make a suicidal charge towards the enemy trench, fully expecting to die in the attempt.
    • The music video for "The Royal Guard" has Sabaton, portraying the Swedish royal guard at the skirmish at Bender, defeat the Ottomans in a bloody battle only to see an even bigger Ottoman force marching towards them. Unconcerned, Joakim resolves to fight on and the video ends with the five of them baring steel and charging towards the Ottomans. Historically the skirmish ended with the Swedes being defeated, although not before inflicting heavy casualties on the Ottomans.
  • Boom, Headshot!: One of the French soldiers in the trench in the "Fields of Verdun" video is shot between the eyes while firing over the lip of the trench.
  • Bookends: The War to End All Wars begins with "Sarajevo", about the outbreak of World War I, and ends with "Versailles", which is about its end, and is a Triumphant Reprise of "Sarajevo", celebrating the war's endnote .
  • Brave Scot: "Blood of Bannockburn" focuses on how the Scots defeated the English at Bannockburn.
  • Bring It:
    • The last verse of "Screaming Eagles" recounts General MacAuliffe's famous Screw Your Ultimatum! response to a German surrender demand as the 101st Airborne held Bastogne against all comers: "NUTS!" (He had reason to be confident: the Americans actually locally outnumbered the Germans, who were also so low on fuel by winter 1944 that part of the operational plan for Wacht am Rhein hinged on capturing Allied supplies.)
    • The pre-choruses of "Poltava" all consist of Tsar Peter the Great of Russia taunting Carolus Rex during the Battle of Poltava.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: "The Last Stand" is essentially the origin story of the Swiss Guard. At the time, they were just mercenaries hired by the Pope. Ever since, they've been the Pope's bodyguards.
  • Calculator Spelling: The title of their Heavy Meta song "7734" spells "hell" in calculator spelling. This, along with various other instances of numerology in the lyrics, is meant as a parody of those who equate metal to Satanism.
  • The Caligula: Saddam Hussein in "Reign of Terror":
    Merciless killing your own
    A slave to power—a slave to gold. Ruinous rule in the East.
  • Call-and-Response Song:
    • The refrain of "Midway":
      Rikard, Oskar, and Daniel Mÿhr: Display their might, ordering carriers, admirals at war
      Joakim: We'll meet at Midway!
      Rikard, Oskar, and Daniel: To win the fight, tactics are crucial''
      Everybody: Naval war!
    • The verses of "Night Witches":
      Joakim: Pushing on and on, their planes are going strong
      Pär, Thobbe, and Chris: Air force number one
      Joakim: Somewhere down below, they're looking for the foe
      Pär, Thobbe, and Chris: Bombers on a run
    • The chorus of "Far from the Fame":
      Pär, Thobbe, and Chris: Far, far away from the fame
      But we still remember your name

      Joakim: Karel Janoušek!
      Pär, Thobbe, and Chris: We mourn the day that you died
      So be all of—

      Everybody: Czechoslovakia's pride
    • The denouements of "Last Dying Breath"...
      Pär, Thobbe, and Chris: In haste, our lives are erased
      Forward to glory for king and country

      Joakim: Until your last dying breath!
      Pär, Thobbe, and Chris: Defend the honour of Belgrade
      Forward to glory, to face your fate at last

      Joakim: Until your last dying breath!
    • ... and "Winged Hussars":
      Pär, Thobbe, and Chris: Storm clouds, fire and steel
      Death from above, make their enemy kneel

      Joakim: When the winged hussars arrived!
      Pär, Thobbe, and Chris: Shining armor and wings
      Death from above, it's an army of kings
      When the winged hussars arrived!''
  • Call-Back:
    • The Swedish chorus of "Carolus Rex" says "Krigets konst jag behärskar", "the Art of War I master".
    • "Wolfpack", about U-boats in WW2, has a lyric referring to the "silence of the sea" in the Battle of the Atlantic and 2019's "Bismarck", about the titular battleship and his Kriegsmarine crew, says that:
      And the silence of the sea is about to drift into a storm
    • The protagonist of "Great War", fighting at the Battle of Passchendaele, pays "The Price Of A Mile", and says "though men have fallen, we see Heroes rise".
    • "Attack of the Dead Men", about the Russians pushing back the Germans, includes the line "there's a thunder in the east" when referring to the German advance. Their earlier song "Panzerkampf", which is likewise about the Russians pushing back the German advance (but in WWII rather than WWI), included the line "Panzers on Russian soil / a thunder in the east."
    • "Steel Commanders" includes the line "Coming over trench and wire" from "The Future of Warfare".
    • The video for "Soldier of Heaven" features a cameo by a certain distinctive red triplane (though the Red Baron never served on the Alpine front).
  • Call-Forward:
    • The line "Death from above, what they now say" in "82nd All the Way". The 82nd Division was redesignated the 82nd Airborne Division in 1942, and switched its motto from "All the Way" to "Death from Above".
    • The outro of "Versailles" foreshadows the coming of World War II:
    "Will this war be the end of wars?
    "Can a war be the end of war?
    "Will this war bring another war?
    "It's the war that will end all wars"
  • The Cameo:
    • Actor Peter Stormare and Polish general Waldemar Skrzypczak took part in making the video for "Uprising" respectively playing a commander of the German occupying forces and one of the Warsaw Uprising's leaders.
    • Floor Jansen was a choir member on The Last Stand. She also provided backing vocals on The Great War as well as singing on the soundtrack version of several songs, most notably "The Future of Warfare".
    • Former guitarist Thobbe Englund co-wrote "Fields of Verdun" and played guitar on it, including leading the solo. He played a couple of songs at the start of the Wacken Open Air 2019 concert, including "Fields of Verdun", then returned in the second hour of the show with now-Civil War members Rikard Sundén, Daniel Mullback, and Daniel Mÿhr.
    • Cellist Tina Guo, who also appeared with the band at Wacken 2019, has a guest musician spot in "Steel Commanders" and appears in the music video.
  • The Cavalry: A literal example is provided by the Winged Hussar cavalry in "Winged Hussars".
  • Cavalry of the Dead: "The Attack of the Dead Men" plays up the historical attack by Russians through Deadly Gas as if they really were fighting on in undeath to counter-attack the Germans.
  • Central Theme:
    • Forgotten heroism is a recurring motif in Heroes, with nearly half of the songs commenting that their titular heroes are rarely remembered. Two of the people on the album, Leslie 'Bull' Allen and Karel Janoušek, only got an English Wikipedia page after the album was released.
    • The Last Stand primarily centers on tales of brave men going for a Last Stand, usually for honor.
    • The Great War: "Lest we forget." Interviews about the album were highlighting the fact that most of the world tends to focus on World War II instead of World War I, so the band intentionally highlighted some stories of the first World War.
  • Changing Chorus:
    • Each of the choruses in "Aces in Exile" discusses a different foreign fighter squadron that fought with the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain, changing the second and third lines of four.
      First chorus: Fighter pilots in exile fly for foreign land
      Let their story be heard, tell of Three Hundred and Third
      Fighter pilots of Poland, in the Battle of Britain
      Guarding the skies of the Isle
      Second chorus: ...Tell their story again, to the Three Hundred and Ten
      Men from Czechoslovakia, in the Battle of Britain...
      Third chorus: ...When the battle's been won, trouble Four Hundred and One
      Fighter pilots of Canada, in the Battle of Britain...
    • The last chorus of "Inmate 4859" changes the lines "Who knows his name?" to "We know his name", and "Who hides behind 4859" to "He hides behind 4859", as a way of symbolizing the post-Soviet rehabilitation of protagonist Witold Pilecki as a hero of Nazi-occupied Poland.
    • "To Hell and Back":
      First and second choruses: Crosses grow on Anzio
      Where no soldiers sleep, and where Hell's six feet deep
      That death must wait, there's no debate
      So charge and attack, going to Hell and back
      Last chorus: He saw crosses grow on Anzio
      Where no soldiers sleep, and where Hell's six feet deep
      That death must wait, there's no debate
      He charged and attacked, he went to Hell and back
    • "Versailles" has three choruses, the first optimistic about the end of the war, the second reprising the chorus of "Sarajevo", suggesting that nothing's really changed despite four years of war, and the last pessimistic that there will will be another war:
      First chorus:
      Signed a treaty to change the world
      Tensions fall and a peace is unfurled
      Nothing like what had come before
      It’s the deal, it’s the treaty that will end the war!
      Second chorus:
      From a shot that would change the world
      Tensions rise and a war is unfurled
      Nothing like what had come before
      It’s the war that will end all war!
      Third chorus:
      Will this war really end all wars?
      Can a war really end all war?
      Will this war bring another war?
      It’s the war that will end all wars!
  • Character Exaggeration: Charles XII believed in the Divine Right of Kings, which held that a monarch's power came directly from God. The song "Carolus Rex" portrays him as a megalomaniac who stops just short in believing he is a god.
  • Chest of Medals: In Yarnhub's story video for "Lady of the Dark", a mysterious old woman sits down in the front row of a gathering of Yugoslav war veterans. When one of the other attendees asks her what she's doing there, she unbuttons her jacket to reveal a row of medals across her chest, because, of course, she's Milunka Savić, the subject of the song.
  • Christmas Songs: Christmas Truce is, as the name implies, about the Christmas Truce of 1914 during the first world war. Notably for a band so well know for their songs related to historical battles and soldiers, it's not about An Ass-Kicking Christmas and instead focuses on the single moment during the war where the horror of the trenches was set aside and replaced by genuine friendship and bonding between the two sides during the joy of christmas... while still being as Hot-Blooded and badass as any other Sabaton song.
  • Church Militant:
    • The Swiss Guard for the Pope, as depicted in the song The Last Stand on the eponymous album.
    For the grace, for the might of our lord
    For the home of the holy
    For the faith, for the way of the sword
    Gave their lives so boldly

    For the grace, for the might of our lord
    In the name of his glory
    For the faith, for the way of the sword
    Come and tell their story again
    • "The Carolean's Prayer" also has shades of this:
    Facing death, their faith will keep the fear at bay!
    Into battle, facing the fire
    Lord, thy will be done
    Into battle, walk in a line
    See the whites in their eyes, Caroleans are marching on!
    Put their lives in God's hand, for their king and their fatherland!
    See the whites in their eyes, Caroleans are marching on!
  • Cold Sniper:
    • "White Death", which is about the famous Finnish sniper Simo Häyhä.
    • "A Ghost in the Trenches," about the Canadian World War I sniper Francis Pegahmagabow, a man so unflappable he would sneak into German trenches and cut pieces off sleeping soldiers' uniforms.
  • Compressed Hair: Yarnhub's story video for "Lady of the Dark" (later reused in The War to End All Wars – The Movie) depicts an Austro-Hungarian soldier pulling Milunka Savić's hat off while fighting with her and being astonished when her long, feminine hair falls free (having not realized she was a woman), which freezes him long enough for her to land a Megaton Punch on his jaw.
  • Concept Album:
    • Carolus Rex is entirely about the rise and fall of the Swedish Empire from the Thirty Years War to the Great Northern War.
    • Art Of War is about Sun Tzu's The Art of War, and includes several direct quotes.
