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A Lesson In History - 90%

diogoferreira, May 12th, 2015

Featuring the guys who left Sabaton in 2012, Civil War went through a testing period in that same year just to release the well-received debut “The Killer Angels” in 2013. Now, and signed with Napalm Records, these Swedes are back with the almighty “Gods And Generals”.

Besides the several sounds produced by the keyboards, there are orchestrations, like in the beginning of the opening track “War Of The World”, that are delivered in a most epic and warlike taste which put us in devastating battles. In addition, as predicted, those soundscapes are magnificently cinematographic ones. Having in count the musicians’ background and concept, the epic taste is transposed into heavy metal with well-composed guitar solos that are alternated with the keyboards giving to the tracks a wider and melodic scale.

Generally, what’s mainly kept in our minds are the choruses, but Civil War are able to extend that little area of execution into the stanzas headed by the frontman Nils Patrik Johansson. The band’s greatest goal is precisely about the catchy capability that rises its sound as well as the very energetic choirs – the launching of the video for the track “Bay Of Pigs” already predicted that and the complete album didn’t disappoint. Even at home, I can imagine metalheads singing and raising their fists. Still about Nils, he has a very characteristic voice that can go from hoarser movements to high-pitched values connoted to power/heavy metal.

You just need to read the songs’ titles to immediately realize that each track is a lesson in History. If in “Braveheart” they tell us about William Wallace’s fate (a worldwide known fact), in “The Mad Piper” they tell us something more regional – the story of Bill Millin, the Scottish soldier who played his bagpipes whilst he and his comrades were under heavy fire during the Normandy landings on June 6th, 1944. This is a very emotional song due to the implementation of bagpipes supported by militarist percussion that mirrors the strength of the Northern Folks as well as it’s able to mentally put us in one of the most important moments in the XX Century. In other occasions, we can go to Iwo Jima and get back to the Nazi Germany to sing about Schindler in a highly sentimental song comprising a pace that invokes some sort of homage and respect.

Civil War’s power metal isn’t that orthodox one full of speed and questionable heaviness. The collective’s power metal is a lot of times comprised by a mid-tempo pace including dense musical compositions that even create some atmosphere. Still, “USS Monitor” is an exception since it’s quite fast recalling Sabaton (for instance in the “The Art Of War” time) – nevertheless, it’s something that the band has tried to keep the distance. However, there’s also room for a more melancholic track – but always with a warlike touch – in “Tears From The North”, being perhaps the album’s ballad.

This new “Gods And Generals” is an astonishing album that will please not only the heavy metal enthusiasts, but also those who are extremer (at least, I hope). The songs included in the album are one of the most catchy ones I’ve listened to in a recent past, the lyrical concept is very interesting and the musicians have reached their own way of doing (good) music.

Originally written at www.againstmagazine.com