Sabaton

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The triumphant Swedes have been a major force in the power metal field since the mid-2000s.
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Primo Victoria
Sonically triumphant and lyrically war-obsessed, Sweden's Sabaton have been a major force in the power metal field since the mid-2000s. Since debuting in 2005 with the World War II-themed Primo Victoria, the band has amassed a loyal army of European followers -- they have their own annual festival and cruise -- and released a slew of acclaimed albums, including the platinum-selling Carolus Rex (2012) and Heroes (2014), and 2019's World War I concept LP The Great War.

Originally founded in 1999 and comprised of Joakim Brodén (vocals and keyboards), Rickard Sundén (guitar), Oskar Montelius (guitar), Daniel Myhr (keyboards, beginning in 2006), Pär Sundström (bass), and Richard Larsson (drums), the enterprising group quickly produced two demo tapes that were later released in a limited-edition as Fist for Fight in 2002.

Metalizer
But after inking a deal with Italian label Underground Symphony, Sabaton saw their first would-be official album, Metalizer, inexplicably kept out of the marketplace for a full two years (it, too, belatedly reached the public in 2007). Tired of waiting, the members of Sabaton (now including new drummer Daniel Mullback), once again took matters into their own hands, and financed the recording of another album, Primo Victoria, which was officially released in 2005 by the Black Lodge label. It also opened the floodgates for a slew of popular singles and battle metal LPs to follow, including 2006's Attero Dominatus, 2008's The Art of War, and 2010's Coat of Arms, all of them bursting at the seams with historic and mythical chronicles of battle set to anthemic power metal. The band became increasingly successful across Europe, as witnessed on 2011's live album, World War Live: Battle of the Baltic Sea, featuring a dozen tracks and ten different countries. The following year's Carolus Rex hit number one in Sweden and Poland, but it was the last for that lineup; 2014's Heroes featured new guitarists Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund, plus new drummer Hannes van Dahl, alongside stalwarts Brodén and Sundström. Preceded by the rousing single the "Last Battalion," the conceptual Last Stand, the band's eighth studio album, dropped in August 2016.

After a number of live dates throughout 2017, the group put touring on hold in 2018 to start recording their ninth album. On November 11, 2018 the group entered the Black Lounge Studios with producer Jonas Kjellgren to start recording, with the specific start date being the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. Inspired by the horrors of the war and the armies that fought, the resulting album, The Great War, was issued in mid-2019. That same year the group also started the online video channel Sabaton History, which charted the band's career and celebrated their 20th anniversary, while the stand-alone single, "Bismarck" -- recounting the sinking of the German battleship of the same name -- was also issued.