Album review: SABATON – The Last Stand

Nuclear Blast [Release date 19.08.16]

Sabaton are a new band to these ears, although I have read about them previously and their stage show which is slightly OTT at times. Their new album focuses as the title suggests on famous last stands in military history be it Rorke’s Drift or the battle of Shiroyama.

Vocalist Joakim Brodénhas a unique style, a mix of musical in that he emphasizes key words in his singing and the power of fellow singers like Jorn Lande and Nils Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors/Civil War). Every good power metal band needs a top draw vocalist and coupled with this the band are no musical slouches, with massive rhythms driving the songs and stunning guitar solos (although the band announced in July that one of the guitarists – Thobbe Englund – was leaving the band).

‘Battle Of Bannockburn’ starts with bagpipes (of the synth version I think) and features an immense Hammond solo midway through before that gives way to a guitar solo. The song has a very commercial sound to it, as does the ‘Winged Hussars’ featuring synths heavily in the sound.

The title track uses the band’s choral backing vocals to good effect and those keys make their presence felt again on ‘The Last Battle’, powering along the melody with the driving bass and drums.

You can easily poke fun at bands like this but they keep in the main to historical facts and despite the gory subject matter at times, they know how to produce magnificent metal melodies.

For collectors other formats include a DVD and a tank, yes that’s right a tank albeit not to scale!

Given the lyrical content it is classic power metal territory and Sabaton have really impressed me with this album. A top draw power metal release and has restored my faith in this genre which was getting overcrowded with average bands and releases. ****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


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