More nasty weather in the morning brought some doubt as to whether the show would happen, but it’s going to take more than a little bit of ice to stop a group of ravenous metal fans, and some Swedish Pagans. With a bill consisting of newly-formed Cyhra, Kreator, and Sabaton headlining, we were going to be ensured a kick-ass night of metal at The Truman.
On the stage first were Swedish band, Cyhra. As openers, they played an abbreviated set list. And with only one album under their belt so far, they were able to get through most of it. Though the band is new, the musicians certainly are not. Fronted by former Amaranthe singer, Joacim “Jake E” Lundberg, former members from In Flames on guitar, and bass (Jesper Strömblad, and Peter Iwers), and Turili’s Rhapsody drummer, Alex Landenburg, Cyhra could easily be a super-group, if it were a side project. Blistering, melodic guitars, soaring vocals, with a heavy bass and drum line providing support, Cyhra will soon be a force to be reckoned with in the metal world. After they finished their set, I wasted no time fighting my way to the merch table to pick up a copy of Letters to Myself.
Up next was Germany’s Kreator. There was a lot of excitement about this band, with fans being roughly equally split on the event’s Facebook page, as to whether they, or Sabaton, should be the evening’s headliner. Perhaps the most amazing thing was getting a packed room of Midwesterner’s to chant Kre-a-tor in a German accent. The band hit the stage with fire and fury, and left nothing behind…except maybe their lighting rig. Most of their set had dull colored back lighting, or blinding strobes. Heavy use of smoke in the beginning really helped to create an atmosphere.
The thrash metallers plowed through a set of 15 songs, with many people wearing their “Satan is Real” hoodies, moshing about. In the middle of the set, front-man Miland “Mille” Petrozza addressed the crowd, saying that he remembered what Kansas City was most famous for, “BBQ!” everyone shouted in unison, “Kansas City has the best mosh pits in the world!” he proclaimed, hoping to get more people moshing about. While a mosh pit did start, and continue well into Sabaton, it stayed relatively small. Though Kreator did keep the energy going, playing for well over an hour, and the perfect lead up to that night’s headliner.
On last were Swedish military metal juggernauts, Sabaton. Billed as The Last Tour, Sabaton was supporting their latest album, The Last Stand (so, hopefully, not a farewell). This was promised to be their largest North American production yet, so big things were expected. I was a little disappointed that this did not mean they’d be bringing their tank drum riser on the road with them. I guess I’ll have to fly overseas to catch that, maybe I should start a GoFundMe to help pay for that.
Sabaton had two of their songs play on the pre-roll, before exploding out to what seems to have become their standard opener, Ghost Division. They continued to ride the wave of energy that Cyhra, and Kreator helped to build. Though even without build up, Sabaton would have no problem building the audience into a frenzy. Jaokim seemed surprised at many points during the set and the enthusiasm from the Kansas City crowd, proclaiming “We need to come to Kansas City more often!” Yes, Joakim; yes you do.
The interaction with the crowd didn’t end there; the band even let the fans help shape the set list a little bit; during early parts of the tour, the official Sabaton page on Facebook asked which songs we would like to hear on the tour; I opted for most of the Carolus Rex album, which is my go-to workout music. At the show, we were given the choice between Gott Mit Uns, and Far from the Fame – Gott Mit Uns won handily – the next choice was whether the band should sing it in English, or Swedish. Well, the Kansas City crowd opted to go full-on international, and were bouncing around, singing (as best they could), to the Swedish lyrics. The band traded vocal duties, each member taking on a different verse.
We covered Sabaton on this site a few years ago, when they were on tour with Nightwish. At the time, I was only vaguely familiar with them – sure, I had heard of them, and knew a few songs, but now I had time to familiarize myself with their catalog, and entrench myself into their music a bit more. One thing is very clear when seeing Sabaton on stage, the only thing Sabaton loves more than military history is their fans. And though Jaokim has not transformed into a tank yet, in a few years, I have no doubt that he will.
Dead to Me, Letters to Myself, Hello, Here to Save You, Heartrage, Closure, Karma
Phantom Antichrist, Hail to the Hordes, Army of Storms (Intro), Enemy of God, Satan is Real, Civilzation Collapse, People of the Lie, Flag of Hate, Phobia, Gods of Violence, From Flood into Fire, Hordes of Chaos, Totaltarian Terror, Violent Revolution, Pleasure to Kill
Pre-Intro: In The Army Now, Intro: The March to War, Ghost Division, Uprising, Blood of Bannockburn, Cliffs of Gallipoli, Lion from the North, Swedish Pagans, Carolus Rex (Eng), Final Solution, Resist and Bite, Night Witches, Gott Mit Uns (Swedish), The Last Stand, Sparta, Winged Hussars, Primo Victoria, Shiroyama, To Hell and Back