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Nice way of studying for History exams - 76%

Andreas_Hansen, April 15th, 2018

Here is our third History lesson with the members of Civil War. Already tired by the two first chapters? This one is better than the previous ones though because it is fuller and more fleshed out, where the band will teach you History with even more passion and determination than ever. So, today's lesson will be about epic battles, slavery, Far West, settling of scores in New York - and obviously, Civil War.

More than one year after "Gods and Generals", Civil War released their third album, "The Last Full Measure", deeply rooted in the veins of the previous one. Musically speaking, the band follows the same pattern as popular power metal bands like Powerwolf or Sabaton: they're doing the same thing for years, with the risk of boring the fans. But there, Civil War is doing it rightfully! They keep on putting energy and interesting riffs into their music without passing by the commercial ease of having only a few melodic heavy metal riffs that they would loop to make a whole song. And as long as the band keeps our interest in making music while broaching different aspects of the power metal genre, always testing something new, talking endlessly about the same subject is fine for me.

If this album is the best of the three, that's mostly because it is the most accomplished. "The Killer Angels" was good but the cheap production ruined a bit the pleasure we had to listen to it, while "Gods and General" was maybe a bit repetitive. It was clear that the band was lacking something. And they found that "something" with this new disc: epic influences! Though the two first albums were more in the vein of something with a very big traditional heavy metal influence, this one tends to reach more the power metal aspect with catchy melodies and beautiful chorus - especially since the powerful voice of Patrick Nils Johansson was fully able to do so.

They don't waste any time with this new epic aspect since opener "Road to Victory" is probably the most epic and powerful song they've ever made. This song is exceptionally dynamic, paced by a heavy drumming, flooded with epic and glorious lyrics, and a beautiful chorus that only make us join the army and risk our lives in battle (there is no law!).

The rest of the album is less striking but not completely out of interest. Actually, since they put a very dynamic and epic song as an opener before coming back to more "classic" and "regular" song, it instantly tastes more neutral, like if you were drinking water after having drunk several sugar-tasted sodas.

"Deliverance" follows the opener and keeps this so-striking melodic aspect while broaching another atmosphere. "Gladiator" mostly does the same as well, this time in a more negative or obscure mood, with more effects on the guitars. Having a song placed at this particular moment of the album is a quite good idea since it breaks the slow pace imposed by the three previous songs, "America", "A Tale That Should Not Be Told" and "Gangs of New York" in which we deal more with something heavier with prog influences.

The epitome of epicness comes at half of the album, at the fourth song "Tombstone". This song, the best, in my opinion, is split in two specific part: on one side we have the verses, a short country-like acoustic, and the chorus, way heavier, speeder and extremely epic. We find again the same ideas evoked in "Road to Victory" but in a more violent way with a higher tempo. And so, the song alternates between these two completely different parts until the end. However, the band manages to make a suitable transition between each part that gives to the song a certain cohesion.

The only problem with this album would be its power curve, as it plunges as fast as a French President's popularity curve. The full-length begins quite fast, with "Road to Victory", and carries on with "Savannah", quite dynamic as well, but it looses power and interest during the rest of the album (with a little increase in "Tombstone") so much that the last song, "The Last Full Measure", is almost out of interest, even though it starts quite well with a nice organ intro that announces something quite heavy to come... but which is, in reality, a cliché of all that was made throughout the rest of the album. So, in a way, finishing with a half-hearted ending gives us instantly a less good impression of the overall album.

In conclusion, despite a not-very-interesting ending, almost boring and useless, this album is the best of these Swedes. As for me, I'm going to keep an eye on this band to see if they're still able to deliver us solid work in the future years since they release albums quite fast... And also because it would prevent me from having bad marks at History exams.

Originally written in French at Tunes of Steel on the 16th of November 2016.
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