Words by Meghan Hall
Swedish Power Metal outfit Sabaton’s bassist Pär Sundström had a chat with Overdrive about the band’s upcoming album ‘The Great War’.
‘It’s pretty much 100 years since the first World War ended, and with that happening there was so much talk about it, a lot in the media and in focus, which is normally not when it comes to World War 1, so there was a lot things and good timing to release it with where are in time. However, it’s not the first time that we write songs about the first World War, we have other songs about the first world war, of course we have a couple of songs in the past including ‘Cliffs of Gallipoli’. But it was good timing and it felt like a major decision in time.’ Sundström discussing the decision to base an album on the first World War.
‘It was not intentional, because we need to book the studio so far in advance and it was booked before we even decided the topic of the album, so it was not intentional, but it turned out pretty good.’ On the band’s studio sessions for The Great War beginning on November 11th 2018, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.
‘We weren’t sure of what the reactions would be, but we’re getting a feel for it now, it’s been absolutely only positive reactions which I’m excited about, because then sort of we can relax, and okay the album will come out and our fans won’t be surprised, or shocked, or angry or anything. ’ Sundström discussing the reaction of various media outlets in current previews and reviews of the forthcoming album, and how the band expects their fans to react to the upcoming release.
He continued by stating: ‘We haven’t really changed that much in sound or anything like that. Sabaton is not really a band that transforms into something new, if you are waiting for a new Sabaton album when we announce one, you can quite be sure that it won’t change completely or be surprised. I think people should know what to expect, and I am happy that we can do the songs. It’s great to see that Sabaton is evolving and more people to follow us.’ Sundström explaining what fans can expect from the upcoming release and the band’s expectation for the fans’ reaction.
‘How it works when we are creating an album it usually works like this, we decide upon a topic. We did this last summer we start writing songs for it on one hand and gathering ideas for lyrical themes on the other hand. The songs are pretty much nearly completed by the time , usually Joakim is putting together even if he is recording with somebody else, he usually completes it himself and makes a demo with most of the stuff ready. I usually don’t add so much to the albums, I’m happy to just be a part of the album. I focus on my part in the band, which is manage and I take a lot of time thinking about stories for an album and marketing ideas.’ Explaining the band’s songwriting process and the research put into the lyrics for each song.
‘At the end of a songwriting period, just before we’re going to enter the studio, we have a couple of songs, like demos with a lot of different lyrical themes, and then we try to think about what kind of emotions, feelings and mood we get from listening to the one piece of music and try to find a topic that matches to it is usually how we do it, and for every album we usually have more topics than we can fit into the album. For example, the song ‘Attack of the Dead Men’ is saved from the album ‘Heroes’ as it didn’t fit the theme.’ Discussing how the stories are chosen for the songs on the album. He continued: ‘The music comes first, then the lyrical themes.’
‘Tommy has been a Sabaton fan since 2005. So we knew we weren’t just getting a really good guitar player.’ Discussing guitarist Tommy Johansson joining the band in 2016.
‘20 years in the band, it could feel like a very long time, it actually doesn’t feel so long as it’s constantly changing. It’s going to be a little bit of a special show. There are so many people have been asking what we’re going to do, we aren’t going to do anything big when it comes to releasing anything. The song Bismarck is a little bit dedicated to this, we wanted to dedicate something to the fans who have been following us, we wanted to give them a gift, so we gave them Bismarck.’
On discussing the 20th anniversary of Sabaton, with a celebratory show set to take place at Wacken Open Air, and the release of the standalone single ‘Bismarck’: ‘The history channel was something I wanted to have for a very long time. But it couldn’t be done until now, because there are a lot of people involved; Indy is just one guy and we are , but there are 10 people working on each episode, so it is a lot of work that most people don’t see. But it is such an exciting thing to have so much knowledge and professional people to help with this and hope that we can continue to evolve the Sabaton history channel over time.’ On discussing the Sabaton History Channel on YouTube, hosted by historian Indy Neidell, which discusses the history behind the lyrics of each song.
‘Hopefully we can also bring it to Australia .’ On touring.
Sabaton’s 9th studio album ‘The Great War’ is available on the 19th of July. Pre-order available from:
iTunes preorder HERE