    • The album Heroes is called that for a reason; ten songs, only five are about groups. The other five are about individual legendary soldiers; Witold Pilecki, Audie Murphy, Leslie 'Bull' Allen, Lauri Allan Törninote , and Karel Janoušek.
    • The Last Stand is entirely about grand last stands across history, ranging from the most famous (The Battle of Thermopylae and the fabled 300 Spartans) to the most obscure (Hill 3234 about a Battle of the Soviet-Afghan war where 39 Soviets held the hill against 200 Afghans) note .
    • The Great War and The war to end all wars are entirely about events from World War I.
    • Weapons of the modern age compiles weapons, tactics, events and people who revolutionized warfare in World War I: gas and chemical weapons (Father), the Ace Pilot (Red Baron), the Dreadnought as the first modern battleship, tanks, and the first stormtroopers - and Attack of the dead men combining the last and the first.
  • Cool Boat: "Bismarck" is a standalone single about the only open-ocean voyage of the Kriegsmarine battleship Bismarck, which was viewed as such a threat to Allied shipping during the Battle of the Atlantic that half the Royal Navy was sent to hunt himnote  down.
  • Cover Version: They included a cover on Metalizer and as bonus tracks on the Updated Rereleases of Primo Victoria and Attero Dominatus and on every album since Carolus Rex.
    • Primo Victoria: "The Beast" by Twisted Sister
    • Attero Dominatus: "Für immer" by Warlock and "Långa bollar på Bengt" by Svenne Rubins
    • Metalizer: "Jawbreaker" by Judas Priest
    • Carolus Rex: "Twilight of the Thunder God" by Amon Amarth, "In the Army Now" by Bolland And Bolland and Status Quo, and "Feuer Frei!" by Rammstein
    • Heroes: "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Metallica, "En hjältes väg" by Raubtier, and "Out of Control" by Battle Beast
    • The Last Stand: "Camouflage" by Stan Ridgway, "All Guns Blazing" by Judas Priest, "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" by Iron Maiden, and "Burn in Hell" by Twisted Sister
    • The single Defense of Moscow is a particularly notable example, since the original was written and produced by Russian Promoted Fanboyinvoked Radio Tapok, who made several covers of Sabaton songs in Russian, and wrote the song specifically to match Sabaton's style.
    • In 2023, the band released "1916", a cover of a song by Motörhead about two World War I soldiers who die in the trenches. The song's music video also features members of Motörhead carrying a portrait of deceased frontman Lemmy Kilmister.
  • Creator Cameo: Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee, the two surviving final members of Motörhead, appear in the video for "1916" carrying a portrait of the late Lemmy Kilmeister.
  • Credits Gag: The video for "Livgardet" credit the band members as follows (bolded for emphasis):
    Joakim Brodén - Leading Actor 1
    Pär Sundström - Leading Actor 2
    Chris Rörland - Leading Actor 3
    Hannes Van Dahl - Extranote 
    Tommy Johansson - Leading Actor 4
  • Crossover:
  • Crowd Song: The video for the "1916" Cover Version depicts a huge crowd of metalheads, including the band and the surviving members of original artist Motörhead, walking the streets of Birmingham, England singing the song.
  • Cunning Linguist:
    • Like most Swedes, Joakim speaks English quite well (barring the odd singular/plural mismatch in the lyrics), and can also sing in German. The concert on the deluxe version of Heroes has an amusing segment between songs where he starts teaching bits of Polish to the Swedish members of the audience and vice versanote ), and another bit where he actually forgets to switch back from English to Swedish when giving a lottery prize to a Swede.
    • On the live version of the "Sabaton Cruise," since it's near Sweden, Joakim speaks almost entirely in Swedish for the duration of the show. One of the few things he says in English is, "For those of you who don't speak Swedish, welcome to the Sabaton Cruise, and if you want to know what I'm saying in the future, you'd better fucking learn Swedish."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Some of their songs, notably "Reign of Terror" and "Wolfpack", describe one side of a battle completely wiping the floor with the other.
    • "Killing Ground" is this for the Swedes towards the Russians. The next song on the album, "Poltava", reverses their positions.
    • "Shiroyama" is about the bravery of the last samurai in the face of this. The Satsuma samurai were outnumbered 60:1 and armed with swords against Imperial gunsnote —the fact that they even survived until dawn is impressive.
  • Dangerous Deserter: "The Last Stand" is about the Sack of Rome in 1527, when the Holy Roman Imperial Army, angry due to not having been paid by the Empire for their service, mutinied and led a siege on Rome itself, joined by various gangs of bandits and other deserters. The song doesn't focus much on them, however, instead focusing on the 189 members of the Swiss Guard who fought to save the Pope by escorting him along a secret passage to the Castel Sant'Angelo, and especially the 147 who formed the rear guard and gave their lives in service to the Pope.
    There's a foe of a thousand swords
    They've been abandoned by their lords
    Their fall from grace will pave their path to damnation
  • Dark Reprise: While the lyrics certainly do not reflect it, "Ruina Imperii" is this to "Lion From The North", both when you notice that the chorus of the first is more or less a very downtrodden version of the other, and that while "Lion From The North" covers the rise of the Swedish empire, "Ruina Imperii" covers its fall.
    • "A Lifetime of War" reprises parts of "Gott Mit Uns", now much less enthusiastic.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Attero Dominatus, compared to albums before and after. The title track is about the Soviet sack of Berlin, and it also has songs about terrorism, the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the rise of Nazi Germany, and trench warfare in World War I. This is capped off with track five, "We Burn", a song about the Srebrenica massacre sung by the perpetrators.
    • "Inmate 4859" is noticeably darker than the rest of the album Heroes. Even "Far From the Fame", which is also a very sad song, still has the normal "Sabaton sound", while "Inmate 4859" feels much more downbeat and is actually quite chilling.
  • Dawn of an Era: "Lion From The North" is about the beginnings of the Swedish Empire under Gustavus II Adolphus. It's very hopeful and energetic. "The Future of Warfare" is about the rise of Tank warfare. "Shiroyama" heavily implies both this and EndOfAnEra with it's opening line
    It's the nature of time that the Old Ways must give in. It's the nature of time that the New Age comes in sin
  • Deadly Gas:
    • Several Songs from The Great War reference the use of poison gas during the war. In particular "The Attack of the Dead Men" tells the story of Russian soldiers who were thought to have been killed by the poison, charging through a wave of gas at the Germans.
    • "Father" is all about the inventor (father) of chemical warfare, Fritz Haber.
      Father of toxic gas, and chemical warfare
      His dark creation has been revealed
      Flow over no man’s land, a poisonous nightmare
      A deadly mist on the battlefield
  • Death by Music Video: The video for "Primo Victoria" features one version of the band performing the song on a stage, while another version battles an assortment of German panzers in an Ace Custom Swedish Army Centurion tank. The performing version is run over by a Panzer IV that bursts through the wall behind them at the end of the second chorus, and is then blown up by the infuriated tank-driving version.
  • Death from Above:
    • "Nuclear Attack", "Night Witches", and "Firestorm", the last of which even drops the trope name:
      Burn! Burn!
      Rage of the heavens,
      Burn! Burn!
      Death from above,
      Die! Die!
      Merciless killing,
      Burn! Burn!
      Death from above.
    • "Into the Fire" has this:
      From above the airstrike came and it burned the world below
      Napalm falling from the sky and it leaves no man alive!
    • Also invoked in "82nd All The Way":
      What Sergeant York achieved that day
      Echoes from France to the USA
      It's "82nd All The Way"
      "Death From Above", what they now saynote 
    • Then they drop this ad verbatim via counterpoint on the last chorus of "Winged Hussars"
      Storm clouds, fire and steel
      Death from above, make the enemy kneel
      Shining armor and wings
      Death from above, it's an army of kings

  • Death Is Dramatic: One of their few non-history based songs, "The Hammer Has Fallen", is told from the perspective of a man Dying Alone.
    Here I am standing, darkness all around
    Thinking of past, taking my last breath, the air is cold as ice
    No one close to hear my voice
    Did not leave me with a choice
    Heaven will you wait for me?
  • Defensive Feint Trap: The song "The Art of War" describes this tactic.
    I will run, they will hunt me in vain,
    I will hide, they’ll be searching,
    I’ll regroup, feign retreat, they’ll pursue,
    Coup de grace, I will win but never fight,
    That's the Art of War!
    They will find me no more, I'll be gone,
    I will have them surrounded,
    They will yield without fight, overrun,
    Coup de grace, I will win but never fight,
    That's the Art of War!
  • Desert Warfare:
    • "Reign of Terror" and "Panzer Battalion" on Primo Victoria are about the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the 2003 American-British invasion of Iraq, respectively.
    • "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" is about Lawrence of Arabia fighting with the Arab Revolt in the deserts of the middle east, raiding Ottoman trains and advancing towards Damascus.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Spoofed in "A Secret" from The Art of War, which always plays no matter how the album was acquired, its format, or where it is being played.
  • Dirty Coward: Although the band usually abstains from judging who was right or wrong in any given conflict, "In the Name of God" plainly describes terrorists as evil cowards.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In the music video for "Uprising," there's a Nazi poster saying "100 Poles for 1 German." In other words, the Nazis will respond with extreme and indiscriminate violence to the deaths of any of their own.
  • The Dog Bites Back: "Panzerkampf" is about the Soviets managing to turn the tide in the Eastern front to their favor against the Nazis and "Attero Dominatus" is about them finally taking the enemy in Berlin that caused them so much harm.
  • Doves Mean Peace: Subverted in the lyric video for "Versailles", where the primary image is a dove carrying an olive branch, or more specifically a blood-soaked olive branch. As the chorus changes to that of "Sarajevo", the background catches fire and the image changes to one of a dove with red eyes, and as it enters the third, it comes back to the first dove with the bloody olive branch. Whatever "peace" these doves bring is clearly temporary and bloody.
  • Downer Ending:
    • "Bismarck": The Bismarck is sunk and out of the two characters the music video focuses on, one dies in the sinking and the other is captured by the British.
    • "Uprising": The Warsaw Uprising is crushed and Warsaw is burned by the Nazis.
    • "Prisoner 4859": Pilecki's report exposing the Holocaust is ignored and he is hanged after the war.
    • Due to its nature as a Concept Album based on the rise and fall of the Swedish Empire, this was bound to happen. Starting from Poltava onwards, it gets abundantly clear that the story of the Swedish Empire will end in ruin rather than glory, with Long Live The King and Ruina Imperii fully hammering in the end of Sweden's time as a military great power.
  • Dramatic Choir Number: The band commonly uses choirs in its songs, especially for emphasis on the chorus.
    • Early on, before they had the resources to hire a professional choir, the band members often recorded a three-part harmony for particular songs, starting with "Primo Victoria".
    • For the European portion of the Great Tour, Sabaton had a 21-member male choir onstage with them, dressed as World War I soldiers of all armies in the conflict. The page picture is from their headlining show at Wacken Open Air 2019, during the chorus of "The Price of a Mile": by the end of that concert, with the addition of several former band members on the right-hand stage, a total of 28 people were singing the choruses.
    • Several parts of "Livgardet" use a multi-part male-fronted choir for extra dramatics.
