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Nothing gets me excited about music like a good concept album, but there’s one thing that tops that – a concept band! Sabaton is a great example of this, a Swedish heavy metal band that has been composing conceptual music themed around heroism in war since the late ‘90s.
The vast quantity of music that Sabaton has produced is incredible, and this only emphasizes the sheer passion they have for the themes they write music about.
I’m a massive fan of this band, so I thought I’d take the difficult task into my hands of compiling the 20 best Sabaton songs.
Read on to find out which ones I chose!
20 Best Sebaton Songs of All Time
1. The Last Stand
If you’ve never heard of Sabaton, their song The Last Stand is a great place to start. It features on the concept album of the same name from 2016, a compilation of 15 tracks that tells heroic war stories spanning from the Afghan-Soviet war to the Spartan Battle of Thermopylae.
Many people think that this track discusses the wars of the Crusades, but this is not the case. Listen carefully to the lyrics, and you will hear that it in fact tells the tale of The Swiss Guard holding Austrian troops to help Pope Clement VIII escape!
2. Primo Victoria
Next on my list of the best Sabaton songs, I had to choose Primo Victoria. This is another track by the band that comes from an album of the same name, this time released a decade earlier in 2005.
Whereas The Last Stand spanned various wars, Primo Victoria focuses specifically on the allied invasion of Normandy during World War II. The song name directly translates to ‘Foremost, Victory’ and is a reference to D-Day, but this opening track is specifically themed around the allied perspective of Operation Overlord.
Who knew heavy metal could be so educational!?
3. Ghost Division
Three years after Primo Victoria, Sabaton released The Art of War, an album concerning this time focusing on the ancient Chinese military treatise and definitive work on military tactics of the same name.
There’s a lot to be broken down in this track, but let’s take a step back from history for a moment to just appreciate the music. The drums are pounding, the vocals are epic, and I absolutely love the accompanying synths and choirs that give the song a real symphonic metal sound. Brilliant!
Sabaton’s music varies from the slower side of heavy concept metal to much faster power metal – 40:1 demonstrates the latter beautifully, another track of the previously mentioned album The Art of War.
It’s about the Battle of Wizna in Poland, and as you can probably imagine, the Polish people loved this track. In fact, it was so popular that a fan-made music video for the track was briefly the most viewed YouTube video in Poland, resulting in the band being smothered by heart-warming gifts from Polish people.
How couldn’t I include this as one of the best Sabaton songs?!
5. The Attack of the Dead Men
Sabaton has an enormously loyal fan base – they regularly send the band gifts for their music’s cultural discussion and even send the band ideas for songs.
One example of this is the track The Attack of the Dead Men, featured on the band’s latest album The Great War. It discussed the Battle of Osowiec Fortress in 1915, and the band claimed that it is the song that took the longest to write, by far.
It was almost completed for the album Heroes, then The Last Stand, but they simply could not finish it in time. Better late than never!
6. To Hell and Back
Sabaton always goes above and beyond when it comes to their music videos – just take a look at To Hell and Back and you’ll see what I mean.
The video begins by describing the sadness of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) experienced by many soldiers after returning from World War II, before unleashing a beautiful tribute to the struggle these heroes experienced.
I particularly love the high-pitched instrument in the chorus on this song, it sounds like bagpipes. It adds a beautiful layer of euphoria to a musical concept that is ultimately bitter-sweet.
Next on my list of the best Sabaton songs is Panzerkampf, the ninth track on The Art of War. This track tells the tale of The Battle of Kursk from the German army’s perspective during a tank battle that represented the final offensive act of the German blitzkrieg.
One of my favorite things about this band is how they are totally non-discriminate when it comes to the historical wars they discuss. Being Swedish, you would imagine that they would focus on Sweden’s War of Liberation, but their back catalog presents a far wider scope than this!
Continuing with the theme of German armies, let’s take a look at Bismarck.
For those of you that don’t know, Bismarck was a German Battleship, one of the largest to ever be built in Europe. The ship was actually lost after being sunk by shellfire, torpedo and after damage, and Sabaton have referenced this beautifully as usual in their music video.
The Captain’s compass shows the coordinates ’48°10N 16°12W’ – this was actually the final resting place of the Bismarck’s captain after the ship sank. Sabaton, you’ve outdone yourself once again!
9. Night Witches
Many people forget that women played hugely heroic roles during World War II – whilst they may not have been on the frontline of land war, they were fighting for their countries’ freedom as fighter pilots.
As you can probably tell, Sabaton hold great pride in providing a well-rounded perspective of war events, and their track Night Witches is yet another example of this, paying tribute to all of the fallen female jet fighters throughout the war.
If only they were able to hear this epic and powerful tribute – they would have been ridiculously proud of Sabaton.
10. Winged Hussars
I could go on and on about the historical content of Sabaton’s music, but let’s focus on the music for a while. I mentioned earlier how the band likes to switch their style up from being fast power metal to slower heavy metal, and their track Winged Hussars is a great example of the latter.
