- Acceptable Targets: Sabaton have built an entire musical career on songs about brutalizing Nazis.
- And You Thought It Would Fail: Joakim has said in several interviews that the other band members thought his idea for an Ennio Morricone Pastiche-inspired song was "crazy", and even he had no idea what it should be about. Then he discovered Audie Murphy, and "To Hell and Back" was the result.
- According to Word of God, "Birds of War" isn't about Chaos Space Marines, but just you try explaining that to the fans.
- There's a cottage industry on YouTube of setting Sabaton songs to homemade music videos taken from anime, movies, and TV shows, many of them having very little to do with the subject of the song.
- "Angels Calling", "The Price of a Mile", "A Lifetime of War"/"En livstid i krig", and "Great War" can all be read more generally than their specific topics as antiwar anthems. "A Lifetime of War" most of all, as it opens with the following lines:Two ways to view the world, so similar at times
Two ways to rule the world, to justify their crimes
By kings and queens young men are sent to die in war
Their propaganda speaks those words been heard before
- Awesome Ego: Their portrayal of King Charles XII.
- Awesome Music: Enough for its own page.
- Cargo Ship: Joakim likes tanks. According to the fandom, he really, really, really likes tanks.
- "Common Knowledge": "Unbreakable" is associated with European resistance fighters during World War II, but it's actually about the fifth chapter of The Art of War (titled "Use of Energy" in the 1910 Lionel Giles translation the album is based on). An early fan-made music video used clips about La Résistance, which is where this mistake comes from (even The Other Wiki fell for it for a time).
- Similarly, "The Last Stand" is often erroneously associated with the Crusades. See the entry for Fandom-Enraging Misconception below.
- Complete Monster:
- Adolf Hitler, as portrayed in "Rise of Evil" from Attero Dominatus and "The Final Solution" from Coat of Arms, decides to wipe out the Jewish people as misplaced revenge for his pride in the first World War. Taking control of Germany via a coup, he leads a hate campaign against the Jews, and declares war on other nations, sending the Jewish people into concentration camps, where they face genocide at his hands.
- "We Burn": This song, about the Srebrenica massacre during the Bosnian War, is sung from the perspective of one of its masterminds, Radovan Karadić. The singer considers a multi-religious land "a plague", and incites his followers to kill his enemies. He orders them to "burn, plunder and rape", to cleanse the "filth of [his] land", claiming that the "genocide" is "no crime if you do not get caught".
- Creepy Awesome: Attack of the Dead Men can fall under this for the awesome portrayal a German force's reaction to a nightmarish event
- They'll be fighting for their lives
As their enemy revives
Russians won't surrender, no
Striking fear into their foe
- Face of the Band: Joakim Brodén, naturally, being the lead singer as well as the principal composer (he and bassist Pär Sundström share lyricist duty).
- Fandom-Enraging Misconception:
- Don't call them Nazis. The band hates the Nazis.
- "The Last Stand" is about the Stand of the Swiss Guard against a mutinous Habsburg army during the sack of Rome in 1527; it is not about The Crusades. Expect to be either laughed at or stomped on if you say anything resembling "Deus vult"note in response to it.
- Friendly Fandoms:
- Every time Extra History covers a topic Sabaton made a song about, like D-Day or Great Northern War, you will find people posting lyrics of their songs in the comments and these videos get posted by fans on Sabaton subreddit, so apparently there is an overlap between the fandoms. Reached absolute epic levels during the series involving The Great Northern War, focusing on the life of Charles XII - better known as Carolus Rex - to whom Sabaton dedicated half an album and named the title track after.
- There's quite a bit of overlap between fans of Sabaton and players of Paradox Interactive's grand strategy games (including several members of the actual studio, which is also based in Sweden). There is even official DLC for Europa Universalis IV and Hearts of Iron IV that adds selected Sabaton songs to the games' soundtracks.
- There's a lot of overlap between the fandoms of Sabaton and its label-mate Nightwish (whose singer Floor Jansen was a choir member on The Last Stand and is in a long-term relationship with Sabaton drummer Hannes Van Dahl). Powerwolf, too, to the point of it becoming a minor meme to wish for a Sabaton/Powerwolf co-headlining tour or for Sabaton to cover Powerwolf songs.
- Yet more overlap with the TimeGhost World War II community since they began their collaboration on the Sabaton History channel which has Indy Neidell explaining the history behind the music.
- The Azur Lane fandom (mainly the English-speaking part) gets along quite well with the Sabaton fandom, largely due to Sabaton's song about the Bismarck dropping very close to the release of the ship in Azur Lane, resulting on many comments on the ship being lyrics from the song. The Twitter account for the English version of the game using lyrics from the song only amplified this.
- Genius Bonus:
- More like historian bonus, as the more knowledge about history you have, the more events referenced in their songs you're gonna understand. This pretty much encourages the listener to do a lot of research. A sabaton, by the way, is the metal shoe in a suit of armor.
