Sabaton, Delain, Battle Beast – 013 Tilburg, January 11th 2015.
The Sabaton war machine is back on the road and tonight they have landed at the 013 in Tilburg, Netherlands. Despite being a Sunday evening the show has been completely sold out.
Even though we arrive way ahead of schedule the line to get in is immense. The fan base is out in full force and it promises to be quite a party!
The vanguard on the battlefield is Battle Beast from Finland. For those not in the know, think of the band as a mix of Hammerfall and Sabaton with a good dosage of 80s hard rock. But don’t worry; you’ll hear more about the band soon enough as their star has been rising in the past years. They sure have the crowd’s enthusiasm right at the start; they are a perfect warm-up for Sabaton later on. Noora has a superb voice and she’d easily put most male heavy metal singers out of a job, such a great voice.
Unfortunately the band can only play for half an hour, but they fill it up with a powerful mix of power metal, heavy metal and even some AOR. Flashy guitar solos and great keys! Of course they’re promoting the very recently released new album with their newest single “Madness”, but the older stuff isn’t forgotten either and “Black Ninja” gets a great reception, as well as closer “Out of Control”. A great start for a superb evening!
I must confess that I really have been out of touch with the Dutch symphonic metal band Delain, yet luckily there are a truckload of people that love this band, judging by their big rise in popularity of the recent years. At first I thought the band was a bit of a mismatch with the other bands that are a lot heavier, yet the band actually explodes with their first song. Unfortunately the keys aren’t too loud in the sound mix, which takes away nearly all of the symphonic elements of the band.
The contrast between their old and newer songs is pretty big, especially in terms of heaviness, but the crowd loves it. Even if it’s not really your kind of music the band is giving away a great show, with constant contact with their fans and slick musicianship.
The fans have to wait a long time for Sabaton, but the atmosphere in the venue is great. The fans are loudly shouting the name of their favourite band and I’m still surprised at how popular this band is. But tonight they showed just how deserved that is.
And then “The Final Countdown” by Europe plays and fans go nuts and sing along with the customary warm-up song. The battle has been won before the squad even enters the stage!
After the intro finishes the band is off to a terrific start with pumping power metal, like only the Swedes really master. The lyrics might be filled with stories of war, yet tonight is one giant victory.
When the band starts “To Hell and Back” from their latest album “Heroes” the entire crowd is jumping up and down, what a party! It’s clear that the band is having a blast as well, as their enthusiasm just splashes all over the crowd. They’re a great party band, despite the often severe subjects of their lyrics.
Amidst newer songs like the aforementioned single and “Smoking Snakes” we get the classics like “Warsaw Rising”, “Primo Victoria” and the renewed “7734”. And of course we end with “Metal Crüe”.
Singer Joakim really knows how to play his audience with constant quips as well as general tomfoolery. Of course he’s joined by the rest of the band with random cover-intro’s of Metallica and Michael Jackson and even Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. The chemistry between the band and the audience is just perfect and even if you’re not into the band you will be swept along.
As a special ‘treat’ Joakim accepts a ‘challenge’ by the audience and at the end of the show he pulls of his pants and puts them on his head. Don’t ask why, it’s a very serious Dutch tradition.
Despite it being a Sunday evening the show was sold out and the venue was completely packed. And it was easy to forget that it was a Sunday if you saw the energy that the crowd showed during the entire evening. It was a terrific feast and I’m very interested in seeing how Sabaton will perform later this year when they’re the headliner on the Into the Grave festival in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands on the 8th of August!
Text: Robert Popovic
Photography: Ronald van de Baan