Sabaton’s “The Royal Guard” Lyrics Meaning

As we have pointed out in the past, heavy metals bands from certain parts of Europe tend to have more creative leeway than their US counterparts. And one of the best examples of such would be Sweden’s Sabaton. For instance, it is rare, if ever, that you hear of a major American act dropping a song of historical significance. But such is the case with “The Royal Guard”.

The titular entity is actually a special division of the Swedish armed forced who are tasked with protecting that nation’s royal family. According to Wikipedia they have been extant since 1523. But Sabaton, apparently more informed on the subject, asserts that the Royal Guard has actually been around since 1521

Thus the year in which this track was released marks the 500th year of their existence. This makes them, once again according to the band, “one of the oldest military regiments in the world”. 

Pär Sundström talks about "The Royal Guard"

So basically, this song serves as a roundabout way for Sabaton to big up their homeland, which has a special emphasis on the Royal Guard, or Life Guard as they are sometimes referred to.

A Synopsis of the History of the Royal Guard

We can safely say that this song is meant to read as a synopsis of Royal Guard history. Thus the song commences by highlighting that this unit came from “the frozen north” and fought on behalf of the “founding father”. The said founding father would actually be Gustav I of Sweden(1496-1560), a king of Sweden. 

And it is also revealed a bit later on that the crew were only “16 strong”, i.e. numbering in less than 20, when they came together. To this day the Royal Guard is still a relatively-small unit, consisting of about 60 soldiers in total. But the point would be something like despite their lack in numbers, they are devoutly dedicated to protecting the Swedish royals.

In fact by the end of the day, this song isn’t so much historical as it is centered on the idea of the Royal Guard unwaveringly remaining by the King of Sweden’s side. Indeed “wherever he goes” in the world, “they are close” to him. And if a major threat materializes, they are willing to “lay down their lives” in protecting their leader. 

And “if one shall fall”, as in for whatever reason is no longer to perform his duties, then “yet another heeds the call”. This basically means that there are always future Royal Guards on standby. Moreover, as asserted earlier, they’ve been defending the King and “the fatherland” in general for a good “500 years” now. So it’s like you can’t really get much more loyal than that.

Who or What is “Narva”?

And as far as historical references go, Sabaton does mention a “crushing blow at Narva”. Narva is an area found in Estonia, the nation just east of northern Sweden (across the Baltic Sea). 

And the abovementioned is most likely a reference to the Battle of Narva, an event which transpired in early 18th century where the Swedish Empire was put down by Russian forces for good. In fact in his aforementioned explanation of this song, Pär Sundström lamented the fact that the Swedish Empire was more or less eradicated “300 years ago”.

But recounting its defeat in such a manner doesn’t necessarily mean that Sabaton are imperialists. Rather it’s more like they’re harping back to the glory days of their homeland. For it is also via days of old that the Royal Guard, the living embodiment of selfless dedication to Sweden, originated from. 

So if nothing else, we can conclude by saying that Sabaton has a lot of love and respect for their father fatherland. And they express these sentiments through their idolization of the Royal Guard.

Sabaton

Sabaton is a rock band which originated in Falun, a city in Sweden. As implied above, they regularly drop singles such as this one which are of a major historical significance. 

They have been around since 1999, with lead singer Joakim Brodén and bassist Pär Sundström still being down with the crew as of the release of this track. And other concurrent bad members are guitarists Tommy Johansson and Chris Rörland, as well as drummer Hannes Van Dahl.

The Royal Guard
Cover art for “The Royal Guard”

Some Interesting Facts about “The Royal Guard”

This song was composed by Joakim Brodén and Chris Rörland. And the label that put it out is heavy metal powerhouse Nuclear Blast.

This track was originally released in Sabaton’s native language in February of 2021. It was initially released under the name “Livgardet”. The said Swedish term actually translates to “The Life Guards”.

The first time the track is on record as being teased was during late-December 2020. The English-language version of the song, under the name “The Royal Guard”, was issued as a standalone single on 9 April 2021. 

Joakim Brodén's explanation of "The Royal Guard"

And just to note, the English rendition still features some Swedish phrases. Owing to that, this song is actually bilingual, though not heavily so.

Sabaton came out with a special limited-vinyl edition of this track which features actual gunpowder embedded in the physical record.

In promoting this song (i.e. on its music video), Sabaton dressed in what is apparently old-school Royal Guard gear. Moreover they actually liaised with the Royal Guard in terms of “doing something together” to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the unit.

Pär Sundström explains "The Royal Guard"

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