A battle for superiority of the Rockies took place in Salt Lake City and Denver on September 27th and 28th, as Sabaton unleashed a full ground assault like never seen before.
Since 2011, Sabaton has been drafting fans to help break through the front lines of the metal scene in the United States.
The battle on the west side of the Rockies began in Salt Lake City, as the groundwork was being laid by openers Epica. Led by Simone Simons on vocals, Epica brought a fierce symphonic metal sound with growling vocals provided by guitarist Mark Jansen.
“Abyss of Time” opened their set with laser like precision. As it continued, fans formed multiple mosh pits throughout the battle torn venue. “Consign to Oblivion (A New Age Dawns, Part III)” would be their final chance at glory with the crowd. They did not waste any time raising their arms, drawing a line down the center of the crowd, demanding a “Wall of Death.” Instructing the crowd to separate and “Hold the line”, Epica then counted down “3… 2… 1…” and the walls came together, exploding with the intensity of two waves colliding with an unbridled force that only Mother Nature can unleash.
Their set ended with victory cheers from the front to back of the crowd, and they exited the stage victorious. The stage was overcome by darkness while the set was modified for a full auditory assault. As the minutes passed, the anticipation of the crowd grew. Even though everyone knew the inevitable was upon them, the tension in the air was so thick it could be cut with a sword. Finally, the house lights dropped, signaling the battle was about to begin.
A video depicting a summary of WWI played behind a tank supporting Hannes Van Dahl’s drum kit. Out of nowhere, drums fired like shots out of the darkness, and “Ghost Division” spread its wrath upon the enthusiastic crowd. With no time for a break, “Stormtroopers” began and the assault was in full force. The ground assault was on, and the crowd was hit with an arial attack by “The Red Baron.” Vocalist, Joakim Brodén, welcomed the crowd to the battle, and then dove right into the chemical battering behind the song “The Attack of the Dead Men.” The band knew in order to survive, they needed to be adorning their gas masks. “Soldier of Heaven” began with an eerie similarity between the landscape of The Alps depicted in the song, and the towering Rocky Mountains that littered the landscape surrounding the venues. “Steel Commanders” brought the battle back to the seemingly impervious ground shaking beasts, known as tanks. The show then took a turn to the history books; the story of “Carolus Rex.” “Gott Mit Uns” would then follow from the same album.
A similar battle would be identical and resume the next night in Denver, CO. Both shows shared the same battle assaults, and the deadly “Night Witches” would provide what would be an arial assault like no other. The next conflict would be naval, and pivot towards superiority over the seas with “Dreadnought.” “Shiroyama” continued the warfare in the most ancient way. “The Last Stand” was followed up with “Christmas Truce.” It would seem, at least for the moment that the battle was over.
With the stage pitch black, no one knew what to expect next. Would it be a truce, or was it just a delay tactic? The screen above the drum kit began to play a video that would lead into the anthem “Primo Victoria.” At this point, Sabaton began to fight internally as guitarist Tommy Johansson began the guitar riff that would excite the crowd, but anger singer Joakim Brodén. The open riff of “Swedish Pagans” began, and the crowd went crazy. The song finished, and the banter between band members escalated. Joakim teased guitarist Chris Rörland, and he broke out into a cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” The internal battle of the band would come to a climax with “To Hell and Back.” The crowd was at a fever pitch as the show came to an end. The western front of The Rockies were once again conquered while the next night the Eastern side of The Rockies would fall, too. It would seem that yet again Sabaton would overpower and assume superiority of some of the highest mountains in the United States, and the states associated with them. From small bar band, to selling out mid-level venues Sabaton has built an Army of fans with no local radio airplay and only hard work. Check out an amazing live show by Sabaton as they continue their takeover of the US throughout the fall.