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“This has been the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life”: Guitarist Tommy Johansson leaves Sabaton

Johansson will stay on temporarily to ensure smooth handover to the band’s new guitarist, who at this time is unconfirmed.

Tommy Johansson performing live

Credit: Pedro Becerra/Redferns

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Swedish power metal outfit Sabaton have announced their split with longtime guitarist Tommy Johansson in a new social media post.

In what looks to be an amicable decision, the band write: “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.”

They add that Johansson has been a member of the band since 2016, and has been a “close friend of Sabaton ever since our first meeting at the end of a concert in 2005. They add that he has contributed to “countless immortal memories”.

As the band explain, Johansson’s departure will not be effective immediately, and he’ll stay on to ensure “all goes smoothly” regarding the transition and handover to their next guitarist.

“While a small part of his large heart will always remain within Sabaton, we all know that he must follow his dreams,” the statement continues. “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!”

In a statement of his own, Johansson writes: “After seven 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 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…

“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.”

The remaining members of Sabaton include frontman Joakim Brodén, bassist Pär Sundström, guitarist Chris Rörland and drummer Hannes Van Dahl.

Sabaton are known for their unique approach to songwriting, taking historical events – most often related to conflict – and pairing them with distorted guitars and a triumphant power metal style.

To date, the band have released 10 studio albums, two of which – The Great War (2019) and The War to End All Wars (2022) – feature Tommy Johansson.

Sabaton will play a small series of dates in the US in April. For tickets, head to their official website.

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