SABATON's PÄR SUNDSTRÖM: We Try To Avoid Making Politics Out Of History

November 8, 2023

In a new interview with Lora Vogt, the vice president of education and interpretation at the National WWI Museum And Memorial, America's leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community, SABATON bassist Pär Sundström was asked why he and his bandmates have gone to such great lengths to raise awareness on the importance of history and encourage more people to visit their local museums. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):  "I never had that ambition in the beginning — never at all. I mean, it was like, 'Okay, we are a rock band.' And first of all, we are still a rock band. We're still a heavy metal band. This is our core. This is what we are best at, so to say, but we realized that there was so much more we can do with the topic that we have chosen. And that's why all the extensions of what we are doing with various videos and collaborations and these kind of things. Because we have chosen the topic of history and military history, there is a lot more we can do with the brand and with the band. Doubtless, no matter what we do, we are spreading history and, yes, there are various ways of accessing it. And some, they find it great. They listen to a song, and, yes, you can't maybe learn so much about something in three minutes of it or whatever; we have only a few words. That's why there are more [details] on our web site. There's historical articles as well. And we have the history channel where we have documentaries done about every song and you can move on. And if that is not enough for you, then the world is there to discover for them. We cannot be teaching them the depth of a specific project. They can touch us the surface. But I do believe that a person who would spend some time with SABATON and, let's say, if you would choose and you have school exams in World War I, you can pick up quite a lot by just our web site and what you can get from our songs, our history channel and from that. And after that, I think you can impress your teacher pretty well, if you pay attention, because you will take in quite a lot of information. And the same about a lot of other topics that we have covered in the past as well. So I do believe that you can impress quite a lot with the stuff that we have sort of created around our songs."

He continued: "And is it important? I think it is important. I think for anybody who doesn't understand where we come from, it's very easy to be judging people or judging the world. If you know the history and if you have seen the history, let's say, from a more objective point of view, which hopefully people get to do in a free world, so to say, then you get to see, like, 'Okay, this happened.' And you're, like, 'Aha. So that's why there is a line on the map that goes like that and it doesn't cover that city or the line is drawn there. Okay, I get it. Aha. So that's why this city is called that. Or that's why we are currently in France, but everybody's speaking German in this town.' And these kinds of things. And you get so much more if you pay a little attention to history, and you will also understand, like, 'Ah, that's why these people don't like these people' or 'these people really like these people.' So to give you that kind of more understanding of the world, I don't think that that can ever be held against you. I don't see that. I think it's in your favor. So anybody who has a good knowledge about history, I think that they have hopefully and probably a more humble approach to a lot of things. Sure, there can be leading to a lot of hatred too — that can be true. You can definitely grow that as well. That's when you make politics out of history, and we try to avoid that. We try to stay 'history is history.'"

In September 2022, SABATON announced a new EP trilogy titled "Echoes Of The Great War". The trilogy features new songs specifically about World War I, coupled with topically related catalog music.

The last EP in the "Echoes Of The Great War" EP trilogy, "Stories From The Western Front", was made available in April on all platforms. It features a never-heard-before cover of MOTÖRHEAD's well-known track "1916".

SABATON climbed the international charts with its tenth studio album, "The War To End All Wars", securing No. 1 positions in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Poland, Hungary and Finland. Having achieved the top position for the second time in Germany, Sweden and Finland, the album peaked at No. 1 in Poland, Hungary and Austria for the first time in the band’s career. This and additional outstanding results in other territories have made "The War To End All Wars" SABATON's most successful album so far.

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