- The melody of "Hearts of Iron" is heavily inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Sabaton is especially popular in many countries they've written songs about.
- Poland. Thanks to "40:1", they've found their way into mainstream news and do concerts in museums. Here's the Aesop: when you're a dabbling metaller, and want to quickly and surely gain some notoriety, make a song about brave Polish people. This has only increased with the later songs "Uprising", "Inmate 4859", and "Winged Hussars".
- Also in Russia, thanks to Stalingrad, Panzerkampf and Attero Dominatus and in Brazil due to Smoking Snakes recently, to the point that it's often lampshaded by Brazilians themselves that Sabaton brings up something that should be taught in classes and just isn't.note
- Specifically, they are incredibly popular among members of Russian imageboards, and their music created a few very bizarre Memetic Mutations, like Copypastas about gaining superpowers through listening to Sabaton or jokes about current conflict in Ukraine being organized by Sabaton because they ran out of wars to sing about.
- "Smoking Snakes" has been covered by Brazilian Army orchestras.
- Growing the Beard: Primo Victoria was when Sabaton started focusing on war and history, and coincidentally was when they really hit their groove. They had previously recorded Fist for Fight and Metalizer, which were more generic Heavy Mithril albums. They arguably grew a second beard with The Art of War, which in addition to containing their now-customary opening track "Ghost Division", is when their synth-backed Power Metal sound really solidified (the previous albums featured less synth and were still more Traditional Heavy Metal).
- 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 GroundEnglish 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 defeatDirect 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
- Memetic Badass: Anyone that has a song specifically about them tends to become this. See: Charles XII, Simo Häyhä, Manfred von Richthofennote .
- Memetic Mutation:
- "THEN THE WINGED HUSSARS ARRIVED!"
- Posting a line from a Sabaton song on a relevant Reddit thread or Facebook group will generally result in an entire chain of posts quoting the song.
- Joakim likes beer, so it's become a meme in several countries for audiences to chant "another beer, please" or something of that nature at the band in their native language.
- Noch ein bier?note
- Ditto "Jeszcze jedno piwo, proszę" in Polish. It happens about three times on Swedish Empire Live, filmed at Woodstock Festival Poland.
- Broek uit op je hoofd!note
- Joakim's habit of beating on his right leg between song lines became a Fountain of Memes shortly after the release of the video for "Bismarck".
- Misaimed Fandom:
- There's potential for that, since many songs appear to glorify war and are often told from the perspective of the traditionally "evil" side (Nazi Germany in particular). "Wehrmacht" deals quite maturely with its subject matter (basically asking whether the army of the Reich was Just Following Orders or Ax-Crazy, and seeming to settle on "a little bit of both"), and songs such as "Ghost Division" concentrate on praising the proficiency of the German military. The band itself says war is simply a good source of stories. (That said, more recent interviews and comments do seem to show that Joakim and Pär are not unaware of how certain songs might be taken, and don't use them on tour and whatnot anymore.)
- "The Last Stand", a song about the Swiss Guards' defence of the Pope during the 1527 Sacking of Rome by (Protestant) troops from Germany, has sometimes been misinterpreted as a song about the Crusades (the lyrics for the verses aren't as intelligible as the less-specific chorus). This wouldn't be so much of a problem if Islamophobes didn't adapt this song as one of their anthems. The band's mainstream fandom tends to treat this as either a joke or a Fandom-Enraging Misconception.
- Part of the problem that doesn't help this phenomenon is that a decent few of their "Newbie Boom" songs in The New '10s were ones that were Wehrmacht-focused, which had the potential of attracting, shall we say, a certain kind of individual who might get the wrong idea about the band's beliefs if they just listened to those particular songs. "Bismarck" is one of the most recent, and bigger, examples of this phenomenon. (Of course, a lot of fascist-sympathizing "Wehraboos" tend to run off when they actually encounter Joakim's opinions on the Nazi Party, fascism, and Hitler.)
- Moment of Awesome: With each album the number of awesome moments in World War Two they haven't dedicated a song to decreases.
- The Last Stand is notable, as it's about grand last stands throughout history. Ranging from the most famous to the most obscure. And of these grand last stands, several of them were successful. Specifically: "Blood of Bannockburn"note , "Rorke's Drift"note , "Winged Hussars"note , and "The Last Battle"note
- Music to Invade Poland To: Sabaton get this a lot. They make bombastic power metal, their vocalist rolls his Rs in a very particular way, and most of their songs are about WW I and II, quite a few of them from the perspective of German forces. Disregard that they have several songs from the perspective of the nations fighting against Nazi Germany as well as definite anti-war anthems ("Angels Calling", "The Price of a Mile", "A Lifetime of War"), and that their eight minute epic about the Nazis' rise to power is called "Rise of Evil". "Music to Defend Poland to" would be a more apt description, considering their Polish fanbase and songs like "40:1", "Uprising'' and "Inmate 4859".
