Swedish metal outfit SABATON welcomes back guitarist Thobbe Englund, a development that follows closely after Tommy Johansson’s recent departure announcement
Englund initially joined SABATON in April 2012 and departed on good terms in July 2016, seeking to prioritize his personal life and explore new creative avenues. Now, eight years later, he returns to the fold, eager to once again grace the global stage.
During his tenure, Englund contributed to two studio albums, “Heroes” (2014) and “The Last Stand” (2016), and played a role in crafting fan-favorite tracks like “Shiroyama” and “Fields Of Verdun.”
On his return, which is effective immediately, Englund says: “Words can’t express how ready and how excited I am to jump back into SABATON. It feels like I was on a short holiday. The time is right, love is in the air and the best is yet to come!”
Bassist and band manager Pär Sundström comments: “This is a full-circle moment for SABATON and we are beyond excited to have Thobbe rejoin the band. He’s a talented guitarist, songwriter and a kind guy who we have a lot of fun with. We didn’t even need to hold auditions with other guitar players. All that was needed was to spend New Year’s Eve together to know that the time was right for Thobbe‘s return.”
Frontman Joakim Brodén states: “This decision was a no-brainer for us as a band and for Thobbe. He knows the drill and is the perfect fit. This is a great outcome, and we think everyone is going to be psyched about the news! The time is right. Welcome back, brother!”
Meanwhile, SABATON drummer Hannes Van Dahl adds: “Who? Thobbe f***ng Englund, that’s who! The man is back! I’m happy to once again share the stage with one of my best friends! Welcome back, brother!”
And finally, fellow SABATON guitarist Chris Rörland says: “I’m beyond excited and happy for the return of the king! We’ve had so many good times together, both on stage and off stage. It’s gonna be great to share the stage again. Welcome back and welcome home my brother! Love ya!”
When Johansson announced his exit from SABATON back on January 20, the band said in a statement: “After 7 amazing years in the band, our guitarist, Tommy, has decided to leave SABATON to pursue his own path. We wish him nothing but the best on his journey. We have been a close family and we will continue to support him in the adventures that await him in the future.
“Tommy joined the band in 2016 but he has been a close friend of SABATON ever since our first meeting at the end of a concert in 2005. As a valued member of the band, he has contributed to countless immortal memories.
“Tommy‘s departure from SABATON will not be effective immediately. He will stay on to ensure that all goes smoothly with the handover to our next guitarist.
“While a small part of his large heart will always remain within SABATON, we all know that he must follow his dreams.
“Even though we will not wake up daily in the tour bus next to him, we are sure that our paths will cross again many times in the future, both on and off the stage.
“Fly on your wings and strings brother!”
Tommy added in a separate statement: My dear friends! After 7 glorious years of Heavy Metal, I have decided to step down as the guitarist of SABATON.
“This has been the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my entire life.
“As many of you may know, I do a lot of things outside of SABATON. I play with another band, perform with various artists, and have a career as a singer that I’ve put aside for years to focus on SABATON. After doing this for seven years, I feel it’s time to start following my heart. This means I will no longer tour with my brothers in SABATON and will not meet all you lovely SABATON supporters on the upcoming tours with the band.
“I will never quit playing music. I’ll still be touring with MAJESTICA and other projects, but not on the same level as SABATON of course. I am sure I will meet you lovely fans on the road again in the future.
“My brothers in SABATON and the best crew in the world will forever be my second family and I will miss spending time with all these wonderful people. We had so much fun together every day. I’ve come to learn so much about life, about music and about touring that I wouldn’t have learned anywhere else.
“A massive thank you to all you lovely SABATON fans for accepting me as the new guitarist in 2016. I am certain you will accept the person who takes over after me.
“All the best to you all and I’ll see you again soon!”
SABATON is currently gearing up for a 19-date U.S. tour alongside metal icons JUDAS PRIEST, set to commence on April 18 in Wallingford, Connecticut, and conclude on May 22 in Syracuse, New York. Additionally, the band is hard at work in the studio, crafting their highly anticipated 11th studio album.
Meanwhile, Tommy Johansson, known for his tenure with SABATON and his previous band REINXEED, saw his creative endeavors temporarily slowed by his touring commitments with SABATON. However, in 2019, Johansson resurfaced with a new project, MAJESTICA, releasing the album “Above The Sky” under this new moniker. This venture saw Johansson take on vocal duties, a skill he previously showcased during his stint as TWILIGHT FORCE‘s interim lead singer in 2017.
SABATON‘s upcoming album, serving as a follow-up to 2022’s “The War To End All Wars,” is tentatively slated for release later this year via Nuclear Blast Records.