Sabaton – The Great War

So here it is people. The long awaited, tenth studioalbum from Sabaton. I do realize my review is way overdue, but better late than never right?

So, on November 11th, exactly 100 years after World War I broke out, they started the songwriting process and no less, the subject of the album is selfexplanatory – World War I. The Great War, a war so grime that it was said to end all wars. Previously in the library, Sabaton hasn’t touched this subject all too much, making it very interesting, to say the least.

So lets move on to the album?

The album opens up with a lowkey kind of intro, with distant bombs and other mechanical songs before exploding in an epic chant which sets off the album with a melody line and arrangements which brings the thoughts back to “Stalingrad” off “Primo Victoria”, dealing with the subject of the future of warfare. And with that, you can say the mood for the album had been set. If it had only stayed that way.

Already in the next song the mood is picked up with “Seven Pillars of Widsom” which carries a lot of resemblance to “White Death” off “Coat of Arms”. The song is a nice addition though, and if we weren’t getting the mood up here, it sure will bring us up in the next song, as we continue on these anthem-like songs in “82nd All The Way” which, just like the previous one, carries a resemblance, but this one to “Shiroyama” off the last album. However, I really like this one.  An incredible anthem to pay tribute to Sgt. Alvin York and what he achieved during the war.

In the next moment, we are taking a step or three down from the anthem’s, and are instead greeted with an unsettling intro of gas before being launched into a marching rhythm with accessories setting a certain mood to it. As the verse starts, I’m delighted to hear that this is actually something relatively new for being Sabaton. And I really like what I hear.

However, this break didn’t stay long until the album headed for another anthem, that is walking in some more traces of times passed. “Devil Dogs”, about the US Marines gives us an extremely powerful and cheerful anthem, bringing the thoughts slightly back to “Smoking Snakes”, but still enjoyable.

And then.. it arrives. The eerie, circus and carnival-like intro which its funny melody, giving you a funny feeling inside before setting off in a hysteric song that chugs on and on, still with the eerie organ in the background – making this song one of the top of the album. While still nodding back, still something new – like “Blood of Bannockburn” was on the preeceeder. While it may not be the most technical or difficult, this is also the guitarsolo I enjoy the most. This song as a whole – is just so god damn great.

Speaking of great, the great anthem of this album is just around the corner. The Titletrack is, not to my surprise, is a large and epic anthem, just like on many of the albums before this – and this has very quickly made its way to my personal favorite. With the quiet first verse, epic and bombastic choruses, the aggressive second verse and almost hopeful bridge, this song is the shit. And the lyrics, talking about the lyrics. This is some of the best lyrics I’ve seen from the band. While the lyrics of “Red Baron” has its charms and twists, it doesn’t come near this soldier perspective song dealing with the duality of feelings about the conflict as a whole. Yes. YES.

Two filler songs come after this – and I do want to give “A Ghost In the Trenches” A little heads up for that ending – that was real good.

Upon my first hearing of this album I hadn’t done a song count, so when this low, slow musical intro started, I assumed in my head that this was “In Flanders Fields”, and I started to slowly drift of to the serene tunes… as the song then went completely bonkers. “The End of the War to End All Wars”, starts off nicely and then launches into attack mode. I guess a bit like war. The song itself talks about the war that was supposed to be the end of all wars, and this song is an emotional rollercoaster. The verses are uneasy and hysteric, and the choruses are beautiful, epic and heartbreaking.

“In Flanders Fields” is the perfect ending to this album, mesmerizing arrangement and I’ve found myself putting this on repeat. Is there some hypnosis in this? Who knows.

So.. That’s a walkthrough. What are my feelings about the album then?

In general I think this is a pretty good album. While it may contain a little too many nod-backs that I can’t completely ignore, the gems of the album – “Red Baron” for instance – makes completely up for it. Overall, it’s a slick production that holds water, no matter what.

Favorite song: “The Great War”, followed tight by “Red Baron”. But please ask me again in six months.
Least Favorite: “Fields of Verdun”
Dance-friendliness:  4/11
Headbang-friendliness:  8/ 11
Crowd-friendliness: 7/11

// Sara

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