Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2021
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Scale to Match the Subject, Though Nothing Really New to Hear - 70%

Gakumba, June 14th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, Digital, Nuclear Blast

Sabaton are a Swedish power metal band active circa 1999, their niche for covering historical wars & battles is a master stroke in education & epic appeal, as fact is sometimes way more grandiose than fiction. Case & point to this is the stand-alone single ‘Bismarck’.

The KMS [Kriegsmarine Schiff] Bismarck was a 52 000 tonne behemoth battleship built as a symbol of Nazi success, political power & economic might. Commissioned on 24 August 1940, this ship was the largest warship by tonnage ever built by a European navy. To give you an idea, RMS Titanic was only 47 000 tonnes. Bismarck was named for the First Chancellor of the German Empire, Otto von Bismarck, this dude was quite a battleship in his own right, creating a country & surviving 5 gunshot hits on the same day! [Seriously, look him up, awesome guy!].

Anyway, on to the song: it starts with a slow-building intro which I would compare to the title sequence of the film Das Boot in the fact that it sways toward the climax, rather than draws it out. Once that swaying climaxes though, like the guns on him [this ship was always referred to as a he], it hits with full force. A driving, melodic riff fills the second movement of the intro. Broden then begins to chronicle the beginning of Bismarck’s final chapter, being stalked in heavy mist by 2 inferior-armed, but radar-enabled cruisers.

The calm-before-the-storm vibe carries on throughout the first verse, as Bismarck is further aggrandized. Then the sort-of ballsy move comes as the lyrics refer to Bismarck as ‘King of the Ocean’, leaving the Royal & U.S. navies to “Ahem?”

The chorus then comes in all guns blazing, I find myself wanting to sing along to it whenever I drive along with it blasting my poor car’s speakers to bits. Then Bismarck is described briefly & faces his first test & his firepower decimates the pride of another nation, the Mighty HMS Hood. Broden then tells us that the Royal Navy forms a fleet to hunt down & end Bismarck.

Broden then breaks down the tragedy to human levels, unifying the Hood & Bismarck’s casualties & Otto von Bismarck in one swift verse. Otto made a speech in 1862 in which he said that international issues will be settled by iron & blood. The song then builds tension beautifully as the chorus reprises several times leading to the somewhat anti-climactic finish, which leads me to often re-start the song before the final chant is given.

Overall, Bismarck is a very enjoyable song & it’s scale [with symphonic metal trim, might I add] is as grandiose as the ship himself, but there are times when I found subtle re-uses of previous songs' elements, IE: the build-up intro from Sparta, bare bones music & vocals at the very end a-la Aces In Exile / Primo Victoria & catchy beating drums like Far From The Fame.

Sabaton did not fully implement the show of force I expected on this particular ditty, there’s very few here that is new. There is an upcoming full album, The Great War, expected to set sail in mid-July, let’s hope that Sabaton will blow some dust off their chosen niche & try something we’ve yet to hear.

Music: 6/10
Content & lyrics: 8/10
Look & feel: 8/10
Originality: 5/10
Memorability: 7/10