  • The Dreaded: With the way the band refers to the main characters in their songs, one can be forgiven for fearing them after listening to their songs:
    • The Night Witches seem to be incredibly feared, if the chorus part from their eponymous song is to be considered:
      Canvas wings of death
      Prepare to meet your fate
      Night bomber regiment
      Undetected! Unexpected!
      Wings of glory! Tell their story!
      Aviation! Deviation!
      Undetected! Stealth perfected!
    • "Bismarck" definitely paints the titular Battleship (and by extension, the entire Kriegsmarine) in this light:
      Pride of a nation, a beast made of steel
      Bismarck in motion, king of the ocean
      He was made to rule the waves across the seven seas!
      To lead the war machine
      To rule the waves and lead the Kriegsmarine
      The terror of the seas!
      The Bismarck and the Kriegsmarine!
    • "White Death" will definitely leave you terrified of facing the deadliest sniper who lived. A unstoppable hunter who makes the Predator look like an amature.
      All alone, a man with his gun,
      Wanders into the wild,
      Tracks you down. You cannot hide,
      Once he is onto your trail.
      Enter the night, a flash in the darkness.
      White Death is headed your way.
      The fear of his foes, a hero at home.
      Hundreds will fall by his gun.
  • The Dreaded Dreadnought: "Dreadnought" is about the class of battleships which, upon the completion of namesake HMS Dreadnought, immediately rendered obsolete all other warships afloat and sparked a naval arms race between Germany and the UK that contributed to the outbreak of WW1. The song portrays them as unstoppable steel titans intimidating their foes.
    Unopposed under crimson skies
    Immortalized, over time their legend will rise
    And their foes can't believe their eyes
    Believe their size, as they fall..
    And the dreadnoughts dread nothing at all!
  • Drums of War: Inverted by the song "Fields of Verdun" which compares the opening artillery barrage of the battle to a drum roll.
  • Dumb and Drummer: The credits for "Livgardet" credit the band members each as "Leading Actor"—except for Hannes, who is credited as "Extra".
  • Dying Alone: "The Hammer has Fallen"
  • Eagle Squadron:
    • "Aces in Exile" deals with the Battle of Britain, but doesn't mention the Trope Namer, instead focusing on the Polish 303 Squadron, the Czech 310 Squadron, and the Canadian 401 Squadron).
    • Lauri Törni left Finland to go to Germany and then the US to continue fighting the Russians, as recorded in "Soldier of 3 Armies".
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Combined with Later-Installment Weirdness by way of Executive Meddling is the reason Metalizer sounds so off compared to the rest. Originally recorded as their debut album, Underground Symphony decided to shelf it until the rights were released to Black Lodge 3 years later. After some minor remastering, it was released in 2007, 5 years after it was recorded.
    • "Birds of War" seems to be an entirely typical Power Metal fantasy song about evil forces descending from the sky, with none of the historical lyrics that made Sabaton famous. Furthermore, Joakin Brodén sounds much deeper and more gravelly in this song.
    • Much of their earlier work is typical Rock Me, Asmodeus! heavy metal, but it's quickly dropped for Horrible History Metal.
    • Several of Primo Victoria and Attero Dominatus songs are about Cold War and post Cold War-era conflicts, up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the War on Terror (respectively "Panzer Battalion" and "In the Name of God"). In later albums, the most recent topics are World War II battles.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The final chorus of “To Hell And Back” has Audie Murphy finally triumphing over his PTSD.
    He saw crosses grow in Anzio
    Where no soldiers sleep
    And where Hell's six feet deep
    That death does wait, there's no debate
    He charged and attacked
    He went to Hell and back
  • The Empire: The Holy Roman Empire and Russia all throughout Carolus Rex.
  • End of an Age:
    When the new meets the old, it always ends the ancient ways
    And as history told, the old ways go out in a blaze!
    • The trio of songs about the end of Nazi Germany allude to this: "Attero Dominatus", "Hearts of Iron", and "The Last Battle".
    • "Panzerkampf" has this as a Badass Boast on the part of the Soviets.
    The end of the Third Reich draws near
    Its time has come to an end
    The end of an era is here
    It’s time to attack!
  • The End... Or Is It?: "Versailles" starts out hopeful that this treaty will be the end of the war to end all wars before switching to the chorus of "Sarajevo" and then finally ending with
    Will this war really end all wars?
    Can a war really end all war?
    Will this war bring another war?
    It’s the war that will end all wars!
  • Enemy Mine: "The Last Battle". What happens when sixteen American soldiers, thirteen Wehrmacht soldiers, a Waffen SS Hauptsturmführer, French former prisoners, a tank, and an Austrian Resistance member hole up in a castle against the 17th Waffen-SS Panzer Grenadier Division? The strangest battle of World War II.
  • Ennio Morricone Pastiche: The whistles from “To Hell And Back”. This is especially clear in the intro and the bridge.
  • Epic Ship-on-Ship Action:
    • The music video for "Bismarck" depicts both of Bismarck's battles - the Battle of Denmark Straits and the Last Battle of the Bismarck.note 
    • "Dreadnought" from The War to End All Wars is about the navies of World War I, and the lyrics on the bridge allude in particular to the Battle of Jutland, the largest clash of dreadnought-type battleships ever.
  • Epic Tank-on-Tank Action:
    • The subject of "Panzerkampf" is the Battle of Prokhorovka, part of the larger Battle of Kursk and one of the largest tank battles in history.
    • The video for "Primo Victoria" (made for a cross-promotion with World of Tanks) has the band driving a postwar British-made Centurion tank and blasting an assortment of hilariously outclassed German tanks.
    • The video for "Defence of Moscow" features tank battles between Panzer IIIs and T-34s interspersed in between infantry clashes and shots of the band.
    • "Steel Commanders" is about tank warfare through history, from World War I to the present day, and features the band aboard a Stridsvagn K Heavy tank, joining a free-for-all and getting into a gunnery duel with a variety of other tanksNote over the bridge and last chorus.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: "The Lost Battalion" uses the sound of a machine gun, a 9mm pistol, and a bayonet as proxies for a kick drum, a snare drum, and a hi-hat respectively.
  • Everyone Is Satan in Hell: invoked Parodied with "7734", which has "hidden Satanic messages" so obvious a child could spot them. The title of the song is "HELL" in calculator spelling, and the second verse contains a bunch of numerology jokes: "the last two united and two became one" (3+4=7, so 777) "one hundred eleven / they perished in flame" (777-111=666). And also the line "Do Glatem Live", which backwards is "Evil Metal God."
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: "Shiroyama" in The Last Stand tells of the last battle of the samurai in the Satsuma Rebellion, and it is all the more awesome for it.
    Bushido, dignified!
    It's the last stand of the samurai!
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: Bagpipes not only feature in the instrumentals of "Blood of Bannockburn", a part of the main chorus is about how bagpipes are awesome.
  • Evil Overlooker: Father's Lyrics Video has Fritz Haber brewing up either a batch of chemical fertilizer or chlorine while a battle rages on below, while clouds of Deadly Gas roil.
  • Fallen Hero: Five of them in "Birds of War."
  • Fanvid: Sabaton has a veritable cottage industry of YouTubers making music videos of their songs from various film, TV, and video game clips. It started as early as 2008 when a Polish fan made a video for the song "40:1" that went viral. It singlehandedly netted the band a borderline fanatical Polish fandom, and after it was taken down for copyright infringement, Sabaton re-uploaded it to their own channel. It even led to Polish filmmaker Jacek Raginis, a descendant of the Polish Army captain from the song, contacting the band with an offer to film an official video (he also later filmed the video for "Uprising").invoked
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Only one of Joakim's arms is tattooed, and he often wears a small band on one of his wrists.
  • A Father to His Men:
    • King Charles XII is painted this way in some of the later songs in Carolus Rex.
    • Also mentioned in the Sun Tzu quote in "Union (Slopes of St. Benedict)".
      "Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys. Look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death."
  • Firearms Are Revolutionary: Shiroyama depicts the Last Stand of the samurai and the end of Japanese feudalism, as the old warrior class finds itself outmatched by modern armies equipped with guns. In the song itself, 500 Satsuma samurai are outnumbered sixty to one and armed with swords against Imperial guns — the fact that they even survive until dawn is impressive. This romanticizes the real battle somewhat: firearms had in fact been present in Japan since the mid-1500s (at one point during the Warring States period there were more gunsmiths in Japan than in the whole of Europe) and all of the Satsumans had them, but the Gatling guns and greater numbers of the Imperial Japanese Army simply outgunned Saigo's samurai.
  • Foreshadowing: The Reveal of "Camouflage" is hinted at when the narrator notes earlier in the song that bullets seem to miss Camouflage as if he wasn't there. That's because he isn't; Camouflage was Dead All Along.
  • Forever War: "A Lifetime of War" is about the Thirty Years' War, which for some people lasted their entire lives. The Sabaton History videos for the song (covering both English and Swedish versions) go a step further, pointing out that Sweden was continuously at war with various countries for the full century covered by the Carolus Rex album.
  • Four-Star Badass: "Far from the Fame" is about Karel Janoušek, who was made Air Marshall.
  • Friend to All Children: Joakim Brodén will often call a young fan up on stage during concerts and give them his iconic sunglasses.
  • Friendly Fire: In the song The Lost Battalion due to wrong coordinates the American artillery fires on their own stranded soldiers instead of German formations.
  • Genre Shift: Besides the lyrical shift from Heavy Mithril to Horrible History Metal with Primo Victoria, the earlier albums are musically more Traditional Heavy Metal but shift to Power Metal roughly at The Art of War.
  • Ghostapo:
    • While "Ghost Division" is named after the actual nickname of the 7th Panzer Division, the lyrics of the song give the division a supernatural edge by portraying them as a division of both live and Cavalry of the Dead, fed by the fear the Nazis generate.
    • Inverted by "Night Witches", which portrays a Soviet bomber regiment nicknamed the "Night Witches" as actually having supernatural powers ("From the depths of Hell in silence/Cast their spells, explosive violence")
    • Inverted again by "The Attack of the Dead Men", which gives a similar portrayal to a counterattack by the surviving members of a Russian unit that was hit by a German gas attack during the battle for Osowiec Fortress:
      Osowiec then and again
      Attack of the dead hundred men
      Facing the lead once again
      Hundred men charge again, die again
  • Glorious Mother Russia:
    • "Panzerkampf", "Night Witches", and "Hill 3234" are all about the strength of the Red Army of Russia.
    • "Defence of Moscow", in spades. Hell, they even used their cover of the Soviet National Anthem for the bridge solo.
  • A God Am I: "Carolus Rex" (the song) stops just short in talking about King Charles XII's belief in the divine right of kings, portraying him as a borderline megalomaniac convinced his power comes directly from God.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: "Aces in Exile" is about the air forces of various nations who fought in the Battle of Britain.
  • Götterdämmerung: In the band's cover of Amon Amarth's "Twilight of the Thunder God".
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language:
    • "Attero Dominatus" uses four words in Latin. "Attero Dominatus" is supposed to mean "Destroy Tyranny", while "denique interimo" means "finally crushed" (but the grammar is a bit off).
