What Musicians Listen To – Thorbjörn Englund (ex-Sabaton, Thobbe Englund)

Thorbjörn Englund – Thobbe, to the fans from Serbia is best known as a former guitar player for Swedish metal warriors Sabaton with whom he made two albums (“Heroes” and “The Last Stand”). He decided to leave the band in August last year and to dedicate completely to his solo career. Unlike many musicians who tried doing the same but then failed and disappeared from the music scene, Thobbe, on the contrary, still maintains himself on the “surface”. He is fully concentrated on the work with his group with whom he plays a different kind of music than he did with Sabaton, he’s making music videos, composing new songs all the time and this year he even played on a festival held by his former band-mates, Sabaton Open Air in Falun, Sweden. Currently he’s working on a material for his next album and, in his words, last few months were really exhausting for him, but he has no intention of changing that until everything is in its place. However, he does have intention to come to Serbia again, this time with his own band, and until that happens, our readers can get to know which were the albums that influenced Thobbe the most and made him become the musician he is today.

1. Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction (1987)

When I was about 9 years old or so, me and my dad went to the local music store. I had saved up enough to buy a record, and my mission was to lay my hands on something really good. Metal of course. I remember when I saw the cover. How brutal and dangerous it looked. And then (I had just seen the video to “Paradise City” on MTV) when I finally came home and pressed play I was totally hypnotized by the coolest album I had ever heard. Still to this day this album has it all. I really mean that. It has all you’d ever want from a good metal/rock album. Such energy, musicality, anger, sadness, virtuosity… all.

2. Yngwie J. Malmsteen – Rising Force (1984)

When I traded some crappy album with a friend for this, I did NOT know that this album would eventually change my life. Literally. If I wouldn’t have got this album as a kid I would never have approached my guitar and developed the passion I eventually did. I remember so vividly how I used to just float away into the classical landscape Malmsteen painted with his Stratocaster. So honest and such focus it was truly insane. It however took a while for me to understand how to do this with a guitar, and then when I borrowed Malmsteen’s first instructional video I was completely blown away – and that was it. From that moment I knew what to do. This eventually led me to practice eight hours every day, with a 100% discipline with one goal – to become a virtuoso at guitar playing. Eventually my dream came true as I’ve now toured the world over and over – with my truest and best friend. My guitar. And without this album I would not sit here talking to you.

3. Judas Priest – British Steel (1980)

Words cannot describe my feelings for this album. I can never get tired of it. In my early teens I moved into the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) direction, with bands such as Iron Maiden, Saxon and Judas Priest. When I heard this album for the first time I was maybe thirteen, and the album was already at that time somewhat ”old”. But man, songs like ”Grinder”, ”You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise”, ”Metal Gods” etc. etc., just became a huge part of my musical vocabulary as I played it over and over for years. It is something so ancient and energetic in Judas Priest’s music that just gets me every time.

4. Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)

Now, when I first heard this album I had never heard Iron Maiden before. I knew who they were, read about them, but there was something so evil and scary with Eddie on every cover that I thought that this might be a bit over the top for me. Until I went to visit a good friend of mine who’s older brother just brought home the album. I couldn’t believe what I heard. The melodies, the mystique, the concept and, not to mention, the cover art. Everything combined just grabbed me and pulled me into the landscape painted by Derek Riggs. I could study the details of the cover for hours, just dreaming away into the story of the Seventh One. I still know the lyrics by heart, and it is in my opinion the absolute best Iron Maiden album ever. Believe me that when in 2013 we started touring together (when I was in Sabaton) and they performed that album every night, with the stage set in the same design as the cover, it was just magic to see and hear that.

5. Manowar – Kings Of Metal (1988)

Kind of similar to what happened to me as a kid listening to “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” I found myself traveling to the land of dungeons and dragons listening to this album. The might and the power was just mind-blowing and there was this weird ”larger-than-life” feeling to it. Still is. I rarely listen to music these days as I am too busy making my own, and my head and ears are getting tired from all the double kick drums and distorted guitars, but when I do – holy shit, when I put on ”Kings of Metal”, dim the lights, pop a beer and kick back… it’s just pure heavy metal power in all its might. Oh, some fun facts: I actually got to play guitar with Manowar, as early as 19 years old, in my hometown… that was a surreal experience I can tell. Luckily I knew all the songs, so we had a blast. Beer, loud metal and guitars. What more can you wish for? :)

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