- Joakim Brodén has in interview called the attempts to connect Sabaton's music to Nazi ideology "bullshit" and has questioned why no-one applied the same reasoning to film and asked if Steven Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino were closet Nazis after portraying sympathetic Nazis in Saving Private Ryan and Inglourious Basterds respectively. Case in point: In August 2013 the band were forced to cancel a show in Russia...because a Russian politician thought they were Nazis who intended to desecrate a Russian flag during their concert. This is especially ironic considering the existence of "Panzerkampf" and "Night Witches", both of which are about the Soviets defending Russia.
- Newbie Boom: Quite a few occurred in The New '10s:
- Carolus Rex went quadruple platinum in Sweden and gold in Poland, and Heroes, The Last Stand, and The Great War all made the top half of the Billboard 200 in the United States (TGW peaked at #42, their highest position yet).
- Their crossover with World of Tanks introduced a ton of people to the band.
- Also, their appearance on The Great War introduced them to literal millions of new fans.
- "Bismarck", the single they made in collaboration with World of Warships, also introduced a new wave of people to the band, including, funnily enough, a number of Azur Lane fans, as there's quite a bit of fan crossover with WoWS and AL, and the song got released about a month ahead of Bismarck herselfnote entering the game for the game's overall second anniversary, coinciding with the anniversary of the Battle of Denmark Strait.
- Nightmare Fuel:
Country in depression
- Awesome-sounding as it may be, "The Final Solution" is a very chilling reflection on the sheer villainy, pointlessness, and unreason of The Holocaust. Sabaton stopped playing it for several years because they started getting disturbed by fans singing along to a song about one of the most horrific events in human history. However, during The Last Tour, they played it with piano keyboard and acoustic guitar, inviting fans to sing along with lighters or phone lights in the air, and sang it as a metal song on the 2018 North America tour.
Nation in despair
One man seeking reasons everywhere
Growing hate and anger
The Führer's orders were precise
Who was to be blamed and pay the price!
Inmate in Hell or a hero in prison?
- "Inmate 4859". This one's about Witold Pilecki, a leader of the Polish resistance in World War 2. Pilecki deliberately got himself sent to Auschwitz in order to investigate claims about its horrors. While in the concentration camp, Pilecki was heavily tortured. Pilecki finally escaped, but after the war's end he was captured and executed by the new Communist government of Poland. Add in the grim and sinister feel of the music, and the song's downright chilling:
Soldier in Auschwitz, we know his name!
Locked in a cell, waging war from the prison,
He hides behind 4859!
Genocide? Who will drag me to court?
- On the subject of genocide, there's "We Burn", a song about the Srebrenica massacre. It's sung from the perspective of Radovan Karadić, who orders his troops to slaughter people just for practicing the "wrong" religion and being of the "wrong" ethnicity. He even goes so far as to gloat about how (so he thinks) he won't be prosecuted:
There's no crime if you do not get caught!
I am the law!
Oh, gather 'round me, and listen while I speak
- "To Hell and Back" is an upbeat and badass song... But then there's the bridge:
Of a war where Hell is six feet deep!
And all along the shore, where cannons still roar,
They're haunting my dreams, they're still there when I sleep!
- "Firestorm" has this chilling chorus. Fitting for a song about strategic bombing.
Rage of the heavens!
Death from above!
Death from above!
- Replacement Scrappy: Refreshingly subverted. After most of the band left between the recording of Carolus Rex and the Swedish Empire Tour, Joakim thanked the fans during the show at Woodstock Poland for accepting the new lineup with open arms, saying they hadn't seen a single audience member the entire tour insulting Chris, Thobbe, and Robban.
- Signature Song:
- "The Last Stand": every one of their videos on Nuclear Blast Records, their record label, ends with the chorus.
- They've opened almost every concert since The Art of War came out with its catchy, pulse-pounding opening track "Ghost Division".
- "Primo Victoria". If it's not the closing number in a concert, it's pretty close, usually second-to-last. The band also encourages people to jump and sing along with the song.
- For the Polish fanbase especially, "40:1" and "Uprising" about the Poles' fierce resistance to the Nazis during World War II.
- Suspiciously Similar Song:
- "Shotgun" sounds like something which could have been featured on the OST of one of the Doom games.note
- "Devil Dogs" from Sabaton's latest album, "The Great War", sounds suspiciously similar, both in sound and in theme, to Sabaton's own "Smoking Snakes": both songs are about a group of non-European elite soldiers fighting in an European war, and you may be excused if listening to the beginning of one immediately makes you think of the other.
- Unconventional Learning Experience: Learning the history of Europe by way of power metal? YES.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: The band emphasizes in interviews that they're history geeks and storytellers, not militarist advocates and certainly not neo-Nazis, no matter what certain Russian politicians may think. Listening carefully to the music bears this out: even when they sing from the World War II German perspective, the Nazis are Always Chaotic Evil and even ordinary Wehrmacht personnel are only unambiguously "the good guys" when they're defying or outright fighting against them.
YMMV / Sabaton