    • "Uprising" has one sentence in Polish - "Warszawo, walcz!" which means "Warsaw, fight!" (commanding the city to fight - which it did.)
    • They constantly use German throughout most WW2 themed songs, although mostly basic terms everyone knows like "Panzer" (using the entire word "Panzerkampfwagen" in "Screaming Eagles"), and proper nouns like "Wehrmacht" (there is a whole track entitled "Wehrmacht" on the Coat of Arms album. No prizes for guessing what it's about). In "The Rise of Evil", which themes Hitler's uprising to power and the development of Nazi Germany, they use words like 'Anschluss' (the annexation of Austria), and 'Lebensraum' (the initial, official motivation for the war). There is also a cover song of Warlock's "Für Immer", which apart from a part of the chorus that's in English and Spanish, is entirely in German.
    • "Gott Mit Uns": It's German for "God With Us", and was used a lot in the Thirty Years War, including as something of a battle cry by the Swedes under Gustavus Adolphus. Even in the English version, this line stays in its original language.
    • Carolus Rex in general has a lot of this, with song titles like "Gott Mit Uns" and Ruina Imperii and whole lines in some songs being in Old Swedish. Plus, there is a Swedish version of the whole album. "Ruina Imperii" is the only song on the album that doesn't have an English version, not counting bonus tracks. The "chanting" in "The Carolean's Prayer" is the Lord's Prayer in Swedish (and is left untranslated in the English version). Bonus point for "Ruina Imperii" is titled in Latin/Russian.
    • On the "Sabaton Cruise" album, Joakim first welcomes the crowd to the cruise in Swedish, then welcomes them in English. However, he then adds "and if you want to understand me the rest of the show, I suggest you learn some fucking Swedish." For the rest of the show, while the songs use English lyrics, all of Joakim's banter between songs is in Swedish.
    • "Resist and Bite" features "Gloria fortis miles" which means "Glory to the brave soldier" and "Adversor et admorsus" which means "Resist and Bite".
    • In "Smoking Snakes", there's one line sung in Portuguese: "Cobras fumantes eterna é sua vitória!" ("Smoking Snakes, eternal is your victory!"). In fact, throughout the song, they're always refered as "Cobras Fumantes" (Portuguese for Smoking Snakes).
    • "Hearts of Iron" has a line that goes Nicht ein Schlacht, ein Rettungsaktion, meaning "It's not a battle, it's a rescue operation''.
    • And they covered Rammstein's "Feuer Frei" in German.
    • "Talvisota": Finnish for Winter War.
      The slice of a knife to the throat
      Their blood turns to ice

    • While "Livgardet" is sung entirely in Swedish, its English version "The Royal Guard" only has the bridge carried over from the original.
    • Inverted with "Hill 3234", which refers to the Afghan mujahideen by one possible English translation of the term: "those who fight".
  • Gratuitous Latin: The chorus of "The Lion from the North" is in Latin, in keeping with its subject King Gustaf II Adolf being more commonly known by his Latinized name Gustavus Adolphus.
    Gustavus Adolphus
    Libera et impera
    Acerbus et ingensnote 
    Augusta per angustanote 
  • The Greatest Story Never Told:
    • "A Light in the Black".
    When the war has been won,
    And the march home begins,
    What awaits has not yet been revealed,
    What was won? What was lost?
    Will our deeds be remembered?
    Are they written in stone or in sand?
    • The lyrics of "Long Live The King" acknowledge the mystery surrounding the death of King Charles XII, and that he had enemies among his own forces as well as the opposing armies.
    Killed by his own, or by his foes, turned the tide.
    300 years, still no one knows, the secret remains.
    • "Far From The Fame" is about celebrating its subject, Czechoslovakian pilot Karel Janoušek despite his deeds not being well known outside his homeland.
  • Guardian Angel: At the end of "Camouflage", the eponymous character is revealed to be this, in a manner. He was Dead All Along, and wanted "to save a young Marine caught in a barrage" as his final wish.
  • Harsh Vocals: Joakim Brodén's singing voice is notably deeper-pitched and gruffer than many Power Metal vocalists, but he can't actually growl. When they covered Amon Amarth's "Twilight of the Thunder God", he sang the verses in his usual voice, while producer Peter Tägtgren growled the bridge.
  • Heavy Meta:
  • Heavy Mithril:
    • "Shadows" is about Nazgul.
    • "Birds of War" is about five paladins fallen to darkness and scourging a world they once protected.
    • "Endless Nights" is about Satan waking up and unleashing Hell on Earth.
  • Here We Go Again!: "The War to end All Wars" begins with "Sarajevo", which describes the outbreak of World War I. The final track, "Versailles" begins as a Triumphant Reprise of "Sarajevo" describing the end of the war, before switching to the original chorus from "Sarajevo", suggesting that another war will follow.
    Narrator: The War That Would End All Wars is over... but not everyone agrees. In the underground, something is growing in the dark. Because for some, the war never ended. War will never entirely die. It will evolve, it will change, and war will return, sooner than we think.
    • To add an extra chill factor to those words, the album was released just as the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine was beginning.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In the "Steel Commanders" video, Sabaton's Stridsvagn K Heavy tank takes a glancing hit to the turret from an M103 and the band are knocked unconscious. They then wake up and promptly blow away the M103 at point-blank range and follow up by winning a gun duel with the FV4005 behind it.
  • Historical Biography Song: Very numerous in their catalogue:
  • Hold the Line:
    • The Art of War:
      • "40:1", where a unit of 400-700 Polish Army troops held the village of Wiznma against a German army outnumbering them forty to one for three days (at which point they ran out of ammunition and German engineers had finally begun to penetrate their bunkers).
      • "Panzerkampf", where a million-man formation of the Red Army fought off the Wehrmacht's attempt to encircle and destroy them at the Kursk salient.
    • Heroes:
      • "Resist and Bite", about a 40-man Belgian unit that held the border against the Germans for 18 days before being captured. The song references the Germans' astonishment that so few had held them off for so long across such a large area.
      • "Hearts of Iron", about the German 9th and 12th Armies fighting a last stand against the Red Army, against orders from Hitler to fight to the last man, to allow tens of thousands of civilians and noncombatants to escape westward to the safety of the Western Allies' lines.
    • The other Central Theme of The Last Stand, with most of the legendary last stands also being a case of this. "Winged Hussars", "Rorke's Drift", "Hill 3234", and "The Last Battle" are particular examples where the defenders won.
    • "Race To The Sea" is all about how the Belgians in World War 1 were more willing to flood their own country than let the central powers pass.
    No more of our country lost/The line will be HELD AT ALL COST!
    • "Defence of Moscow" also depicts the titular World War II battle as this, considering that the Russians are to hold off the charge of Nazi Germany towards the Russian capitol:
      Hear Marshal Zhukov's, and Stalin's orders
      Defend the motherland
      Moscow shall not fall!

      Stand and follow command, our blood for the homeland
      Heed the motherland's call, and brace for the storm
      Moscow will never give in, there is no surrender
      Force them into retreat, and into defeat
    • Mentioned by name several times in "The Valley of Death", which details the rather formidable defense of Dojran by the Bulgarian Army aganst a vastly numerically superior British forces. The British attacked four times in an attempt to breach the line, to no avail. This lead to the Bulgarians being aknowledged as Worthy Opponents by many veterans after the war.
      United they're strong, united they're holding the line!
      The Valley of Death awaiting the British as they come their way!
  • Holiday Ceasefire: Their song "Christmas Truce" is dedicated to the real-life Christmas Truce of World War I.
  • Holy Pipe Organ:
    • The intro to "The Carolean's Prayer" features this before it breaks into guitar.
    • The intro to "Livgardet" has an organ-and-choir intro.
  • Horny Vikings: "Swedish Pagans". Their cover of "Twilight of the Thunder God" might count too.
  • Horrible History Metal: They live by this trope. Most of their songs are about historical events. Most of the content in their songs tends to be very accurate, even about the obscure stories.
  • Hospital Hottie: The unnamed British Army nurse in the video for "The Unkillable Soldier" who treats Sir Adrian every time he's injured with her shirt unbuttoned enough to show her décolletage.
  • I Am the Noun:
    • "We Burn":
      Who will drag me to court
      There's no crime if you do not get caught
      I am the law
  • "I Am" Song: The song "Carolus Rex" is this for the titular king.
  • Icarus Allusion: With "The Red Baron" the chorus says he's flying too fast and too high and the song keeps building, urging ever higher and also mentions Richthofen embracing his fame as The Red Baron.
  • Iconic Outfit: Joakim's mirrored glasses, armored jacket and camouflage pants. The glasses, in specific, are often given away in shows.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: "The Hammer Has Fallen"
  • Immune to Bullets: In "Camouflage", the eponymous character has bullets pass right through him. It's because he's a Ghost Marine.
  • Implacable Man: "The Unkillable Soldier" features a living example in Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart, who served in the Boer War, First World War, the Polish-Soviet War, and the Second World War. Over the course of his career he was shot in the face, stomach, ankle, leg and hip, and was also shot in the head multiple times, blinding him in the left eye. He also survived two plane crashes, cut off two of his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them, and when he was captured in World War II, escaped from the Castello di Vincigliata POW camp by tunneling under the walls. No matter the injury or setback, he always immediately returned to the front lines. No foe could bring him down, and he died peacefully in his sleep in 1963 at the ripe old age of 83.
  • Impromptu Fortress: Rorke's Drift describes how the support column to a British army wiped out by the Zulus at the Battle of Isandlhwana swiftly worked to build barricades of boxes around their position at a Christian mission against the oncoming African army.
  • Instrumental Weapon:
    • In "The Lost Battalion", what sounds like drums is actually artillery fire set to the beat. Pistol gunfire and the sound of a bayonet piercing flesh are also used to add to the music's rhythm.
    • In the official music video for "Bismarck", the sound of the eponymous battleship's guns firing (taken from World of Warships, which the video was produced in collaboration with) punctuate the first two choruses, but the third, coming after "his guns have gone silent at last", has no cannonfire.
    • The official music video for "Field of Verdun" uses rifle, cannon, and machine gun fire to musical effect.
  • Intercourse with You: In the form of a Heavy Meta Shout-Out. It's easy to miss, but the first verse of "Metal Crüe" includes the line "Watch the rock bitch go down, vixen spread". Rockbitch was a relatively obscure British all-female Hard Rock band in the '90s known for playing nude and performing unsimulated sex rituals on each other during concerts.
  • The Juggernaut: "Ghost Division"
    They are the panzer elite,
    Born to compete,
    Never retreat. (Ghost Division)
    Living or dead,
    Always ahead,
    Fed by your dread.
  • La Résistance:
    • Coat of Arms:
      • "Uprising" is a song about the Warsaw Uprising, praising Polish resistance.
        From the underground,
        rose a hope of freedom as a whisper.
        City in despair, but they never lost their faith.
        Women, men and children fight,
        they were dying side by side.
        And the blood they shed upon the streets,
        was a sacrifice willingly paid.
      • "Coat Of Arms" paints the whole Greek nation as this. Considering how tough the Greeks resisted the Axis in real life - such as utterly humiliating the Italians and later furiously resisting the German occupation - this isn't far off.
      • "Saboteurs" is about the Norwegian resistance fighters sent to destroy the Telemark heavy-water plant.
