Band That Sang Six Day War Tribute To Visit Israel War Memorial

Swedish band Sabaton's song Counterstrike is a tribute to the Six Day War. They will perform in Israel this week.

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Ben Bresky,

Sabaton heavy metal concert in Israel
Sabaton heavy metal concert in Israel

The overwhelming majority of Sabaton's music deals with military history, so it should come as no surprise that one of their songs is about the Six Day War.

Israel's famed military success over uneven odds is the subject matter of Counterstrike, the popular track of the band's 2006 break-through album.
Joakim Brodén, Sabaton's singer, spoke with Arutz Sheva's Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast about their upcoming concert in Israel and their visit with IDF soldiers.

For a full audio interview and to hear music samples, click here.

Speaking from his native Sweden, the singer said the most memorable comment regarding the song, which appears on their 2006 break-through album Primo Victoria, was from a soldier in the Israel Defense Force.

"He said that he's never afraid of going into battle, but listening to that song before going into battle gives him extra strength," Brodén stated. "It's hard for us Swedish people to realize, because we haven't seen it around here in 200 years. We've been neutral and blessed in that sense. But where you come from, the climate is so much closer. We can't even realize what kind of connection a song like that gives to someone who's been through what an Israeli soldier might have been though."

Before their Tel Aviv concert this week, the band is scheduled to visit Givat HaTachmoshet, or Ammunition Hill, Brodén stated. The Ammunition Hill memorial and museum was the site of a fierce battle in the Six Day War of 1967, in which Israeli soldiers defended Jerusalem. The original battle trenches are still intact. The group will also meet with a Six Day War veteran and talk to soldiers on an army base.

There are multiple fan made videos of Counterstrike on the internet, numbering a several million combined views. In one concert video, fans can be seen towards the front of the crowd waving Israeli flags. Flag waving is typical at Sabaton concerts.

"If somebody throws an Israeli flag on stage during the song Counterstrike, we will pick it up, just like a Polish flag or any other flag. I have never seen any bad reaction to this," Brodén stated.

The band's interest in military history began with their 2006 CD. Broden, together with bass player and lyricist Pär Sundström developed the concept. "We had the music, but not the music," he said. "This song had a big sound to it, so we needed a big subject. So we wrote about D-Day, the Allied landing on Normandy."

Sundström has a personal connection with Israel. He spends time visiting his sister who at one time lived on an Israeli kibbutz.

The band performed in Israel previously in 2008 and 2010. Broden has also visited Israel independently and recorded with the Israeli band, Desert, who will serve as their opening act. Desert is known for the song Massada Will Never Fall.

One other song, Uprising, touches upon Jewish history as well. The track deals with the Polish resistance against the Nazis. In 1943, the Jewish victims of the Warsaw Ghetto also resisted and for over a month held off the Nazi army. Hollywood movie actor Peter Stormare, also originally from Sweden, stars in the video. Stormare is known for his roles in such movies as Fargo and Armageddon.

Broden says he is looking forward to his concert in Israel. "Israeli fans are among the best in the world. We've played in about 40 or 50 countries and I can honestly say that," Brodén stated.

Sabaton performs August 30th at Reading 3 in Tel Aviv.

Ben Bresky is a music journalist living in Jerusalem. He hosts The Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast interviewing a wide range of Jewish and Israeli musicians from Carlebach to klezmer, from hasidic to trance. For podcast archives click here. For Facebook click here. For Twitter click here.