Swedes Sabaton have made music written around various conflicts and wars their stock in power metal trade since their first release Primo Victoria in 2005. This year sees them celebrate 20 years as a group, and what better way to celebrate than to tackle a concept album surrounding the First World War?
The band’s bombastic musical approach is immediately apparent as the opening tracks blast forth with all the usual fare, heavy keyboard symphonics and vocalist Joakim Brodén’s heavy baritone vocals. The first real change of tack comes in the form of ‘The Attack of the Dead Men’ where the pace picks up to a gallop, but with a folk like chorus section that fits in unbelievably well.
‘The Red Baron’ is another album pick, Sabaton gallop like the NWOBHM bands before them, attacking the subject matter in a manner most fitting as it barrels forward in its aggression. The quality dips here and there, but The Great War is never unlistenable, mainly due to the fact that no song outstays its welcome, with a lean run time of 38 minutes.
The most moving part comes with the a capella choir rendition of ‘In Flanders Fields’, haunting in its delivery, and an inspired end to an album that spent most of its time revelling in heroes and war. This is the most human reminder that although there may be glory on the battlefield, there is always heartache in the end.
If you are a fan of this band you will no doubt enjoy what the band has assembled here; if you have never paid them any attention, now is as good a time as any to get involved with their musical history lessons. And for those of you who rolls their eyes at the mere mention of power metal, there is nothing here for you.
- The Future of Warfare
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom
- 82nd All The Way
- The Attack of the Dead Men
- Devil Dogs
- The Red Baron
- Great War
- A Ghost in the Trenches
- Fields Of Verdun
- The End of the War to End All Wars
- In Flanders Fields