CD review SABATON ‘The Great War’

(8/10) Almost to date three years after having released the successful ‘The Last Stand’-album award-decorated Swedish metal powerhouse Sabaton have a next album in the starting blocks. ‘The Great War’, is the title of Sabaton’s ninth full-length album and the guys pick it up where the left off with the previous longplayer.

This time it’s eleven new ‘battle hymns’ that ended up on the newest record, all having with World War I a common theme that connects the dots. In case you listened already to the two single releases ‘Fields of Verdun’ and ‘The Red Baron’, you know what to expect. Sabaton sticks to their success formula and looking on the previous chart entries there’s no need for adjustment too.

‘The Great War’ delivers to expectation and includes the typical Sabaton trademarks. Next to the lyrical concept around historic wars it’s strong melodies combined with screaming guitars being the key elements of Sabaton’s music. It’s a mission impossible to escape from the catchy melodies with hooklines being an efficient weapon of Sabaton’s sound. Also album number nine is full of keyboard soundscape, creating a solid foundation for guitars and vocals. All pieces together deliver a density of sound that again benefits from a great production with Jonas Kjellgren at the helm.

Fans of melodic metal will like songs like the galloping ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ and the already mentioned title track. ‘The Red Baron’ is another highlight on the album, inspired by Uriah Heep’s ‘Easy Living’. ‘82nd All the Way’ puts vocals and keyboards into focus, being a typical Sabaton smasher and it’s ‘Devil Dogs’ that takes melodies partly a bit far. The uptempo songs is not a bad one, but it’s the middle section that reminds more of a heavier version of German Schlager a la Matthias Reim. Fortunately this part is framed by racing guitars lifting the song to a Metal level.

‘The End of the War to End All Wars’ is the second last chapter of this concept album, starting calm and piano-based before building up to a moderate paced Sabaton epos that leads to ‘In Flanders Fields’. Based on the poem of Canadian lieutenant John McCrae, Sabaton’s setting is done by a choir.These two tracks are a great example for Sabaton’s ability to write great songs, something that too often has to step back for making space for big keyboard sounds. ‘In Flanders Fields’ is the emotional ending of an album that will be a delight for Sabaton fans and some more songs like ‘The End of the War to End All Wars’ wouldn’t be a bad thing for sure.

For the ones of you that also want a bit more context to each of the songs, Sabaton created a ‘History Version’ with a narrative introduction for each of the tunes, a good idea that completes the positive impression of this release.

‘The Great War’ adds a new chapter to Sabaton’s success story and will certainly contribute to the constant rise of the quintet from Falun. The last albums scored great rankings in various charts and it doesn’t need a look into the crystal ball to state, that the newest strike will do the same.


(8/10)

Tracklist:

  1. The Future Of Warfare
  2. Seven Pillars Of Wisdom
  3. 82nd All The Way
  4. The Attack Of The Dead Men
  5. Devil Dogs
  6. The Red Baron
  7. Great War
  8. A Ghost In The Trenches
  9. Fields Of Verdun
  10. The End Of The War To End All Wars
  11. In Flanders Fields

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Melodic Power Metal

Release Date EU: July 19th, 2019

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