Concert Review: SABATON, KREATOR, CYHRA Strike the Pacific Northwest

Portland, OR - February 12th & Boise, ID - February 19th, 2018

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PORTLAND – by Princess of the Dawn

The venue for this concert, was Wonder Ballroom, host to many concerts during the year, is situated in downtown Portland. I liked  the audio, as it is very good, clear, no noise feedback, perfect place for such a great concert. I was lucky enough to find a good spot on the upper level, toasting a cold one to the Metal Gods on stage. Amazing

I have been anxiously awaiting this concert, more so due to Sabaton having another  American Tour, as I missed them last time when they graced us with their presence in this part of the world. In the past, I drove for 4-5 hours just to see them play in a small venue, but it’s not the venue they are playing, it’s the band itself, right? At least to me, that is what is important.

CyHra was the opening band, not what you would have expected with Thrash gods like Kreator, and booming war gods Sabaton, but light, heavy metal songs, strong voice, just a great warm up band. I was not familiar with them, but I did like their style. I got  influences of Accept, a little of Halloween. The crowd seemed to enjoy their performance.

Kreator was the next band in the line up and wow! It was my 2nd time seeing them live. Formed in Essen,Germany, these guys have been around since 1982. Having fluidity in their style from death and black metal, transitioning into speed metal, and moving into thrash  and maintained to this day. Coming into higher  success with their later albums, Kreator is recognized as one of the best German selling thrash metal.

United In Hate,” from their critically acclaimed, Phantom Antichrist, is one memorable song, with melodic tones. I get influences of In Flames, you cant go wrong with such powerful riffs . Kreator has come a long ways, and  have written some of their best albums these past years, produced so much quantity of good writing, satisfying all music starved fans.

Satan is real, was my favorite song from their set. To me, it has power, mythic, I get resonances of death and black metal, not just thrash, which, I think it gives Kreator their own unique style. Their thunderous sound, makes you come wanting more.

I am impressed how much Kreator has brought to the music world. I like their energy on stage, their writing style, which is all a detriment to our souls and ears.

Sabaton formed many years ago, 19 to be exact,  in the small town of Falun, Sweden, has brought once again, their Swedish flair, to our Pacific Northwest. When I researched who they are, and what did the band’s  name meant, I found out, ‘Sabaton’ is an actual piece of shoe, made of metal as part of 14-15 century armory. How fitting!

What makes this band so unique in their style, is not their attire, or their upbeat tempo, it’s their humble desire to bring historical facts, some well known, some not known, to surface, and giving them life through their music.

Song ‘Got mitt uns’ ( God with us) off the Carolus Rex ( King Charles translated) album, for which the band consulted a Historian to have the true events in place,  was recorded in English and Swedish. One of the awesome things that Joakim ( lead singer), has done, and continues to do so, is engaging the crowd. In accomplishing this, he had the crowd choose if the song should be sang in Swedish or English. And Swedish it was! And let me tell you, it sounded metal as hell! I guess, it won’t matter what language you sang, metal will be metal  no matter what. I should mention that Carolus Rex, depicts  history, each song referring to an important Swedish event. I love how much devotion goes into each album, how much researched is done, how well put together their albums are.

Ruina Imperii (Downfall of the Empire) is my favorite song from their concert. This song just speaks my heart. The song depicts the devastating  retreat of the Swedish Carolean across the Tydal mountain range.

Sabaton, has not only brought to surface important dates, but they have recorded songs in English, Swedish and Polish. Each of their albums, has a localized historical theme, while each song focuses on an single incident.

Sabaton dominated the stage on this night, making it once again, memorable for me. I am always grateful I was able to attend their performance, enjoying that Swedish humor, and their music. Sköl!

BOISE by Austin Splatter

This past Monday, the 19th  of February, the almighty Kreator and Sabaton came and destroyed the Revolution Concert House and left without a trace. Well… They’ll be in Colorado playing tomorrow, but you know what I mean. The opener for this tour CyHra, did not perform on account of their bus breaking down in Montana. However, both other outfits played a bit longer of a set!

Kreator took the stage first, coming out to an awesome intro track and jumping straight into “Phantom Antichrist”, and all hell broke loose. The set in its entirety was intense. There was almost a perfect balance of old and new tunes.

One of my favorite things about Kreator is how interactive they are with their audience. Mille Petrozza consistently talked to the audience and encouraged everyone to get rowdy and chance he got. He called two walls of death in the same set, and each time the pit erupted Even Christian Giesler (bassist) and Sami Yli-Sirniö (guitarist) were doing their best to amp up the audience.

At the very end of the set, the habitual tossing of shit off the stage commenced, and Jürgen “Ventor” Reil frisbee tossed a signed drum head directly to me. Needless to say, I chose to remove myself from the pit after obtaining it.

This was the first time in a great while that this band had came through Boise, and only their third time ever in their 35-year career (this was Sabaton’s first) and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see them.

Speaking of Sabaton, I wanted to be optimistic, but every song I had heard of theirs prior had bothered me, and I cannot explain why.The energy that the group imposed immediately gave the crowd a second wind. After that wave I started to really think critically about the set I was witnessing. There is a formulaic pattern to most of their songs (at least in the set I witnessed) The conclusion I came to from a personal standpoint is I enjoyed the spectacle that Sabaton displayed. However, the lyrical content is lacking of substance and their musicality is enhanced by the excitement that the band’s enthusiasm and demeanor arouses. Regardless, they are great performers and I think that they will inspire bands to continue to write from a historical standpoint. I think a lot of this energy stems from frontman Joakim Brodén. He was all over the place and rallied the crowd if they were disengaged for a millisecond.

My favorite element of Sabaton is their harmonies  between Brodén, Chris Rörland (guitar), Tommy Johansson (guitar) and Pär Sundström (bass). It’s a trip to hear all of those men unified in voice.

If given the opportunity to catch this tour arises for you, I would highly recommend attending!

 

All photos © 2018 Katarzyna Cepek Photography

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