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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 Records.


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 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.

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)
  • Tommy Johansson - guitars, backing vocals (2016-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)
  • Thobbe Englund - guitars, backing vocals (2012-2016)


Sabaton and their songs provide examples of:

  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: "Then the Winged HusSARS arrived!" Justified: the word is actually accented on the first syllable when spoken, but the song's beat puts the emphasis on the second.
  • The Ace: "White Death".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Arguably, one of the coolest (and most commendable) things about the band is how good they are at bringing attention to obscure, forgotten, or lesser-known parts of history that might come across like something out of an exaggerated Hollywood war movie. An all-female regiment of teenage girls who fly biplanes against the Nazis? Less than 800 Polish infantry holding off a Nazi tank invasion force numbering 40,000 strong, for three days? Nazi forces attempting to besiege a castle being successfully held off by a motley assortment of American GIs, French POWs, Austrian resistance fighters, and deserting Wehrmacht troops? 7000 Germans being forced into retreat by a numerically inferior Russian bayonet charge even after the Russians had suffered a gas attack so devastating that they were literally coughing up bloody flesh and pieces of their own organs as they charged? All real.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Sabaton really hates the Nazis. They're the only group the band consistently paints as unambiguously villainous. They go out of their way not to present the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe 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.
  • 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").
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: The soundtrack edition of The Great War album, released as The Soundtrack To The Great War takes the tracklist of that album and transforms it from their usual Power Metal style into epic orchetra pieces that are mostly instrumental but for the occasional choir (or Floor Jansen) reciting the lyrics, entirely sans any singing from Joakim.
  • 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).
  • 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 – Biology: 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 – Military: "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.
  • 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" 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 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.
  • 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 Baritone: Joakim is a rare example of a power metal vocalist fitting this trope.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 until THE WINGED HUSSARS ARRIVED, COMING DOWN THEY TURNED THE TIDE!
  • 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".
  • 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!"
  • 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.
  • Brave Scot: "Blood of Bannockburn" focuses on how the Scots defeated the English at Bannockburn.
  • 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.
  • 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 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 is entirely about events from World War I.
  • 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.
  • Crossover:
  • 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 "if you can't understand what I'm saying, I suggest you learn some fucking 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Dreaded: By the way the chorus refers to them, the Night Witches seem to be incredibly feared.
  • Drums of War: Inverted by the song "Fields of Verdun" which compares the opening artillery barrage of the battle to a drum roll.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • End of an Age:
    • The general theme of "Long Live the King" and "Ruina Imperii" about the fall of the Swedish Empire.
    • "Shiroyama" combines this with Last Stand to cover the fall of the samurai and the end of Japanese feudalism.
    • 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!
  • 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 Bismarcknote 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fallen Hero: Five of them in "Birds of War."
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Guardian Angel: At the end of "Camouflage", the eponymous character is revealed to be this, in a manner.
  • 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 undead soldiers 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.
  • 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

    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Holy Pipe Organ: The intro to "The Carolean's Prayer" features this before it breaks into guitar.
  • 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.
  • Horny Vikings: "Swedish Pagans". Their cover of "Twilight of the Thunder God" might count too.
  • "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.
  • 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.
  • "Join the Army," They Said: They made a cover of "In The Army Now" by Bolland And Bolland.
  • 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. The Siege of Vienna is looking like this... AND 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
  • Lead Bassist: Sundström is a recent Type B, starting from 2012. Also Type C for being one of the founding members alongside Joakim.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • "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:
  • 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.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Joakim Brodén is an utter master of this in live performances and music videos, "Uprising", for example.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: On average, around a 7 to borderline 8. They're heavier than usual for Power Metal and Joakim sings in a rumbling baritone that stops just short of Harsh Vocals.
  • 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.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: "Panzerkampf", "Night Witches," "Hill 3234" and "The Attack of the Dead Men."
  • 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)”, and "The Last Stand".
  • 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."
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene:
    • "We Burn" is a Villain Song about the Srebrenica massacre. 'Nuff said.
    • "Killing Ground" shows the Swedes, who in the album Carolus Rex are usually portrayed as the kingdom's Badass Army, slaughtering surrendering soldiers.
    Killing ground
    Even though you surrender
    Turn around
    You will never survive
    Killing ground
    As the battle of Fraustadt turns
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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, pillage, and rape."
  • Rated M for Manly: 90% of their songs are about war and conflict, after all.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Carolus Rex:
    • "Sparta" is about King Leonidas leading the Spartans at Thermopylae.
  • 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 
  • Say Your Prayers: Subverted in "The Caroleans' Prayer". The bridge is The Lord's Prayer in Swedish, but it's triumphant instead of resigned.
  • 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."
  • 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 male, mid-thirties, working class background", with a slight Dalecarlian accent. Interview in English Interview in Swedish. His singing voice, on the other hand...
  • Something Completely Different: Enforced with Metalizer, which features no war songs at all. The album was actually recorded in '02 to be Sabaton's first full-length studio album, but Underground Symphony, their label at the time, sent it into Development Hell for years before finally selling the rights to the band's second label Black Lodge. By that point Sabaton had firmly adopted the military history theme with Primo Victoria and Attero Dominatus.
  • 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.
    • "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.
    • "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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Title Drop: Aside from Metalizer, every song that shares a title with their albums has one. Multiple other songs too.
  • 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.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: Appears on the final choruses of “Attero Dominatus”, “The Last Stand”, “To Hell And Back”, and "A Ghost In The Trenches".
  • 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
  • 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).
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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 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 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 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!:
    • "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: "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!"
  • Zombie Apocalypse: 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 


Video Example(s):


Sabaton - "Bismarck"

The last battle of the German battleship Bismarck, as depicted in Sabaton's music video.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / EpicShipOnShipAction

Media sources:

Main / EpicShipOnShipAction