By Jason Wellwood
A double live Album may seem a little pretentious for Sabaton who are relative newcomers to North American audiences, however the band has been releasing albums since 2000 and have just had all of their albums re-released in North America in 2011 (see my review of those albums here). European audiences have had the chance to catch the Sabaton tour juggernaut for years now as the band moved from small club shows to their own headlining and cruise shows. Most recently Sabaton hit North America with Blind Guardian and the reviews were fantastic although many concertgoers may not have realized that Sabaton had been touring for years. [Actually, I think it was with Evergrey – The Ed]
The set list for both discs on World War Live differs completely with none of tracks being doubled which is pretty unique in the live album game! The big difference between disc one (recorded live on the Sabaton cruise in 2010) and disc two (recorded in various European cities in 2010) is only crowd consistency. You hear much more of the crowd on the first disc, though from what you can hear on disc two, the crowd is no less enthusiastic. Since the band seems to talk in between each song, producers needed to fade the crowd noise out so that they weren’t introducing the wrong song! It does make disc two a little less smooth than disc one but it’s not awful or distracting at all. Musically, the band nails every song, with very subtle differences here and there but no glaring flubs or mistakes. Much like their albums, it is obvious Sabaton pay meticulous attention to their live show. Every anthem is a fist pounder, the interplay between guitar and keyboard is fantastic and it is obvious that Joakim is a very engaging frontman.
Hearing the band pull off tracks like ‘Final Solution’ live is definitely an enticement to fans to get out and see the band for themselves. My personal favourites were ‘Aces in Exile’ and ‘Attero Dominatus’ from disc one and ‘Coat of Arms’ and ‘Hellriders’from disc two. At times I did find myself with my fist in the air as if I was at the concert. Disconcerting to the other bus riders around me, I’m sure… World War Live: Battle of the Baltic Sea is both a good stopgap between albums and a pacifier for those wanting to know what all the fuss is about live.