A worthy and enjoyable experience and one that will put a huge smile on the face of Sabaton fans around the world.
It's hard to believe that just four years ago everything was in the balance for Swedish war-fixated Power Metal outfit Sabaton. Not many bands survive a split that leaves fewer band members left in the line-up than the number who just departed. However, the sight and sounds contained on the 2DVD/CD pack 'Heroes On Tour', where the current line-up are worshipped as the headliners of last year's ginormous Wacken Festival, prove it can be done. Yet, that's not all you'll find here, the second DVD featuring the band's headline performance at their very own Sabaton Open Air Festival. The two sets cover similar ground, both coming from the band's ongoing 'Heroes' tour, but there are enough deviations between them to make comparisons interesting but not the main sport. A short skit opens the Wacken disc, band members "hastily gathered" at the last minute as they've apparently forgotten they were headlining Europe's biggest Metal Fest. Thankfully the songs themselves aren't quite so throwaway; 'No Bullets Fly', 'Gott Mit Uns' and 'Metal Crue', the high energy thumps of Euro-Metal that this band specialise in.
In comparison against some of the uber-slick in concert releases these days, the picture quality on this disc sits somewhere around "okay", while the super quick shot to shot direction initially leaves you struggling to take in what's going on. Something not helped by the show starting in daylight, meaning a lot of the long shots from the back of the arena leave the band barely visible. As night closes in, so does the atmosphere and performance, which includes mucho-pyro and two massive full size tanks. The entertainment levels remain remarkably high, even if the scripted on-stage "humour" misses the mark on almost every occasion.
Oddly the crowd at the band's own festival seem less enthusiastic than the pumped up, Sabaton costume wearing Germans, although the band seem not to care one jot, every song delivered with the same unmistakable belief and pomp their very manly Metal demands. Of the two, Wacken comes across as the most enjoyable by quite some distance, although had the Sabaton Open Air show been the main event, I doubt I'd be complaining.
Extras show up in the shape of a trailer about Sabaton's brand of beer (it's only a matter of time before we get a Heavy Metal sherry at this rate), which is a watch once experience, while two tracks, 'The Art Of War' and 'The Final Solution' with the Bohemian Symphony Orchestra Prague, do add value. The audio disc (which wasn't included in the promo-pack) offers up a straight audio version of the Wacken performance.
Even as a committed Sabaton fan, I have to admit that some of 'Heroes On Tour' is a little underwhelming and while it is thoroughly enjoyable, it isn't one of those DVDs where you can suggest it's a good substitute for seeing the band in the flesh. That doesn't stop it from being a worthy and enjoyable experience and one that will put a huge smile on the face of Sabaton fans around the world, even if it isn't quite as heroic as hoped.