Album review: SABATON – The Great War

Nuclear Blast [Release date 19.07.19]

With the recent commemorations taking place to mark 100 years passing since the First World War it is the perfect time for Sabaton to tackle the war to end all wars. They have touched on the subject on various tracks previously but this album sets out to immerse the listener in the horrors of the bloody conflict.

Over the course of the 11 tracks on offer the band tell the tales of various aspects of the war in their time honoured battle metal fashion. There are two versions of the album you can buy, the straight forward, music only one or the ‘History Version’ which has a spoken intro to each track. I found the latter added to the atmosphere of the album and provided a bit of background to each track, if not a lot of history to be fair.

We are here for the music though and Sabaton have released another cracker. Big riffs and bombastic drumming are the order of the day with excellent harmonies throughout. ‘The Future Of Warfare’ kicks things off in fine style looking at the advancement in technology and arms that the conflict brought about, not your everyday lyrical subject!

‘The Seven Pillars Of Wisdom’ looks at Lawrence Of Arabia’s efforts in the deserts and provides us with stunning guitar work from Chris Rorland and Tommy Johansson. ‘82nd All The Way’ commemorates the American involvement whilst ‘Attack Of The Dead Men’ looks at the fierce defence by the Russians of Osowiec Fortress in 1915, great music and a history lesson all rolled into one.

The vocal delivery of Joakim Broden is spot on with his soaring voice cutting through the guitar onslaught like a machine gun barrage. ‘Devil Dogs’ is driven on by the excellent drumming of Hannes Van Dahl before the ‘Red Baron’ takes to the skies for one last dog fight.

The majestic ‘Great War’ looks at the Battle of Passchendaele and questions the futility and cost of the global conflict, the war to end all wars. ‘Ghost In The Trenches’ then looks at the view through the snipers sight.

 We then visit the muddy ‘Fields Of Verdun’ to reflect on one of the bloodiest battles of the war before ‘The War To End All Wars’ laments the fact that few lessons were learned and war still rages on around the world. This song is a full on classic complete with choral backing and a huge sound. The album is then rounded off on a reflective note with a simple choral version of ‘In Flanders Fields’ which is a perfect and fitting ending.

Sabaton have released another top album and have succeeded in their aim of commemorating the fallen of WW1. We shall remember them…

****

Review by Dave Wilson.


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