Josh Rundquist of That Drummer Guy recently conducted an interview with frontman Joakim Brodén of Swedish metallers SABATON. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band's forthcoming "The Great War" studio album:
Joakim: "We just want to do our best. It's getting harder and harder, actually, because every time we go into the songwriting process, you have a big ghost behind you. Even when you write a song or an album, you're comparing to not only one other album or one other song, but a 'best-of' consisting of everything else you have done in your career. It doesn't help when you're writing songs, but on the other hand, it can force you out of your comfort zone, in a way. There's a bit more surprises on this SABATON than the last two, I would say."
On whether it's a "relief" to have "The Great War" coming out this summer:
Joakim: "If you asked me, I would have wanted to release it in mid-February. We were done mixing it. [Laughs] I don't like this waiting period. I mean, I understand it. I'm totally onboard with it, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. I think in these days, for fuck's sake, the music industry has to get with the fucking program. Technically, we could release an album 48 fucking hours after we've written it. Now, maybe not 48, but one week, or at least, whatever time Spotify or Apple Music or whatever has to upload it. It's weird. I want it out there already. It's the same thing. I understand. I'm really conscious about security. I don't let anyone else have the album. I don't give it out to friends, even. But, hell, I'll let anyone listen. I'll let fans listen to it. They run into me, 'I'm looking for the album.' 'Okay, cool. You want to hear it? 'What?!?' 'Sure, pick a number between one and ten and I'll play you that song.' Stuff like that. It's fun to see the reactions."
On SABATON's creativity being as "strong as ever" on "The Great War":
Joakim: "We gave it everything we fucking had and probably a little bit more, to be fair, as we always do. Sometimes we do it well, sometimes not so well, but for us, at least, I can live with us. I couldn't live with a shitty album; I couldn't do that. I could live with a less-good album as long as I know that everyone who was involved with the writing and with the recording, with the mixing, as long as everybody did their best and we tried our fucking hardest. Sure, we're human. Not maybe every album we do is going to be the best in everyone else's ears because people like different things. But at least we got to do it as fucking good as we can. We owe that to ourselves and our fans. I couldn't live with myself half-assing an album because that shit is going to be out there forever."
On whether "The Great War" is the appropriate representation of SABATON circa 2019:
Joakim: "We started the recording on the 11th of November, 2018. So, a hundred years after World War I ended. Sometimes you're lucky with timing, so we thought, 'Yeah, we've got to start recording then if we had the chance.' I guess it's pretty representative of where we are right now. It's because that's where we are right now and who we are as people, where we are as songwriters. I don't mind bands taking risks myself either. Sometimes it turns out good, sometimes for the worse. We usually have one or two songs on every album that are 'experiments' in a way, unusual for SABATON. It's usually one of them becomes really popular and one of them becomes really un-popular. The problem is, if it's something different and it's not popular, people are hating that you are experimenting. On the other hand, if something was really popular, 'Oh, man. That song was amazing!' As soon as you even go close to doing something in that vein — it doesn't have to be a copy or similar, or even if you get close to that territory, people are going to complain because you are making a copy of what you've done before. So, it's a bit of a lose-lose situation for a composer. [Laughs]"
On maintaining SABATON's core sound while trying new things:
Joakim: "I agree with you, but here's the thing: That core sound, that core sound is very different for everybody. Some people discovered us with 'Primo Victoria' , some people came a little later with 'The Art Of War' , or 'Heroes'  or 'The Last Stand'  so everybody has a different opinion on the SABATON core sound. Everybody likes the album or the era when they discovered the band in general. It doesn't matter; it's not just SABATON. If you liked 'Kill 'Em All' or 'Ride The Lightning' by METALLICA, you're not going to like 'Load' or 'Reload'."
"The Great War" is due July 19 via Nuclear Blast Records. SABATON took three months of intensive work to complete the album with longtime producer and collaborator Jonas Kjellgren at Black Lounge studios. The disc was mastered by Maor Appelbaum and the artwork was once again created by Peter Sallaí.