Sabaton - The Great War

Key Facts

Country: 🇸🇪
Genre: Power Metal
Release Date: 19th July 2019
Record Label(s): Nuclear Blast

Band Members

Joakim Brodén – lead vocals, keyboards
Pär Sundström – bass, backing vocals 
Chris Rörland – guitars, backing vocals
Hannes van Dahl – drums, backing vocals
Tommy Johansson – guitars, backing vocals 

Sabaton - Fields Of Verdun

Rating (out of 5🤘): 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘
Favourite Track(s): Great War, Seven Pillars Of Wisdom, The Red Baron, The End Of The War To End All Wars, The Attack Of The Dead Men, The Future Of Warfare, 82nd All The Way

Before I start anything, I know Bismarck is a non-album single, but it should definitely have featured on this album in my opinion. It would have fit so well with all the other songs but alas, it is not to be.

Sabaton are back with a triumphantly epic and awesome yet poignant and thoughtful new album that will get you fist pumping the air with great pride as well as making you reflect on the horrors of the Great War (World War One). After three blistering singles; The Fields Of Verdun, The Red Baron and Great War we can finally hear the rest of what can be argued as Sabaton's best album since 2012's Carolus Rex. Despite it's triumphant sound The Great War is definitely a thought provoking album, capped off by a moving choral rendition of In Flanders Fields (infamous war poem written by Canadian war poet Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD, who died of pneumonia on January 28th 1918 while on active duty). There is definitely a lot to digest with this phenomenal album, musically and conceptually, especially because there is also a History Edition and Soundtrack Edition of this album.

Musically, it barrels out the gates in true Sabaton fashion; chunky, galloping rhythmic riffs and soaring synth parts and melodies accompanied by thunderous drums that closely resemble tank fire. There is some very catchy melodies all through the album that are sure to be stuck in your head for weeks, which is great songwriting first and foremost. The fact that these songs are so catchy makes you want to look into the lyrics as well as what they discuss and express because the stories are so well researched. One think that I will always love about Sabaton is the depth that they go to to make sure that their songs are factually correct. This album, lyrically as a whole is marvellously well researched (which I should expect by now as I've been a Sabaton fan for a few years now) which as a history nerd gets me a little bit excited to say the least. Having watched a few videos of these upcoming songs on the Sabaton History Channel on YouTube it just built up my anticipation and expectation for this album and I have not been let down at all. Having listened to the History Edition as well the supporting information on each song truly shifts your initial perception of the songs and that's what I think makes this Sabaton album stand out more than previous records musically and conceptually it is at another level.

The songs that stand out the most conceptually for me are; Seven Pillars Of Wisdom for its telling of the story of T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), it has a catchy melody that involves a few more Phrygian mode style riffs that I really like. The Red Baron, the story of Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (The ace of aces of WW1 fighter pilots), as a Blackadder fan this one will always stick out to me and I'll always have a chuckle because of Ade Edmondson's portrayal of the legendary German pilot. 82nd All The Way, the story of Alvin York who was one of the most decorated US Army soldiers of WW1. The depth of these stories prove that Sabaton have really studied the source material.

From a production standpoint, it is professionalism all the way. I imagine Sabaton's studio budget is fairly sizeable as their past few albums have been mind blowing for me with how precise and well made they are. The Great War is no different, having seen Sabaton live in 2016 its amazing how well these studio productions translate into a live performance as they capture that energy in the production of their albums, in my opinion anyway. The drums really make the album for me, they sound as thunderous as shotguns inside a canyon. Along with the bass it provides a solid rhythm section for the layering of guitar, synth and vocal melodies. One thing that does stand out to me a lot about this album is the closer attention to the more choral style backing vocals, they just make or break some of the songs (make more than break I should clarify) Great War is a prime example of expertly layered and executed choral vocals that add so much to a song, especially with the reverb and panning applied it sounds so much bigger than the probable 30 voices that recorded the vocal lines. Overall, the mix has made this album as much as the songwriting, it makes me go back to the enormity of 2012's Carolus Rex which can only be a good thing.

Overall, this album is an incredibly poignant journey through the Great War. As someone who's had generations before him serve in the British Armed Forces, one dying in Gallipoli in 1915, this album triggers emotions I only usually feel on Remembrance Day when I see the wreath's on the Cenotaph. Sabaton have definitely pushed themselves and delivered an album of such high quality that it will be hard to top. Even if you aren't into power metal, please listen to this album, as the reverberations of this war are still being felt 100 years on. Hopefully I can get tickets to their Wembley show in February next year! Check out The Great War in all its amazing editions now!

Sabaton - The Great War (Standard)


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