Music: Sabaton: The Last Stand: The Last Stand

Music: Sabaton: The Last Stand: The Last Stand

One of my favorite bands is the “power metal” band Sabaton, who theme most of their albums around war and warfare. The most recent album, The Last Stand, features desperate last stands. Some were indeed “last” – as in the stand of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, some were “merely” desperate.

History

This song, the title track for the album, concerns itself with the last stand of the papal Swiss guard in 1527, when the Duke of Bourbon attacked Rome in search of loot to distract mutinous troops who had not been paid.

As a result of his troops’ attitudes, Bourbon decided to attack Rome, known to be filled with potential loot.[2] The city, considered to be the inviolable capital of Christendom,[2] was left almost defenseless, and, when the Pope anxiously ordered the citizens to take up arms, only 500 obeyed. Bourbon’s troops quickly overwhelmed the defenders and began to plunder the ancient city. Near St. Peter’s Basilica, the Swiss Guard, as the Pope’s elite bodyguard unit, deployed. The captain, Kaspar Röist, intended to hold off the attackers long enough for Clement to escape across the Passetto di Borgo.

Joined by remnants of the Roman garrison, the Swiss made their stand in a cemetery well within the Vatican. Captain Röist was wounded and then killed by Spanish mercenaries, in full view of his wife.[3] The Swiss fought bitterly, but were heavily outnumbered and almost annihilated. Some survivors, accompanied by a band of refugees, retreated to the Basilica steps. Those who fled toward the Basilica were massacred, and just above forty survived. This group of forty, under the command of Hercules Goldli, managed to stave off the Habsburg troops pursuing the Pope’s entourage as it made its way across the Passetto to the Castel Sant’Angelo.[3]

The Song

The song itself slows down again from the headlong rush of “Rorke’s Drift” to a steady, driving, powerful march, with the song introduced by ringing bells.
Leaving aside how rare it is in popular culture to praise or glorify men standing up and fighting – something metal hardly lacks in (see, for example, Five Finger Death Punch), and something that Sabaton explicitly has made a career of with their war and hero themed music – it is fairly rare in metal, given the number of northern European bands, to be positive towards Christianity. This song is an utterly unironic anthem to men who stood their ground in the name of God.
In the heart of holy see In the home of Christianity The seat of power is in danger There's a foe of a thousand swords They've been abandoned by their lords Their fall from grace will pave their path, to damnation Then the 189 In the service of heaven They're protecting the holy line It was 1527 Gave their lives on the steps to heaven Thy will be done! For the grace, for the might of our lord For the home of the holy For the faith, for the way of the sword Gave their lives so boldly For the grace, for the might of our lord In the name of his glory For the faith, for the way of the sword Come and tell their story again Under guard of 42 Along a secret avenue Castle saint Angelo is waiting They're the guard of the holy see They're the guards of Christianity Their path to history is paved with salvation Then the 189 In the service of heaven They're protecting the holy line It was 1527 Gave their lives on the steps to heaven Thy will be done! For the grace, for the might of our lord For the home of the holy For the faith, for the way of the sword Gave their lives so boldly For the grace, for the might of our lord In the name of his glory For the faith, for the way of the sword Come and tell their story again Dying for salvation with dedication No capitulation, annihilation Papal commendation, reincarnation Heaven is your destination Dying for salvation with dedication No capitulation, annihilation Papal commendation, reincarnation Heaven is your destination In the name of god For the grace, for the might of our lord For the home of the holy For the faith, for the way of the sword Gave their lives so boldly For the grace, for the might of our lord In the name of his glory For the faith, for the way of the sword Come and tell their story Gave their lives so boldly Come and tell the Swiss Guards' story again
Also, I had been told that for “The Lost Battalion”, the drum sounds were actually created from sampled gunfire. Here’s the interview I since found discussing that:

About Last Redoubt

Ex nuke mechanic, jack of all trades.