Swedish band Sabaton have been a major force in the power metal field since the mid-2000s, but had to battle significant difficulties to get there, which may explain their eventual creative obsession with everything war-related. 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.
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, 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. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia