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War stories: History inspires heavy metal band Sabaton

Swedish heavy-metal band Sabaton plays Thursday at the Sunshine Theater.

Swedish heavy-metal band Sabaton plays Thursday at the Sunshine Theater.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There is a history lesson in every song by Swedish heavy-metal band Sabaton.

You could spend days, weeks, months talking to frontman Joakim Brodén and learn more and more about famous battles and war heroes. Brodén knows his stuff, which stems from watching documentaries and reading numerous books on the road. But, he said, half of the time it is the fans who bring him ideas when they repeat war stories stemming from their native countries.

“I think in military history there are so many fantastic stories, and they should not be forgotten,” Brodén said. “There are enough songs about drinking beers and sex and killing dragons already. Let’s write songs about true stories and honor those who did something instead of making up fantasy.”

Sabaton’s new album, “Heroes,” is scheduled for release on May 16. It features the song “To Hell and Back” about American Audie Murphy, who was World War II’s most decorated war hero, Brodén said. Another song on the album, “Resist and Bite,” was inspired by a small unit of about 40 Belgian soldiers who took on a German army of thousands.


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“(The Belgians) were supposed to retreat and they never got that order,” Brodén explained. “Previously they had been ordered to stay on the line at all costs.”

Brodén takes on writing duties but gets help musically from Sabaton bassist Pär Sundström.

“I write the music myself and then the bass player (Sundström) and I work on the music together,” Brodén said. “We start bouncing off ideas. When we’re halfway through, we say this could fit very good with this hero or this battle.”