Sabaton – Cardiff Uni Great Hall 2, 10th November 2012

Rumours of Sabaton’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. The Swedish power metallers went from supporting Iron Maiden in Gothenburg and recording a fine album in ‘Carolus Rex’ to ending up with just two original band members out of six following a parting of the ways. But now, with guitarists Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund and drummer Robban Bäck on board alongside vocalist Joakim Brodén and bassist Pär Sundström, the band have valiantly soldiered on and toured extensively this year, with this date being the second-to-last of a 9-show UK tour.

Firstly though, Hungarian outfit Wisdom (7), who are a new act to many in Cardiff tonight and don’t disappoint. The true highlight of their set was a quite brilliant cover of Iron Maiden’s ‘Wasted Years’, but don’t let that put you off – the rest was exceptionally solid, and they were very tight as a band – definitely check them out. They warmed up the crowd nicely for Eluveitie (8), the Swiss folk metallers whose extensive lineup (there’s eight of them) somehow squeezed themselves onto the small university stage and still found room to headbang. and move about. They hit the ground running with the title track from their current album Helvetios and didn’t let up for the next forty-five minutes, frontman Chrigel Glanzmann on fine form and trading vocals with Anna Murphy perfectly, who herself had a belter of a voice and was brilliant on the hurdy gurdy. Yes, that’s an actual instrument.

If there’s one thing you can’t say about Sabaton (8), it’s that they don’t put on a show . From the minute they broke into Ghost Division they were off, running and then soaring for the heavens. The songs sounded huge, and the new material is just as strong as the old – Gott Mit Uns in particular looks set to be a staple setlist song for years to come . Joakim is easily one of the best frontmen in the world – his stage prescence and energy are incredible, and his stage banter is hilarious, getting everyone to perform the Y.M.C.A at one point and mentioning, amongst other things, Abba and Ikea. Without a keyboard player currently, the band are using backing tracks in a live setting, and at some points these were completely overpowered by the guitars and drums when they needed to be heard – a point proven when Joakim sat down to play piano on The Hammer Has Fallen and every note was  but this is a minor criticism for a band who looked completely at ease with each other: smiling, joking and enjoying being together on stage. They even sung new track The Carolean’s Prayer in Swedish as part of a request from the fans, along with letting the audience choose whether they should sing Uprising, Midway or Coat of Arms at one point in the set (Uprising came out on top) and Attero Dominatus or Into the Fire as their main set closer, the latter winning for the first time on tour. An encore of The Art of War, Primo Victoria and Metal Crue nicely wraps everything up and everybody leaves with big grins, the boys from Sweden comfortably triumphing once more.

Joakim Brodén – vocals
Chris Rörland – guitars
Thobbe Englund – guitars
Pär Sundström – bass
Robban Bäck – drums

Sabaton setlist (intros and outros in italics)

The Final Countdown
The March to War
1) Ghost Division
2) Gott Mit Uns
3) Poltava
4) Carolus Rex
5) Karolinens bön
6) 40:1
7) Cliffs of Gallipoli
8) Uprising
Dominium Maris Baltici
9) The Lion from the North
10) The Hammer Has Fallen
11) Into the Fire
12) The Art of War
13) Primo Victoria
14) Metal Crue
Masters of the World

About Elliot Leaver

PlanetMosh's resident Iron Maiden fanboy and Mr. Babymetal. Also appreciates the music of Pink Floyd, Rammstein, Nightwish, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot and many others. Writing to continue to enjoy life away from the stresses of full-time employment.