Sabaton – “The Great War” (Nuclear Blast)
Battle Helm Rating
Commanding headline shows at the largest European festivals, such as Polish Woodstock in front of half a million people along with high profile tours in Australia, Asia and both American continents, the Sabaton army seems undefeatable. Indeed, with 20 years under their (bullet) belts, these Swedes are even more popular than before, ably stepping into Manowar’s headlining slot at this year’s Hellfest following a tremendous performance the day before at Knotfest! With this huge milestone in mind, what better way than to base their 9th release on World War I, remembered by many even today as The Great War. Lasting only 4 years, but costing almost 40 million lives, it was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but instead heralded a new era in brutality and modern weapons including poison gas. Through their ultra catchy epic metal, Sabaton have risen once again over the parapet to tell the tale gloriously, not in basking in the savagery of war, but instead of noble, heroic sacrifices made by all sides as captured passionately on the 11 tracks here. From ‘Seven Pillars Of Wisdom’ with its twin melodic guitars leading the stirring charge, Joakim Brodén’s chest beating vocals gallop in the singalong chorus lines of ‘..as the darkness falls, and Arabia calls..’ – and your heart is instantly captured! Based on the Battle of Belleau Wood, ‘Devil Dogs’ crashes in with thundering drums, epic choruses, neo classical solos and massive melodies to match the intensity of the fighting that would earn the US Marines their infamous name ‘Teufel Hunden’, not forgetting General Pershing’s legendary quote ‘..the deadliest weapon in the world is a United States Marine and his rifle..’ that Brodén and the boys have skilfully woven into the lyrics. Featuring gargantuan choirs, ‘Great War’ is as hugely stirring as its title suggests through its hook laden melodic riffs and in no small part, Brodén’s heartfelt vocals, exuding soul along with high speed guitar solos truly reflecting the epic mastery of this gold and platinum earning band. “The Great War” is another complete victory for Sabaton, who don’t just sing about history, but are making their own mark on it.