Note: This was taken from my recent interview done with Joakim where I asked him about the album.
Sabaton are currently gearing up to release their new album, The Last Stand in just under two weeks. During my interview with Joakim recently, he very kindly went through the album track by track and discussed the lyrical topics. So without furtherado, here is the breakdown of each track on the album…
That’s easy enough. From 480BC, it’s based on the story of Leonidas. Most people can relate to it, as even if you haven’t watched 300 you should know the story of Leonidas. There were other cities that were defended around that time but Leonidas’ stand is the one that went down in the history books.
Last Dying Breath:
This one is about the defence of Belgrade in 1915. It’s a bit of an unexpected one as it’s very famous to someone from Serbia but it’s probably as unfamiliar to someone in the UK as to someone from Sweden. It’s a fantastic last stand though. The Major, Gavrilović, addressed the troops. It’s kind of impressive, he said: “Don’t worry about your lives, they’re already lost. You have been written into the history books. Forward, to glory, for King and country. Long live the King. Long Live Belgrade.”
Blood Of Bannockburn:
1314, nine years after the execution of William Wallace at Stirling Castle. I don’t think I need to introduce that too much to an Englishman! If I have, then you’ve not done your homework!
Diary Of An Unknown Soldier:
This one serves as an introduction into the next one where we introduce the sounds of the upcoming songs. It actually has no drums in it and the sounds are made up of: A .50 cal machine gun, a 9mm handgun and the sound of a bayonet tearing through flesh.
The Lost Battalion:
This song is about the battle of Argon 1918. It’s about the American 77 Division who were surrounded by the Germans and they had to use carrier pigeons to communicate. This was whilst they were under friendly fire as well!
This is another one that should be familiar to the British. This one is based on the 1879 Anglo-Zulu war. I didn’t know that until I started researching this that the battle took place at a small Swedish mission church. They were fighting people armed with spears with guns, but they were still heavily outnumbered.
The Last Stand:
This is based on the last stand of the Swiss Guard in 1527. The Roman emperor, Charles 5th, couldn’t pay the guards so they decided to take what they thought was theirs and plunder Rome. At the end, when they entered the Vatican they were slowed down by 189 Swiss guards who fought all the way to the altar in St Peters. Forty two of them managed to escape with Pope Clement the 7th though. It’s one of the few times you hear about Swiss soldiers fighting in the history books.
This is based on the Soviet-Afghan war in 1988. Thirty nine Soviet airborne soldiers landed and were attacked by 250 Mujahideen fighters during the night. In the morning of the 8th January, over 200 Mujahideen fighters lay dead and only 6 soviet soldiers remained. Another one that is not so famous but it is still an interesting story for sure.
Probably one of the more famous stories, it’s based on the last stand of the Samurai in 1877. The movie, The Last Samurai was based very loosely on the events of the Satsuma Rebellion. The song focuses on the final battle where five hundred Samurai entrenched themselves on mount Shiroyama and at the end of the battle only forty were left. So they decided to charge into enemy positions and of course they were killed, every single one of them.
As evidenced by the title, this one is about the Hussars and the siege on Vienna by the Ottomans. The situation was pretty desperate as they were using explosives to try and get the walls to crumble so they could use the rubble as a ramp into the city. In the last minutes, the holy league under the command of John Sobieski the 3rd arrived just in time with the winged hussars. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a cavalry with wings which didn’t really have a function over than to intimidate the enemy. When the Ottomans saw them riding down the hill, they became scared and abandoned the siege.
The Last Battle:
This is one of my favourites actually. It’s about the 5th of May in 1945. World War 2 is pretty much over but the German’s haven’t officially surrendered. Some regiments however have surrendered and actually helping out with the allies. In this case, Castle Itter is being used as a prisoner of war camp for French soldiers. The Americans found out that SS soldiers are being sent there to execute the prisoners. So the commander, Captain John Lee of the Allies and Major Gangl of the Wehrmacht worked together to save the prisoners. I think it’s the only time in history that the Americans and Germans worked together in a war so it makes a nice story to end the album with.
Sabaton release The Last Stand on August 19th via Nuclear Blast Records.