Civil War – “Gods And Generals” (Napalm Records)
With no less than four ex members of Sabaton in this veritable super group, it’s little wonder that Civil War adopt a similar style from their name to songs that are named after events, personalities and even instruments associated with war. In early 2012 Daniel Myhrer (keys), Daniel Mullback (drums), Oskar Montelius and Rikard Sundén (guitars) all decided to depart Sabaton in order to spend more time with their families, although quitting music altogether was definitely out of the question! It didn’t take long before they hooked up with Volturyon’s ‘Pizza’ Eriksson on bass and highly respected vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors, Lion’s Share etc). Playing a mixture of metalized rock, Civil War can certainly pound like a barrage although for the most part they stick to catchy, epic material in songs like the thumping ‘Bay Of Pigs’ or the Celtic rock of ‘The Mad Piper’ with its almost punk pop choruses and of course bagpipes, and the emotionally stirring ‘Back To Iwo Jima’. I guess the million dollar question is what, if any, are the differences between Civil War and Sabaton? Well, after listening to the 10 tracks on this sophomore, I’d say that there are strong similarities in the singalong choruses, keyboard melodies and swashbuckling guitars, more reminiscent here of Accept’s deeper guitar melodies in their more dah, dah, dah moods. Overall, however, Civil War are more mellower and less nationalistic at least in their lyrics but the key differential has to be Johansson’s striking vocals, being a higher and screamier cross of Dio and Biff, which definitely set them apart from Joakim Brodén’s deeper tones. Following the release of their successful debut in 2013, Civil War have continued to pull crowds both from Sabaton’s sword wielding masses and more classic Heavy Metal fans, testament to themselves as a band in their own right, and also able to take history and make their own destinies from it!