Heavy Metal Goes to War

My tastes in music, as I’ve mentioned before, are very eclectic. I love Country, but I also enjoy some rock and heavy metal (I’m particularly a fan of Mr. Alice Cooper, but that’s a story for another day).

Sabaton is a Swedish heavy metal group that I particularly enjoy. Their shtick is songs about war and historical battles, which they often describe with surprising feeling and pathos, but I couldn’t detect a hint of the shallow pacifism that often mars modern war stories. Rather, they simply tell the story without regard to politics and their advocacy seems to amount to simply “remember this.”

It’s frankly a higher cause than most rock bands can aspire to, and I salute them.

Here are a few of their songs: first is “The Price of a Mile” about the Battle of Passchendaele, July 31-November 6 1917, which was a suicidal and pathetic attempt by the British army to accomplish something in the bloody stalemate that was the Western Front. Well, they accomplished something alright: they captured the small, meaningless town of Passchendaele (which they lost a few month’s later) and suffered 450,000 casualties (reading The Last Lion, I learned that Winston Churchill begged the army to abandon the scheme and wait for the American troops to arrive before attempting any assault, but, as often happened, he was ignored to Britain’s sorrow).

Next is “40 to 1” about the Battle of Wizna, from September 7th to 10th during the invasion of Poland, in which 720 Polish soldiers faced 42,200 Nazis and held their ground for three days, delaying the German assault and giving other Polish forces time to regroup and escape. The battle was led on the Polish side by Captain Wladyslaw Raginis, who swore that he would hold his position as long as he was alive. He held his position until his men ran out of ammunition, then permitted them to surrender before (already seriously injured) committing suicide with a grenade.

Finally is “In the Name of God,” which is pretty much a broadside “the reason you suck” against contemporary Muslim terrorists. And that’s always a good thing.

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