    • "Inmate 4859" is about Witold Pilecki, soldier of Polish Armia Krajowa resistance, prisoner (No. 4859) in Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp, leader and hero of resistance in Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp. And then shot for treason by the pro-Soviet postwar government of Poland.
  • Large Ham: Joakim Brodén is a Metal vocalist, after all.
  • Last Stand:
    • The Art of War: "40:1" is about the Battle of Wizna during the Nazi invasion of Poland, during which 700 entrenched Polish soldiers and six artillery guns held off a German army numbering 40,000 for three days before being overrun (they ran out of ammo, and German engineers were finally starting to crack their bunkers). The Polish captain jumped on a grenade rather than surrender.
    • Heroes:
      • "Smoking Snakes" talks about three Brazilian soldiersnote  who, ambushed by Germans, fought until their ammo ran out and died in a bayonet charge.
      • "Hearts of Iron" is about the German forces of the 12th and 9th Armies, who facing defeat at the hands of the Soviets, created a corridor across the Elbe to protect fleeing refugees and soldiers to escape and surrender to the West rather than face certain death.
    • The Last Stand is the name and central theme of their eighth album.
      • The first three singles released were "The Lost Battalion", "Blood of Bannockburn" and "Shiroyama". "The Lost Battalion" is about the eponymous battalion fighting for a week with no reinforcements in World War I; "Blood of Bannockburn" is about the Battle of Bannockburn, where the Scots managed to hold off (and win) against the numerically superior English forces; "Shiroyama" is about the Battle of Shiroyama, where 350-500 samurai were outnumbered 60 to 1 against the Imperial Japanese army.
      • The opening track, "Sparta", is about the Battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartans led other Greek soldiers in a successful holding action against a vastly larger Persian army. They all died, but they achieved their objective.note 
      • "Last Dying Breath" is about the doomed defense of Belgrade by the Serbian Army against Austria-Hungary.
      • The title track, "The Last Stand", is about the Stand of the Swiss Guard, where 189 Swiss Guardsmen fought to allow the Pope to escape The Sack of Rome.
      • "Winged Hussars" is a subversion of this. The Siege of Vienna looked to be like this for the Austrian defenders against the Ottomans... THEN THE WINGED HUSSARS ARRIVED! Ditto "Hill 3234" and "Rorke's Drift", both of which were cases where the underdogs won.note 
      • "The Last Battle" is about the Battle of Castle Itter, where a combination of troops from the United States, Germany, an SS Defector, and several prisoners of war stood against the Waffen SS until a larger American force relieved them.
    • "Bismarck" is about the first and last deep-sea voyage of the German battleship of same name, whose defiant last stand against two Royal Navy battleships and a heavy cruiser is discussed in the song's bridge.
      At the bottom of the ocean, the depths of the abyss
      They are bound by iron and blood
      The flagship of the navy, the terror of the seas
      His guns have gone silent at last
    • "Race To The Sea" focusses on The Battle of the Yser, where King Albert I of Belguim took command of the Belgian military to make a final stand and prevent the last stretch of Belgian territory from being occupied. Notably, one tactic used to prevent the Germans from crossing the river was to open the sluice gates in the nearby city of Nieuwpoort to flood the river and render it impassable.
    For king and for country
    We are flooding the river
    Our stand at Yser will be
    The end of the race to the sea
    The last piece of Belgium's free
    We're keeping a sliver!
    A cog in the war machine
    October of 1914!

  • The Last Dance: "The Attack of the Dead Men" depicts one for the soldiers in question. After the Germans deployed Deadly Gas against them, the remaining defenders of Osowiec Fortres elected to mount a countercharge against the seven thousand strong German forces as they succumbed to their wounds, managing to repel the charge before the majority perished from their injuries.
  • Lead Bassist: Pär Sundström, one of the two remaining founding members of the band, is the other recognizable member alongside Joakim: while he doesn't often talk to the audience during concerts, they trade off appearing in promotional videos, including Sabaton History episodes. He's also the band's manager, and Joakim has expressed incredulity at how hard he works at it; for his part, Pär says he enjoys the work.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: "No Bullets Fly", which is about the Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler incident, in which a heavily damaged B-17 stumbled upon an enemy. However, the enemy in question (Franz Stigler) saw that the plane was too damaged to fight, and promptly not only didn't fire but led the bomber to safety. Quote the chorus:
    Fly, fighting fair!
    It's the code, of the air!
    Brothers, Heroes, Foes
  • Lightning Bruiser: "Stormtroopers" is about the German Stoßtruppen shock troops who fiercely and furiously battled the Entente in the final German offensive of 1918 using newly developed infiltration "Hutier" tactics. Stormtroopers prioritized speed, eschewing rifles for bundles of grenades and submachineguns, to bypass enemy strongpoints and disrupt their rear areas while concentrating overwhelming force to singular points of attack. These new techniques, alongside innovative artillery deployments and a temporary advantage in manpower brought by the Russians bowing out of the war, allowed a breakthrough in the long stagnant, infamous stalemate of the Western Front making tremendous territorial gains.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: The 2000s line-up would be a solid type 4, having lasted from 2001 (when they changed drummers to Daniel Mullback) to 2012, except they added a dedicated keyboardist (Daniel Myhr) in 2005.
  • Lost in Translation: There is a distinct difference in tone between the Swedish and English versions of "Carolus Rex". The English version is a pretty positive badass-praising album in regular Sabaton-style. The Swedish version is a far more solemn affair, focusing more on the effects of the war on soldiers, civilians and countries, and doesn't shy away from depicting atrocities on either side. For comparison: The bridge from Killing Ground
    English version: See the Caroleans standing tall/ All for one and one for all/ Enemies fall at their feet/ Begging for their mercy/ See the Caroleans standing tall/ Conquer lands and slaughter all/ Enemies fall at their feet/ Victory and great defeat
    Direct translation of Swedish version: See the Russian surrender, beg for mercy/ The Swede violates the code of war/ Caroleans take their revenge/ Slaughter their prisoners/ See the Russian surrender, beg for mercy/ Mass murder, not heroic deed/ Caroleans take their revenge/ Honor is lost
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "The Final Solution". An awesome metal song... about the horrors of the Holocaust, specifically Auschwitz. The band stopped playing that song live until their 2017 tour because they found it unsettling to see the audience cheer and headbang along.
    • "The Price of a Mile", also a catchy, badass, upbeat song about the soldiers dying pointless deaths at Passchendaele.
    • "Nuclear Attack" just like the two above, a catchy and more upbeat song about the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    • "We Burn" — catchy, badass song about the Srebrenica massacre. According to the Sabaton History episode, Oskar Montelius wrote the solo without actually knowing what the song was about.
    • "Long Live The King" is a glorious, epic ballad about the death of the Swedish Empire and the titular King Charles XII, as his soldiers do everything to bring his body back to Sweden.
    • "In The Army Now" is a badass ballad about a poor sod who gets suckered into joining the military, and it is nothing like what he expected.
    • Zig-zagged by "To Hell And Back": On the one hand, it's a badass, uplifting song that describes the horrors in WW2 faced by Audie Murphy and even describes his struggles with PTSD in the bridge ("And all along the shore/Where cannons still roar/They're haunting my dreams/They're still there when I sleep"). On the other hand, the badass, uplifting tone fits perfectly with how the lyrics describe Murphy's triumphs and eventual recovery ("He charged and attacked/He went to Hell and back!"). So whether or not the lyrics fit the music depends on what part of the song you're looking at.
    • "Killing Ground" is a blood-pumping song about the Caroleans slaughtering surrendering enemy soldiers at the battle of Fraustadt. Taken even further by the Swedish version "Ett Slag Färgat Rött" (literally "A Battle Painted Red"), which is much more explicit about the Swedish war crimes while being exactly as energetic as the English version.
    • "Attero Dominatus" is a song about the Soviet sack of Berlin. Despite this, it's a catchy song with a big sing-along chorus.
    • "Fields of Verdun" is an awesome, badass, high-energy song about the Battle of Verdun, which lasted 303 days and claimed upwards of 300,000 lives and at least 400,000 other casualties.
    • "The Great War" as well. It might just be Sabaton's most triumphant and energetic song to date, complete with an angelic choir boasting the greatness of the War to End All War. The lyrics tell the story of a man lying in a trench next to his own brother's rotting corpse, questioning just what exactly he's even fighting for. In the end he decides it's just not his place to question and joins the charge forward, in which it's implied that he dies.
  • Lyrics/Video Mismatch:
  • Mad Scientist: Invoked in the video for "Father." Fritz Haber, sporting Scary Shiny Glasses, is lit up by the Sickly Green Glow of his chemistry equipment, which is spewing a plume of chlorine while he exults in triumph with nary a fume hood in sight. His "good" side is also creepy and ignoring lab safety, but with the evil florescent green switched out for cyan as he's brewed up some ammonia for use as fertilizer.
  • Magical Native American: "A Ghost in the Trenches", about Francis Pegahmagabow who was a soldier from the indigenous First Nations of Canada and the most effective sniper of the first World War, invokes this trope, saying that Pegahmagabow called upon the power of spirits to aid him on the battlefield.
    In the battle, the gas had them pinned
    Pegahmagabow invoked the spirits of the wind
  • Man Bites Man: "Resist and Bite", which is about the Chasseurs Ardennais during World War II.
  • Meaningful Name: A sabaton is an armoured shoe, as a part of knightly armor, which is appropriate for a band that sings about military history.
  • Merry in Minor Key: All but two songs in their discography were composed in a minor key, but despite their military history theme, many are quite upbeat. One example is "The Last Battle", which describes how US Army troops, German defectors, Austrian resistance fighters, and prisoners of war joined forces at the end of World War II to hold off a Waffen-SS death squad for several hours until Army reinforcements relieved them.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Joakim Brodén is an utter master of this in live performances and music videos, "Uprising", for example.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: "Father" questions this in the second verse, bringing up the fact that Fritz Haber's invention of the process to manufacture ammonia for chemical fertilizer has fed billions, but he also indirectly killed tens of thousands in his role in the German chemical weapons program.
    And on the battlefield they’re dying
    And on the fields the crops are grown
    So who can tell us what is right or wrong
    Maths or morality alone?
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The album Carolus Rex goes through this at two points. The first, when after the triumphant and blood-pumping "Gott Mit Uns" we go into the Tear Jerker ballad "A Lifetime of War". The second when after the hopeful tone of "The Carolean's Prayer", the triumphal Motive Rant "Carolus Rex", and the fast blood-pumper "Killing Ground", we get the fast-paced yet noticeably down-turn "Poltava", followed by "Long Live the King" and "Ruina Imperii" - mournful cries about the death of Swedish glory.
    • Heroes has another example with the rather abrupt switch from the blood-pumping "Smoking Snakes" to the operatic, grim tale of Witold Pilecki in "Inmate 4859". This happens again when "Inmate 4859" is then followed by the badass, energetic "To Hell And Back".
    • The Last Stand has the relatively low key but fast paced song Last Dying Breath be immediately followed by Blood of Bannockburn, which is by far the most high key songs Sabaton has ever done, which is then followed by the much more slow-paced and low key song The Lost Batallion.
