A few months back, I saw a video shared on a friend’s Facebook page that made me cringe. As upbeat techno music played, a cute 3D rabbit was working out; complaining the whole time about showing respect for elders. Even now, I can still hear the high-pitched rant of “You should make room for ME, Gladys!!!!” in my mind. Each year, we lose more and more of our precious veterans. And with this kind of message being spread, it can make you wonder if there is any kind of decency, honour, and respect left among the younger generations. I’m happy to say that there is, and where I found it might surprise you. 😉
Heralding from Sweden, the band Sabaton has become a fan favorite in the Metal community, and actually has some of the most amazing lyrics I’ve ever heard. I got to hear them for the first time at the Nightwish concert in Vancouver. If their passion and connection with the audience weren’t enough, their songs just took me over the edge. Most of their lyrics are about famous battles throughout history; particularly from the World Wars. Their latest album, Heroes, focuses on specific men, women, and regiments that stood strong in the face of such atrocities… even through persecution and ridicule from their own people.
For example, the first track on that album, “Night Witches”, honours the female 588th Night Bomber Regiment of the Soviet Air Force. According to Wikipedia, these women were given 1928-style wood-and-canvas biplanes that could only carry six bombs at a time – not even any parachutes! Despite being given such inferior equipment, they flew over 23,000 sorties and supposedly dropped 3,000 tons of bombs. They also learned how to maximize every feature of those planes, and mastered a technique for idling the engines near the targets and gliding to the bomb release points. When they did this, there was only wind noise left to reveal their locations. The German soldiers said it sounded like broomsticks, and thus called the women “Nachthexen” or “Night Witches”. You can watch a lyric video for this song by clicking here.
Another favorite of mine, “Resist And Bite”, tells the tale of Chasseurs Ardennais, an infantry formation of the Belgian Armed Forces. Their insignia was the wild boar, and they stuck true to their motto as they offered fierce resistance after the Germans invaded Belgium on May 10, 1940.
Although Sabaton’s songs cover heroes and battles from all over the world, Canadians are certainly not exempt from their mastery. “The Price of a Mile”, featured on the album The Art of War, speaks to the Battle of Passchendaele where we made headway where other armies could not. And the song “No Bullets Fly”? That merciful German pilot Franz Stigler highlighted in the lyrics eventually settled in Canada and died in Surrey, British Columbia. 🙂
Although Metal has been shrugged off by many as obnoxious, evil screaming, bands like Sabaton are showing that it is far from that. In fact, I think that the intense drumming, riffs, and vocals may be some of the best mediums to capture the sheer bravery, agony, and intensity our loved ones experienced… things they may never have spoken of again.
With that, I want to pause and remember the dear souls who lost their lives in the nightmare of war, and to wish a blessed Remembrance Day and Veterans Day to the brave men and women who have served in Canada, the United States, and abroad. Thank you for everything you have done for us and for your loved ones. We are truly grateful.
Always with love,
The Canuck Pin-up
P.S. Sabaton’s albums are available through iTunes, music stores such as HMV in Canada, Amazon.ca, and Amazon.com. For more information about the band, please visit their website at www.sabaton.net.