It takes things a little slower, a little gentler, but with the same level of power portrayed in the rest of their music. I just love how versatile this band is – they don’t have to play fast to illustrate heroism!
11. Carolus Rex
Continuing with my musical discussion of the best Sabaton songs, Carolus Rex grabs the next spot. The band has a serious talent for building up atmosphere and tension, as can be heard in the introduction of this song.
It begins with a dark and mysterious synth drone, accompanied by soft pads and eventually, pounding drums. When the guitar comes in, you just know that Sabaton is setting the scene for yet another monumental war event.
Their ability to illustrate concepts through music is impressive, and I bet that a first-time listener would instantly think of war heroism.
12. 82nd All the Way
Sabaton aren’t just masters of the concept album, of building atmosphere, but they are also incredibly talented when it comes to technical composition. Just take a listen to their track 82nd All The Way – it features some really unique rhythmic concepts, particularly in the introduction and the chorus.
Whilst the track is actually written in the standard time signature of 4/4, the accents and dynamics of the guitar and drums provide a perception of syncopation that makes the rhythmic elements of the song really stand out. Very unique stuff.
Have you checked out Sabaton’s website yet? It shows that the band’s core concept of war history is not just a niche, but a true passion.
I was recently looking for the lyrics of their track Sparta (obviously about the Spartan war), and I was astounded to see that the band had a webpage for each and every one of their tracks, complete with its own historic fact.
Truly admirable stuff – the Sparta historic fact talks of the sacrifices the Greek Spartans took in order to protect their freedoms, take a look for yourself!
I mentioned earlier how much I love the versatility of the concepts behind Sabaton’s music – they don’t just focus on European war history, but will happily step into other continents such as Asia.
Tracks like Shiroyama completely change the conceptual style of the band’s music up, discussing the fighting of Japanese Samurais and Warriors, as opposed to European armies.
Easily one of the best Sabaton songs in my books – I would love to pick their brains about Asian war history someday!
15. Resist and Bite
I mentioned earlier how Sabaton is always recognizing their fans’ passion, and Resist and Bite is yet another example of this.
The concept of this track narrates a small Belgian unit of soldiers named the Chasseurs Ardennais. The story was given to the band in the form of a Flemish document by a Belgian fan, and amazingly the guys at Sabaton translated, studied, and wrote a song about it!
Seriously – I cannot think of a band that put so much effort and detail into their music, it‘s beautiful.
16. Kingdom Come
Sabaton’s music is truly unique and original, so it may surprise you that they have actually covered some of their favorite music.
Back in 2016, the band recorded their own tribute to Kingdom Come by Manowar, another fantastic conceptual war-metal band. Whilst the track was recorded a few years ago and is readily available to hear online, it’s actually being released on a new EP with the same name in 2021.
Now that is something to look forward to!
17. The Final Solution
One of the things that really helped me choose the best Sabaton songs was instrumentation – almost every one of their songs explores incredible stories and concepts, so sometimes I just had to go with my ears.
This is why I picked The Final Solution from their 2010 album Coat of Arms – just listen to that glissando synth at the beginning and throughout. Something about it just screams pride, passion, and honor.
The guitar solo around the middle pairs with it beautifully, it’s a work of art!
18. Defence of Moscow
We’re coming towards the end of this list now, and I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to include Defence of Moscow – what an outrage!
This track is truly stunning – as the name suggests, it tells the story of the defenses Moscow deployed when Nazi Germany began to push into the country in October of 1941. Each army had over 1 million soldiers, yet Russia put up the ultimate defense and ultimately played its part in destroying the horrors of Nazi Germany.
Another beautifully explained piece of history from Sabaton.
19. The Red Baron
The penultimate track of this list is easily one of the best Sabaton songs overall, partly due to the incredible organ solo at the beginning – The Red Baron!
I could easily listen to that alone, but the track quickly kicks into a powerful discussion of the Red Baron, the nickname given to the German soldier Manfred von Richthofen who shot down more than 80 Allied aircraft than any other soldier.
There really is a lot of organ on this track – I’m not particularly sure why but I absolutely love it!
20. Seven Pillars of Wisdom
We’ve finally reached the last track on this list of the best Sabaton songs, and I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s been an emotional journey of pride, passion, and noble war stories.
I saved this track until last because it’s very special – Seven Pillars of Wisdom. It depicts the experiences of the British Colen T. E. Lawrence and his experiences during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks.
The track features a music video and timbral variety that combines the band’s classic sound with Arabic themes – it’s unique even for the varied band that is Sabaton. I hope this band never stops teaching history through their music, they really are doing God’s work!
Alex is a man of many talents. He’s been playing music since he was young, and has been the main content writer at Tone Start for the past few years. Alex loves to play around with different styles of music and enjoys listening to anything from country to classical.