at the Cabooze, Minneapolis, MN, USA, May 2, 2017

SABATON (Live at the Cabooze, Minneapolis, MN, USA, May 2, 2017)
Photo: Zac Halter

Fans of European Heavy Metal in Minneapolis, Minnesota, were treated to a tour stop from Leaves Eyes, Battle Beast, and Sabaton on Sabaton’s long awaited headlining tour of the U.S. in support of their latest album The Last Stand. The cramped confines of the Cabooze bar packed in 400 fans for an up-close and personal concert experience.

The six-member Symphonic Metal band, Leaves Eyes, took the stage first with positive crowd response throughout their 40-minute set. The band employs twin vocalists; Elina Siirala, led with operatic power and Alexander Krull provides backing vocals with a Death Metal growl. The two dedicated vocalists whipped up crowd interaction leading clapping, chanting, and Krull even donned a sword, helmet and chain mail during their closing number, “Blazing Waters”. Sonically, the mix was fairly even with the exception of Siirala’s vocals which dominated the mix.

Finland’s six-member band, Battle Beast, played a 40-minute set but any similarity to Leaves Eyes ends there. Battle Beast’s high-tempo set seethed with aggressive energy the crowd reflected back to them in a crazed Heavy Metal feedback loop. The band is led by the diminutive and visually arresting lead vocalist, Noora Louhimo. Her extreme eye make-up, long blonde hair, long leather coat, and non-stop frantic energy on every song is riveting. She displays awesome vocal power and range in both tone and style. Through their 8-song set, 7 of which were from their latest album Bringer Of Pain, she delivered melodic power and lusty nastiness with equal aplomb. The band was expertly mixed. Louhimo’s vocals were mixed equally with the instrumentalists forcing her to compete in high-energy competition. The band features a dual guitar attack, bass guitar, drums, and keyboard. Kudos to Janne Björkroth who hit the stage rockin’ a keytar! That’s confidence. This wasn’t a surprise as the Battle Beast t-shirts advertise, “100% Heavy Metal, 0% Bullshit”.

After the Battle Beast fury, the crowd was primed for the headlining Sabaton. The crowd chanted, Sa-ba-ton before, during, and after their 95-minute set prompting vocalist, Joakim Brodén, to express after 18 years in the band playing over a 1000 shows in 50 countries, how impressive it was to see such a crazy atmosphere on a Tuesday night. Like Brodén, the rest of the band were all smiles for the crowd as well. Giving as good as they got, the band churned through a well-mixed, loud and furious 18 song set that was a combination of military history lesson and sing along. Call it Schoolhouse Rock for metal heads. Five songs were from their latest album, The Last Stand. The crowd responded well to “Screaming Eagles”, “Poltava” sung in Swedish, and encore numbers “Primo Victoria” and “To Hell And Back Again”. Similar to the armies the band writes about, the band is very precise and disciplined on stage. The lack of spontaneity may be due, in part, to what seems to be a pre-recorded keyboard track. Keyboards are integral to the Sabaton sound, it was truly surprising not to see stage space for a keyboardist. It’s also disconcerting to hear the keyboards and not see them played. However, based on the crowd’s response, Sabaton won the battle even being a man down.


  • Zac Halter

    Zac was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. His interest in heavy music began in the 70s with his father’s Johnny Cash albums. After cousins introduced him to Steppenwolf, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, KISS, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, Johnny Cash didn’t stand a chance. The 80s were spent in full pursuit of everything Metal: searching for new music at record stores, listening to albums, studying the covers and sleeves, and attending concerts. In the 90s, he preferred Death Metal over Grunge and hosted the Death Metal Juggernaut on WUPX in Marquette, Michigan. It was advertised as the only prime time Death Metal radio show in the country.

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