    • Within one song, "Versailles" begins by combining a sad-but-hopeful tune over the spoken history with a celebratory and triumphant melody linked with the sung lyrics, as the War to End All Wars comes to an end. Midway through, it shifts to a very creepy Dark Reprise of the latter tune, as the singer wonders whether they've really ended the war at all.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: "Panzerkampf", "Night Witches," "Hill 3234" and "The Attack of the Dead Men."
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: The conclusion of "Father" regarding Fritz Haber, who both earned a Nobel Prize for feeding billions through the invention of chemical fertilizer, and reviled for his role in Germany's World War I chemical weapons program.
    During times when there’s peace he belonged to the world
    During times when there’s war he belonged to his place of birth
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Carolus Rex, their first #1 hit in their home country, is a warts-and-all retelling of the rise and fall of Sweden's 17th century empire, from Gustavus Adolphus to Carolus Rex. In particular, the title track paints Charles XII as practically a madman, utterly convinced of his own God-given rightness, and the following song "Ett slag färgat rött" (translation here) harshly criticizes his army for murdering hundreds of Russian prisoners of war after the Battle of Fraustadt.
  • Mysterious Protector: The titular character in "Camouflage", who saves a young marine in Vietnam. Despite having had died the night before the song happened with his last wish being "to save a young marine".
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Invoked in "Attack of the Dead Men", which is about a battle in WW1 where the Germans used poison gas against a Russian position, and said enemy decided to fix bayonets and take them along. The Germans fled, thinking their enemy were vengeful revenants instead of Not Quite Dead.
  • Noble Bird of Prey:
    • The eagle is frequently used to symbolize Nazi Germany (for example, “The wings of the eagle's been broken” from “Attero Dominatus” and “The boar against the eagle” from “Resist and Bite”).
    • The backing lyrics in the final chorus of “Inmate 4859” contain the phrase “White eagle”, referring to the white eagle of Poland.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Long Live the King", "The Carolean's Prayer", "In The Name Of God", "Metal Ripper", "Hill 3234", "Carolus Rex", "Panzerkampf", "The Last Battle", “The Lost Battalion”, “Union (Slopes of St. Benedict)”, "The Last Stand", "Hearts of Iron", "The Attack of the Dead Men", "A Ghost in the Trenches". Partial credit to "Smoking Snakes", whose title appears in the prechorus in Portuguese as "Cobras fumantes", but not in English.
  • Nonindicative Name: Despite its title, "Panzer Battalion" isn't another song about World War Two German tanks, but about Gulf War-era US tanks.
  • Nuke 'em: "Nuclear Attack", about the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • Number of the Beast: Played for Laughs by "A Secret" which contains a part that says that it has detected an illegal download and is executing spyware protocol 666. Note that 666 is spelled out at "Six hundred sixty-six."
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Joakim caused one of these. His mother is Czech and he has dual citizenship in the Czech Republic, and in 2015 he entered their national singing competition Český Slavík and finished in 5th place. The next year they added a rule that entrants had to primarily perform in the Czech Republic and booted him.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: "Inmate 4859" starts off with one.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ:
    • Played straight by "Wehrmacht", "Birds of War", and "Rise of Evil".
    • The intro to "The Red Baron", especially prominent in the soundtrack version, features Bach's Fugue in G minor ("The Little Fugue", BWV 578) that's almost Germanic Creepy Circus Music for the titular German Ace Pilot meant to evoke the nickname of his unit Jagdgeschwader 1, "Richthofen's Flying Circus" because of the colorful planes and even more colorful, accomplished pilots that comprised it.
  • One-Man Army: "White Death" about Simo Häyhä.
  • One-Woman Wail: The soundtrack version of "The End of the War to End All Wars" breaks into this at one part.
  • Oppressed Minority Veteran:
  • Our Zombies Are Different: "Attack of the Dead Men" covers an incredible battle in WWI where Russian forces, after suffering extreme gas attacks from the Germans with no way to protect themselves, charged back at the Germans. By the time they charged, the gas had taken the toll on them to the point their skin was melting off due the effects of the gas and they were spitting blood as well as parts of their lungs. The surprise and the terror of this sight of what appeared to be the undead charging headfirst against them made the Germans flee in a disorganized panic (some falling in their own traps). After the battle, most of the remaining soldiers did indeed perish from their ghastly wounds.
    Osowiec then and again
    Attack of the dead, Hundred Men
    Facing the lead once again
    Hundred men
    Charge again
    Die again!
  • Out-of-Genre Experience:
    • "The Ballad of Bull" is a straight-up Power Ballad.
    • "Inmate 4859" has a much grimmer and downbeat sound than most Sabaton songs.
    • "In Flanders Fields" is a musical rendition of a famous poem written by John McCrae, a Canadian veteran of World War I and physician who died just before the end of the war. It's not a metal song, rather more like something you would play at a memorial service.
  • invoked Paranoia Fuel: How the Night Witches are portrayed in their eponymous song. The only signs of their presence are a whisper on the wind and the destruction caused by their bombs.
  • Patriotic Fervor: The band is very proud, frequently to the point of comedy, of their Swedish heritage. One of the bonus tracks on the Updated Re-release of The Art of War is the band and audience singing the Swedish national anthem at the Sweden Rock Festival.
  • Patriot in Exile: The songs "Aces in Exile" and "Far from the Fame" both describe fighter pilots from Eastern Europe escaping to the UK after their countries were overrun by Nazi Germany, and fighting with the Royal Air Force against the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. "Aces in Exile"'s first two choruses name-drop the Polish-crewed 303 Squadron and Czechoslovak-crewed 310 Squadron, while "Far from the Fame" is specifically about Czechoslovak Air Force Marshal Karel Janousek, who led the RAF-supplied Free Czechoslovak Air Force during the war. Janousek was later imprisoned by the postwar Soviet-aligned government.
  • Pictorial Letter Substitution: Sabaton's logo includes a piece of plate armor as part of the S, a reference to the name of the band referring to the boot on a suit of plate.
  • Poison Is Evil:
    • Chemical warfare is rightly depicted as being completely and universally evil in Sabaton's albums. In particular the narration for "Attack of the Dead Men" on The Great War: History Edition refers to chlorine gas as "the ultimate weapon of cruelty, a highly effective delivery method for a slow and painful death."
    • The man-or monster-responsible for the weaponization of chlorine gas, Fritz Haber, gets his own song, "Father." While the music video depicts him as a cackling Mad Scientist exulting in his achievement of isolating chlorine, the song itself points out he jointly invented the Haber-Bosch Process with Carl Bosch, which allowed the production of ammonia for use in fertilizer, and thus is also responisible for a huge population boom. It also subtly alludes to the production and use of Zyklon-B in the Holocaust in its final verse, which wouldn't have been possible without Haber's work-Haber being the man who invented it, for use as a farming pesticide.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: An interesting variation happens in Heroes. Their second album's title track, "Attero Dominatus", is about the fall of Berlin, told from the perspective of the advancing Red Army. Heroes contains the song "Hearts of Iron" which is about the same event, but from the perspective of the German troops trying to protect civilians.
  • Power Ballad: "The Ballad of Bull", which is remarkably slow and barely features guitars in it.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: In live shows, before performing "Smoking Snakes", they will shout "A Cobra Vai Fumar!" ("The Snake will Smoke!", battle cry of the actual Smoking Snakes).
  • Precision F-Strike: In "Devil Dogs", right before the guitar solo, Joakim shouts "Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?!" This phrase is attributed to American Marine Sergeant Daniel Daly, supposedly used to spur his men on during the Battle of Belleau Wood. The phrase is quoted word-for-word in the song.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: "Wehrmacht" explores whether or not they were "crazy madmen on a leash or young men who lost their way." The speaker seems to come to the conclusion that it was a little of both.
  • Punished for Sympathy: "No Bullets Fly" comments that Luftwaffe pilot Franz Stigler "risked his life two times that day / To save an unknown enemy". Stigler faced a possible death sentence for helping the B-17 to safetynote , and so left it out of his official report.
  • The Quisling: A great deal of scorn is reserved towards Ephialtes of Trachia (the man who betrayed the Spartans to the Persians) in "Sparta".
    By traitor's hand, secret passage, to their land
    Know his name, know his shame will last forever
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn:
    • "1648", particularly in the Swedish version.
    • "Attero Dominatus" too, especially if you know what the Soviets did to Berlin... note 
    • The chorus of "We Burn" has this almost word-for-word: "We burn, plunder, and rape."
  • Rated M for Manly: 90% of their songs are about war and conflict, after all.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: The subjects of many of their songs including Charles XII and Alvin York.
  • Recruiters Always Lie: In "In The Army Now" (Cover Version of a song by Status Quo), the recruiter says that Army doesn't do much except stay in bed, and that the recruit will be a hero to the neighborhood. Nothing like it happens: he's thrust into a war and nobody really cares about him.
  • Religion Rant Song:
    • Subverted with "Burn Your Crosses". If you hear it without context, you would think it's just a rant on the evils of Christianity. But Joakim Brodén has emphatically stated the song is, like all other Sabaton songs, a narrative: It's about a man about to be executed by the Spanish Inquisition who decides to go out in a blaze of glory, and the song is his speech.
    • Downplayed with "In the Name of God", which is a "Villain Sucks" Song about religiously motivated terrorism.
  • The Remnant: In "Race to the Sea", Belgium has been mostly occupied by Germany, but the Belgian victory at the Yser allows them to hold a sliver of land and continue participating in the Great War.
  • Revolving Door Band: They've been one since 2/3 of the band left after Carolus Rex, having changed drummers in 2013note  and swapping guitarist Thobbe Englund for Tommy Johansson in 2017.
  • Rightful King Returns: "Hail to the King".
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: "Aces in Exile" depicts this by the Polish and Czech pilots.
    Even at night shadows cover the ground
    Fighting goes on from dusk till dawn
    With the claw of the Reich with the claw of the eagle
    They were ready to fight, they were ready to die
    Up in the air, the battle goes on
    They have proven their worth, they have their revenge
  • Rock Beats Laser:
    • Both played straight and subverted. In the beginning of "Rorke's Drift" the song summarizes how the Zulus destroyed the British forces at the legendary Battle of Isandlwana, but the song in general is about "laser" (The British Empire) holding "rock" (The Zulu) against all odds at the Battle of Rorke's Drift, where about 141 British soldiers held off around five-thousand Zulus. And won.
    • Defied in "Shiroyama".
    It's the nature of time, that the old ways must give in.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The band's first language is, of course, Swedish. They have a habit of getting singular and plural forms mixed up in their lyrics, and consistently write "led" (past tense of "to lead") in place of "lead" (the metal that bullets are made from). C.f. the lyric video for "The Attack of the Dead Men".
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Carolus Rex:
    • "Sparta" is about King Leonidas leading the Spartans at Thermopylae.
    • "Race to the Sea" mentions the fact that King Albert I of Belgium took personal command of the Belgian army against the wishes of his commanders, and led the army in holding a sliver of Belgian territory against the Germans for the entire war.
  • Say My Name:
    • Inverted by "Inmate 4859", which deliberately avoids saying Witold Pilecki's name.
