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Soldier of Heaven is the fifth song by Sabaton on the album The War to End All Wars.

Information

  • The song and its video was announced on 23rd December 2021.
  • The song was released as the second single from the album on 7th January 2022.
  • Musically, the song is a tribute to 80s heavy metal.
  • The song was born as an experiment after Chris and Joakim wanted to do easy, enjoyable and fun song.[1]
  • Lyrically, the song is written from a perspective of a soldier who froze to death.[2]
  • Joakim thinks that it's one of Pär's best lyrics.[3]
  • The idea for the song was sent by a fan.[4]


Background

Pär: “We already released the Christmas Truce and here comes another song which shows the diversity of the new album. In the early listening sessions of the new album this one was noted among most people as a top song and we know that this will be a powerful sing-a-long anthem on future concerts. So study the lyrics, get your ass to a show and make sure you kill corona in the process!”[5]

Joakim Brodén: "On The Great War, we felt we didn’t represent the Southern Fronts so well. We were sort of getting lost in the Red Baron and all the low-hanging fruit. So, we decided to dive into the events in the Alps on White Friday and how soldiers are still, to this day, frozen up there, not yet dug out because we don’t know where they are. I think, late last year, archaeologists found another site up there. So, this song is a tribute to the fallen that never came home."[6]

Tommy Johansson: "If you're a Sabaton fan, you're also a fan of eighties heavy metal; Pär and Joakim formed the band out of a passion for it, after all! So no one should be bothered by a homage to that time."

Pär: "On many of our albums we had such an outlier. Take 'Red Baron', inspired by music from an era before our birth, or 'The Final Solution' with its Pink Floyd punch. Sabaton doesn't make big developmental leaps because we know what we and the fans want - the core that makes us "us" is there and that's exactly why we can and will do such things."[7]

Joakim Brodén: (...) experimenting, for example, me and Chris sat down and wrote a story on the “Hellfighters” really guitar intensive technical hard song, but then at some point, we realized, you know what, it shouldn’t be this hard all the time. I’m tired of fucking, you know, syncopations, micro guitar riffs everywhere. Let’s do something easy. Chris said okay, here’s the one thing nothing can be complicated, no tricky guitar riffs, let’s just write something that’s enjoyable and fun. And that became “Soldier of Heaven.”[8]

Joakim Brodén: (...) it isn’t as different as people think [it is]. That dun-dun-dun, that synthesizer, it’s been there on “Shiroyama,” it was there on the “Great War” that same theory, not the same exactly. But the same theory was used on “A Ghost in the Trenches,” on “Last Battalion,” for example, so it’s nothing new there, the only thing that’s audible that I think most people would agree on… it sets the ’80s directly is the sort of toms tu-tu-tu-tu-tu? We put them in there for a laugh because it was fun, you know? And then you read comments, I don’t like it because the drum sound sounds so synthetic and it’s no real drums. It’s the same fucking drums, it’s real drums everywhere, except those four samples being used, otherwise it’s regular drums being produced just like fucking normal heavy metal. So it’s funny because all of the things that are actually different and new to the song are the stuff we put in the chorus that nobody fucking noticed. [laughter][9]

Chris Rörland: "(...) One time I had one wine too many after a dinner with the band. In this state I suddenly had something in mind for this song. I couldn't let it go and wanted to get to work on it. At first I was not taken seriously, but soon the rest joined me with their instruments. It was downright comical, I sat with a sort of Michael Jackson intro in my head. When went back to it the next day, it sounded like a perfect hit. Now, don't think that I'm an alcoholic, but I do think that sometimes alcohol can help a little bit. When you're sober, sometimes you're too focused. I do sound like an alcoholic now, don't I? That's not the intention, but for me it's just that I'm more relaxed and can let things flow better when I've had a glass of wine. And yes, of course we have sometimes recorded outright junk under such circumstances. Then the next day you just have fun with it and it's a matter of quickly throwing it away and forgetting about it!" [10]

Joakim Brodén: "A fan came up with the idea to do something with White Friday. This particular Friday in 1916, an army stationed in the Italian Alps was overrun by a snow avalanche. Even before the enemy showed up, there was not not a single living soldier left."[11]