    • "Far from the Fame": "Far, far away from the fame / But we still remember your name / (shouted) Karel Janoušek!"
    • Played with in "The Red Baron":
    Embrace the fame, red squadron leader!
    Call out his name: Rote Kampfflieger!note 
    • "Soldier of 3 Armies":
    Shout Lauri Törni's name
    Soldier of three armies knows the game
    Keeps their echo from the past
    Rise from beyond your grave
    Son of Finland and the Green Beret
    May you rest in peace at last
    Lauri Allan Törni!
  • Say Your Prayers: Subverted in "The Caroleans' Prayer". The bridge is The Lord's Prayer in Swedish, but it's triumphant instead of resigned.
  • Scary Black Man: "Hellfighters", about the US Army 369th Infantry Regiment—also known as the Harlem Hellfighters, a regiment of mostly black and Latino volunteers from New York City. It's easily the darkest and most brutal track on The War to End All Wars.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: A running theme in Sabaton songs. "Hearts of Iron", for example, has Germans deciding to ignore their orders to save civilians.
  • Screw Your Ultimatum!: The third verse (and opening splash of the music video) of "Screaming Eagles" recounts how the commander of the 101st Airborne, defending Bastogne at the Battle of the Bulge, responded to a German surrender demand as follows: "NUTS!"
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Part of Sabaton's signature sound is a three-part harmony, which the band initially made by recording themselves singing the melody, a high tenor harmony, and a baritone harmony (nowadays they have the resources to hire a professional choir). "Primo Victoria" was their first song to use this technique.
  • Semper Fi:
    • Their cover of "Camouflage" is about a pair of Marines, title drops this trope in the lyrics, and the eponymous Camouflage takes it seriously enough that he plays Mysterious Protector to the song's protagonist despite having died the night before.
    • "Devil Dogs" is about the Marines during the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I. It's the battle in which the Marines earned their nickname, as the German army compared them to "hounds of Hell."
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Referenced in the bridge of "To Hell and Back" and shown in full extent in the song's music video, which focuses on a PTSD-ridden war vet (implied to be Audie Murphy himself) clashing with the memories of the horror of war. Truth in Television, as Audie Murphy had severe PTSD and helped to raise awareness for the disease.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Sparta" has quite a few to 300, including the Spartan's "OOH AAH!" chant.
    • "The Last Battle" has "From the home of the brave, from the land of the free", a reference to the final line of the American national anthem. It's paired with "From the foot of the Alps to the shores of the sea", a very rough paraphrase of a line from the (no longer used) first stanza of the German anthemnote .
    • "Firestorm" has a small reference to another metal band:
    AA guns are blazing
    As the sky is turning red
    Better run for cover
    You'll be quick or be dead
    • "Screaming Eagles" has one to a famous movie about Operation Market Garden:
    Thrown towards Arnhem, a bitter defeat
    They're stretched out just one bridge too far
    • Bismarck sees the titular ship described as "made to rule the waves", alluding to "Rule Britannia."
    • The background melody of "Christmas Truce" is based on "The Carol of the Bells".
    • The chanting in the bridge section of Stormtroopers is very similar to the chanting in Balls to the Wall by Accept.
  • Shown Their Work: Besides the accuracy (and sheer obscurity) of their songs (such as "Far from the Fame"'s Karel Janoušek, who didn't have an English Wikipedia page before the single came out), there's a particular example in "To Hell and Back": The song's chorus and a whole verse are lifted almost entirely from one of Murphy's poems.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Joakim has a speaking voice which is pretty much the posterchild for "Swedish", with a slight Dalecarlian accent. Interview in English Interview in Swedish. His singing voice, on the other hand...
  • Something Else Also Rises:
    • The refrain of "Metal Machine" (otherwise a Song of Song Titles celebrating metal) has Joakim variously remarking "Come hold/touch/suck my metal machine".
    • Inverted with "The Rise of Evil". The song is ostensibly about the rise of Nazi Germany, but Brodén has been known to introduce it at concerts by saying it's about his penis. (This can be heard in Swedish on a bonus track of the Primo Victoria reissue.)
  • Snow Means Death: Multiple examples.
    • "Talvisota", literally the Winter War; fought during one of the century's coldest winters, use of snow camouflage by Finnish ski troops, resulted in defeat of superior numbers of Soviet troops unprepared for winter conditions.
    • "Ruina Imperii", covering the Carolean Death March and the fall of the Swedish empire.
    • "White Death": the Finnish sniper Simo Häyhä in the Winter War.
    • Inverted in "Christmas Truce", where snowfall signifies the beginning of Christmas and the (temporary) end of the fighting.
    • "Soldier of Heaven" is about the Alpine front in WWI (that is, Italy v. Austria-Hungary), and more specifically about "White Friday", an incident on 13 December 1916 when thousands of soldiers on both sides were killed in avalanches—many of which were deliberately set off by artillery fire.
  • Song of Song Titles:
    • "Metal Machine" is so full of Shout-Outs to other bands' lyrics that it'd probably be quicker to watch this video showing what and where they are in the song than to read a full list of them. "Metal Crue" does the same thing with the names of metal bands, while "Metal Ripper" uses song titles.
    • Heroes features "Man Of War", fittingly for a giant tribute to Manowar, has lyrics entirely composed by names of Manowar songs.
  • Stage Names: Drummer Hannes's legal last name is really just "Dahl". The "Van", which is capitalized, is meant to make it sound like "vandal".
  • Start My Own: Most of the original six-piece band left to form the Horrible History Metal band Civil War in 2012 due to burnout from Sabaton's intense touring schedule (to give you an idea, for the Heroes tour they did 150 shows on several continents in six months, and even Joakim admitted it was "fucking hard"). They're still friends, though Joakim admits things were tense for a little while.
  • Stealth Expert: "A Ghost in the Trenches" is about Francis Pegahmagabow, the most accomplished sniper of World War I. It describes him as a ghost roaming the battlefield making his way freely from trench to trench without being detected—which is an understatement: the real Pegahmagabow would sometimes even sneak into German trenches and cut off pieces of sleeping soldiers' uniforms as souvenirs.
  • Subliminal Seduction: Parodied in "7734" with numerology and backwards lyrics so obvious a child could get them. For one, 7734 itself - type it on a calculator and hold the calculator upside down, you get "hELL". Then there's this: "the last two united and two became one" (3+4=7, so 777) "one hundred eleven / they perished in flame" (777-111=666), and also the line "Do Glatem Live", which backwards is "Evil Metal God."
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Played for Drama in "Christmas Truce" with the line "and the snow fell, voices sang to me from... no man's land." Given the image and reputation of the Western Front of World War I, it's pretty clear that they were evoking War Is Hell with that line.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: "Hearts of Iron" shows a more sympathetic side of Nazi Germany: The civilians and Punch-Clock Villain soldiers present, trying to flee from the horrors of war, while other Wehrmacht soldiers hold open the escape corridor and coordinate the evacuation of Berlin.
  • Tank Goodness:
    • The band has a mad, passionate love affair with German panzers in particular, including "Ghost Division" and "Panzerkampf" from The Art of War, the latter of which covers the Battle of Kursk, one of the biggest armor confrontations in history. "Panzer Battalion" sounds like another one but is actually about the 2003 invasion of Iraq, focusing on American M1 Abrams tanks.
    • The song "The Future of Warfare" from the "Great War" album is about the first appearance of tanks on the battlefield.
    • The video of "Steel Commanders" likens the tank to the knights of the medieval battlefield and features a dizzying array of tanks up to the 1950s, from a British Mark I complete with a wheeled trailer for steering assistance up to Sabaton's Ace Custom Centurion from World of Tanks dueling a Red Army IS-2 and KV-1 over the bridge and last chorus. (Studio Wargaming did the CGI for the video, as they had for "Primo Victoria" and "Bismarck".)
  • Technicolor Toxin: "Father"'s music video has green poison gas (implied to be chlorine, which really *is* a shade of green) in both Fritz Haber's laborotory and on the battlefield scenes. However, real chlorine is charteruse, while the stuff Haber produced is flourescent green and faintly glowing, like cartoon toxic waste.
  • Title Drop: Aside from Metalizer, every song that shares a title with their albums has one. Multiple other songs too.
  • To the Tune of...: The melody of "Livgardet" is based on an old Scandinavian hymn, "Härlig är Jorden", and much of the song is sung by a men's choir.
  • Tragic Villain:
    • This pretty much sums up the depiction of the Nazis in Sabaton's songs. Starting from "Rise Of Evil" to "The Final Solution" to "Hearts of Iron", the soldiers of the Third Reich are ultimately shown as men attempting to bring back their country to glory despite committing atrocities all for a delusional vision that brought Germany to flames in the end.
    • The above is pretty much put in song form in "Wehrmacht".
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines
    • "Screaming Eagles" from the Coat of Arms album is about the 101st Airborne and 10th Armored Divisions' defence of besieged Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.
    • "The Lost Battalion" from The Last Stand is about the "Lost Battalion", nine companies of the United States 77th Division, roughly 554 men, isolated by German forces during World War I after an American attack in the Argonne Forest in October 1918.
  • Triumphant Reprise: Subverted by "Versailles", which reprises "Sarajevo". "Versailles" begins hopeful that the treaty will bring lasting peace before about 2/3 of the way through, the chorus is replaced with that of "Sarajevo" before finally asking if a war can end all war and if this war will only bring another. Spoiler alert: It did. The keyboard sting at the end is also a Call-Back to "Rise of Evil", the next song chronologically.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: Joakim's preferred accent since 2006.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: Appears on the final choruses of “Attero Dominatus”, “The Last Stand”, “To Hell And Back”, "A Ghost In The Trenches", "The Unkillable Soldier", and "Soldier of Heaven".
  • Unfriendly Fire: "Long Live the King" mentions the mystery of the death of King Charles XII at the Siege of Fredriksten: conspiracy theories about his death suggest he was either assassinated under cover of the war, or fragged by his own men (though the most likely explanation is that he was hit by a random musket ball or bit of grapeshot from the Norwegian fortress he was attacking).
    Killed by his own or by his foes, turned the tide
    300 years, still no one knows, the secret remains
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: "Dreadnought", describing the battle of Jutland:
    The North Sea has drawn them here
    The fleets of the high seas approach
    A contest of titans commence
    These days will dictate their fate
    The Grand Fleet prepares their guns
    Unleashed as the dreanoughts clash at last!
  • Ungrateful Bastard: "Inmate 4859"'s last verse calls out the Warsaw Pact government of Poland for its execution of Witold Pilecki (the eponymous inmate) in 1948 (due to his loyalty to the London-based Government in Exile). "Far from the Fame" does the same for Air Marshal Karel Janoušek and Czechoslovakia (imprisoned for several years but not executed).
  • Unmourned Death: The Swedish version of "A Lifetime at War" is sung from the viewpoint of a soldier who fears this will be his fate when he falls, unmourned and forgotten after spending so many years far from home.
  • Unorthodox Reload: A close variant in the video for "The Unkillable Soldier" where the one-armed Sir Adrian wields a revolver against Sabaton dressed as German soldiers. He fires, and then recocks the revolver by slamming the hammer against the shoulder of his missing arm.
  • Updated Re Release:
    • Primo Victoria: Re-Armed, Attero Dominatus: Re-Armed, Metalizer: Re-Armed, The Art of War: Re-Armed. Yes, their first FOUR albums were re-released with cleaner vocals and music.
    • In another case, "7734" from their 2007 album Metalizer is a bonus track on Heroes. It is viewed by many fans as thousands of times better than the original version.
  • Villain Protagonist:
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • If you hear the early albums, Joakim has a much harsher and unpolished (in his own words, a bit amateurish) voice, different from his current more deep, thundering voice.
    • Compare "7734" from Metalizer and Heroes. It's still noticeable even with Joakim's more polished voice from the more recent albums.
  • Villain Song:
    • More like "Antagonist Song", as the album doesn't paint them as villains: Carolus Rex is mostly told from the perspective of the Swedish Empire and its kings, with a notable exception in "Poltava", whose bridges are sung from the perspective of the Russian troops and their Tsar gloating about how they trounced the Swedish Troops at Poltava.
    Listen, excuse for a king. Trust me, this fight you can't win
    Listen, obey my command. Hear me, or die by my hand
    Madness, curse your feeble horde. Fear me, you'll die by my sword
    • "Carolus Rex," the title song from the same album, comes this close to being a Villain Protagonist Song, with lines like "Make them bow to my will!" and "Question me and die!"
    • "Shadows" is also one for the Ringwraiths.
    • "Birds of War" is definitely not about good guys.
    • "We Burn" is sung from the viewpoint of the perpetrators of the Yugoslavian genocide, and in first person to boot. Overlaps with "The Villain Sucks" Song, as the singer's Card-Carrying Villain attitude drives home how vile their actions were.
    We burn, plunder and rape
    Show them no mercy, just burn
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song:
    • "In The Name of God" is one big "The Reason You Suck" Speech to terrorists. Or religious fanatics in general.
    • "We Burn", regarding the Yugoslavian genocide, although it's written in first person from the villain`s side.
    • "Reign of Terror" is about Saddam Hussein and his regime.
    • The English version of "A Lifetime of War" is about how both sides of the Thirty Years War only used the lives of their soldiers for their own gain.
      By Kings and Queens young men are sent to die in war.
      Their propaganda speaks, their words been heard before...
    • "Rise of Evil" and "The Final Solution" is about Adolf Hitler's rise to power and his following genocide campaign against Jews or anyone who opposed the Nazi regime.
  • War Is Glorious:
    • A majority of their songs about World War II are about lionizing the heroes of various nations.
    • The Last Stand glorifies various forces that faced Last Stands.
    • "Fields of Verdun" has a touch of this, reflecting how French national pride, not just strategic concerns, became tied to holding Verdun.
  • War Is Hell:
    • "Angels Calling" is about a soldier serving in the trenches in an unspecified battle during World War One who dies in one of the many charges against the enemy trench lines.
    • "The Price of a Mile" laments the tragic loss of half a million men to gain six miles of land in the Battle of Passchendaele.
    Six miles of ground have been won
    Half a million men are gone
    And as the men crawled, the general called
    And the killing carried on
    And on
    What was the purpose of it all?
    What's the price of a mile?
    • "Cliffs of Gallipoli" is a memorial to the soldiers who died in the Gallipoli Campaign, wherein a quarter million members of the ANZAC Corps died on the Ottoman soil trying to open a sea lane to the Russians, and a similar number of Turks also died fighting them off.
    • "A Lifetime Of War" provides two different perspectives on the Thirty Years' War. The English lyrics focus on the horror of the war as a whole and the ambitions of the people behind it, while the Swedish lyrics show it all from the eyes of a common Swedish soldier who leaves his friends and family behind to serve his nation with no guarantee that he will ever return alive, or if he will be remembered and mourned.
    • "To Hell and Back" combines War Is Hell with War Is Glorious.
    Bright, a white light, if there'd be any glory in war
    Let it rest, on men like him, who went to hell and came back
    • The cover art of Great War features a weeping British soldier on foreground, columns of smoke made from skulls in background, and a World War One battle scene occuring in middle ground.
    • "Fields of Verdun" is about the pure hell that was the French defensive effort at the eponymous fortress, a battle lasting 303 days.
    • "Great War" is from the perspective of a "mushroom" (kept in the dark and fed bullshit) who lost his brother to a bullet accross the eyes, and can't find the glory he's been promised in sitting in a filthy trench, and just wants to give up and go home.
    • "Christmas Truce" is about the eponymous truce on Christmas, 1914. The song's cheerful and uplifting music is contrasted with the dark undertone that it's "a moment of peace in a war that never ends," and the next day, these brothers and friends are going to go back to pointlessly killing each other. The video emphasizes this further, with the pickup football game contrasted with the graves being dug and crosses placed.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction:
  • Warrior Prince: King Charles XII of Sweden, as per real life.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: The point of "The Price of a Mile", about the inconclusive Passchendaele campaign where half a million men died to for no meaningful gains. (For his part, British General Douglas Haig argued that the point was purely to inflict casualties on the German army and wear them down.)
  • Weird Historical War: Evoked by "The Attack of the Dead Men", about an incident during the first World War where a group of Russians counter-attacked through poison gas without gas masks. The song plays it up a bit more as if they were really undead soldiers.
  • Wham Line: Their cover of "Camouflage" by Stan Ridgway includes one. A young Private First Class in the Marine Corps is fighting in the Vietnam War in 1965, but runs into a big Marine only known as "Camouflage". The two fight back to the PFC's headquarters, and when the PFC tells his fellow Marines what happened, a soldier gulps. He's led into a green tent, where he's told "You may be telling the truth, boy, but this here is Camouflage. And he's been right there since he passed away last night". Camouflage was Dead All Along, and "said his only wish was to save a young Marine caught in a barrage" before he died, which his spirit did in guiding the young Marine to safety.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • "Uprising" calls out the Allies for twice abandoning the Poles to the Nazis. First, Britain and France failed to counterattack when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. Then in 1944, the Warsaw Uprising was timed for the Red Army to be within striking distance and the Resistance hoped to link up, but Stalin ordered his forces to turn aside, apparently hoping the Poles and Germans would wear each other out and make his own postwar occupation of Poland easier.
      First verse: Do you remember when
      When the Nazis forced their rule on Poland?
      Nineteen thirty-nine
      And the Allies turned away!
      Chorus: Warsaw, city at war
      Voices from Underground, whispers of freedom
      Nineteen forty-four
      Help that never came!
      Second verse: Spirit, soul and heart
      In accordance with the old traditions
      Nineteen forty-four
      Still the allies turn away!
    • "Ett Slag Färgat Rött" (the Swedish version of "Killing Ground") calls out the Caroleans for slaughtering Russian prisoners-of-war at Fraustadt. (The English version alludes to it in the chorus, but the Swedish lyrics devote the entire bridge stanza to it.)
  • Word Salad Lyrics: The demo version of "The Art of War" included on the reissued version of the album is pretty much a three-minute string of nonsense phrases that fit the beat. The first stanza is approximately:
    I stand alone and gaze upon the battlefield
    You are my target, yes, you are the play
    I call in fire, exterminate your armies, that's the truth
    Dream on, you are the hunter, you're the pain
  • Worthy Opponent: "Smoking Snakes" retells the story of three Brazilian heroes, Arlindo Lúcio da Silva, Geraldo Baeta da Cruz and Geraldo Rodrigues de Souza, who fought to their last against the German troops. The Wehrmacht was so impressed it buried them with full honors and wrote in their graves Drei brasilianische Helden (Three Brazilian Heroes).
  • You Are Already Dead: "Attack of the Dead Men," about a charge on Osoweic. The soldiers charging were hit with a poison gas attack, giving them a short time to live. Even so, they charged, in a case of trying to take someone with them.
  • You Are in Command Now: "Into the Fire" makes reference to this in a narrative about the general unpleasantness of jungle warfare in Vietnam.
    Sarge is down, I'm in charge, VCs everywhere!
  • You Are Number 6: "Inmate 4859", a Polish soldierreal name who infiltrated Auschwitz to command an uprising from within and tell the world of the horrors going on there.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Bold defensive actions make for one of the band's favorite topics.
    • "40:1", the story of the Battle of Wizima in 1939, where 400-700 entrenched Polish troops held off a German army roughly forty times their numbers for three days (by which point they had run out of ammunition and German sappers had started to make progress in breaching their bunkers). The song compares them to King Leonidas's Last Stand at Thermopylae.
    No army may enter that land
    That is protected by Polish hand
    Baptized in fire, forty to one
    Spirit of Spartans, death and glory
    Soldiers of Poland, second to none
    Wrath of the Wehrmacht brought to a halt
    • "Coat of Arms" from the album of same name again makes a Thermopylae comparison, this time to the Greco-Italian War where the Greeks repeatedly trashed Mussolini's army until the Wehrmacht intervened.
    • Heroes:
      • "Resist and Bite", about the Chasseurs Ardennais who defended the Belgium border from the German blitzkrieg. Quoth the song:
      We were told to hold the border, and that is what we did!
      Honored our orders in despite of our foes!
      • "Hearts of Iron" combines this with Last Stand. It's about the German 12th and 9th Armies, who against the Soviets, created a corridor across the Elbe to protect fleeing refugees and soldiers to escape and surrender to the West rather than face certain death.
    • The Last Stand
      • "Sparta" is about the Battle of Thermopylae (the real one this time).
      • "The Last Stand" is about the Swiss Guards' defense of St. Peters and Pope Clement VII during the sack of Rome in 1527. Most of them died but they succeeded in holding off the attackers long enough for Clement to escape to safety.
    • The Great War:
      • "The Attack of the Dead Men" is about the suicidal Russian defense at Osowiec Fortress in 1915, when approximately a hundred Russian soldiers dying of poison gas countercharged onrushing Germans and scared them into turning tail.
      • "Fields of Verdun" is about the titanic French defensive effort at Verdun, repeating General Philippe Pétain's famous slightly misquoted order, "They shall not pass!" in the bridge (not coincidentally, the first snippet of the song to be revealed, in a Sabaton History video). The French managed to hold out for 303 days, making it the longest sustained single battle in history.
        ''Fields of execution, turned to wasteland from the grass
        "Thou shalt go no further"; it was said, "They shall not pass!"
    • The War to End All Wars:
      • "Race to the Sea" is about the 1914 Last Stand of the Belgian Army at Yser, including King Albert I himself, which saw a mostly-Belgian force hang on tooth and nail to a sliver of coastal Belgium against the German Army with very little support from their French and British allies. They continued to be a thorn in the Germans' side for the rest of the war.
      • "The Valley of Death" is about the Third Battle of Doiran, the third in a series of major Bulgarian defensive victories against the Entente armiesnote  near Lake Dojran on the Macedonian front.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: "The Attack of the Dead Men", which is about the gas attack on the Osowiec Fortress by German forces on August 6 1915, is portrayed as one where the dead Russians rise to attack the Germans. This is not far from the truth. note 


Sabaton - "Fields of Verdun"

The first verse and refrain of Sabaton's "Fields of Verdun", which chronicles the 1916 Battle of Verdun between the French and German Armies during World War I.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / HorribleHistoryMetal

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