Joakim Brodén: "Pär actually wrote the lyrics. They are about the Italian front and White Friday. We are on top of the Alps, at high altitude, with a ton of equipment and soldiers, and an avalanche happens. People die from many causes in war, not just getting shot. There are still frozen soldiers up there - they're still there. By the way, it's funny because just a few weeks ago, because of the unusual heat and rising temperatures for years, barracks were discovered in the Alps. In town, there will always be a construction project to uncover these remains and remove them. But up there, all those weapons and soldiers are still there, frozen. Not all of them, of course, but there are a few. Pär chose to write the lyrics - which I think are some of his best - from the perspective of a soldier frozen for eternity."[12]

Chris Rörland: (...) I was also very impressed with the story behind "Soldier of Heaven". When Pär first told about it, I immediately hung on his every word. That they were shooting too much in the snowy mountains and caused an avalanche. Nobody survived. The deceased soldiers were found much later and some never found. So it could just happen that corpses still turn up in that area."[13]

Historic fact

High above in the alps close to heaven, in the most extreme circumstances, men fought and protected the borders during WWI. "Soldier of Heaven" tells the story of those brave soldiers who froze to death, whose bodies still remain under the snow… till today.[14]

White Friday occurred during the Italian Front of World War I in 1916, when an avalanche struck Austro-Hungarian barracks on Mount Marmolada, killing 270 soldiers. Other avalanches the same day struck Italian and other Austro-Hungarian positions, killing hundreds. According to some reports both sides deliberately fired shells into the weakened snowpacks in an attempt to bury the other side.

An accurate estimation of the number of casualties from the White Friday avalanches is not available. Historical documents suggest at least 2,000 victims among the soldiers and a few dozens among civilians.

The date 13 December, marked Saint Lucia, a commemorative religious holiday practiced by the majority of Italian Catholics. Though the occurrence of avalanches in the Dolomites Mountains took place on a Wednesday in 1916, the term "White Friday" was used to coin the disastrous day.[15]

Live

  • The song wasn't performed live

Lyrics

I won’t be coming home
I won’t be going anywhere
I will guard this post forever (forever)
Here on the alpine slope where I did my final stand I shall remain
Among the ice and snow that binds me to this mountain

A force of nature too strong, sent from above
Where spirits lead the way, the winds will never fade

White Friday, I’ll take the
Stairway to heaven
I’m sky high, when I die
I’ll be immortal
Forever, I never
I won´t return to
Blood Mountain, I am the
Soldier of heaven

I saw the end of war
I watched the soldiers come and go
And I kept my watch forever
So many brave men fell in the battles that were raging down below
I have seen it all but none will hear my story

All of these years I have been frozen in time
I cried for spring to come but here, winter remain

White Friday, I’ll take the
Stairway to heaven
I’m sky high, when I die
I’ll be immortal
Forever, I never
I won´t return to
Blood Mountain, I am the
Soldier of heaven

I always dreamed that I would, serve high above
Where spirits lead the way, the winds will never fade

White Friday, I’ll take the
Stairway to heaven
I’m sky high, when I die
I’ll be immortal
Forever, I never
I won´t return to
Blood Mountain, I am the
Soldier of heaven

White Friday, I’ll take the
Stairway to heaven
I’m sky high, when I die
I’ll be immortal
Forever, I never
I won´t return to
Blood Mountain, I am the
Soldier of heaven

Official video

SABATON_-_Soldier_Of_Heaven_(Official_Music_Video)

SABATON - Soldier Of Heaven (Official Music Video)

Lyric video

SABATON_-_Soldier_Of_Heaven_(Official_Lyric_Video)

SABATON - Soldier Of Heaven (Official Lyric Video)

References

  1. tuonelamagazine.com
  2. radiometal.com
  3. radiometal.com
  4. Aardshok 3/2022
  5. Sabaton.net
  6. Apple Music
  7. Metal Hammer DE 12/2021
  8. tuonelamagazine.com
  9. tuonelamagazine.com
  10. Aardshok 3/2022
  11. Aardshok 3/2022
  12. radiometal.com
  13. Aardshok 3/2022
  14. Sabaton.net
  15. Wikipedia
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