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Sabaton lies in the same trench as before - 75%

Nightrunner, June 23rd, 2008

The warmachine from Falun, Sweden is back again to tell us some war-tales. We who have heard this band before knows what it is they’re dealing with. Bombastic heavy metal with big choirs. A band quite similar with Grave Digger, but a bit more pompous. Their new album “The Art Of War” is now here, and it contains some of the band’s best songs ever, and some of their weakest.

Since Sabaton’s album ”Attero Dominatus” (you can also call it ”Primo Victoria II”) was like a weaker copy of their debut album, my hopes for this band fell downwards a bit. Those two albums are almost too awkwardly alike in the song-structures and I began to wonder: “will Sabaton always try to do the same album over and over again?”. Thus, my expectations for this album wasn’t especially high. They said this album was going to be a bit more diverse from their albums before, already when the first real song “Ghost Division” starts it’s motor, one can imagine where the album is heading: Not so much has changed really. The production is similar with earlier albums, only that it’s a bit heavier (good thing). Some slight changes that I can say is that the use of keyboards is gained, there’s a female narrator that speaks shortly in almost every song (this is a concept album about Sun Tzu’s book “The Art Of War”). Another thing is that a few songs are a bit harder and heavier than we’re used to with this band. Thinking mostly about the titletrack and “Firestorm”. I must say that the titletrack itself is worth 100%, people. A fucking great and heavy song with a sinister atmosphere (great guitar & keyboard work). But except these tiny things it’s pure Sabaton that the fans will like i’m sure. Which doesn’t mean that everything is perfect, of course. This band has never released anything weak, nor have they released anything that I got totally sold about. The general feeling of this album is the same.

While the songs I mentioned above is among the best songs made by this band, we have some awfully weak songs on here too. “Union”, “The Price of A Mile” and “Talvisota” (a weaker copy of “Into The Fire” in the main riffing) are tracks I always skip. Doesn’t catch my interest at all, possibly because they’re too happy sounding and a bit too pompous. “40:1” isn’t a favourite either. A fast one that Sabaton has done before, but much better.

So it’s a inconsistent album we’re dealing with, but in the whole picture a pretty good album. The guys have managed to lift the quality of their music since last album so this album stands stronger. All members are doing good performances on here. Wish that Daniel Mullback could loosen up a bit more behind the drums and play a bit more interesting. I know that he can, a great drummer, but he’s too much held back. Jocke Brodén with his quite own voice continues to rrrrroll is rrrrr’s but makes a good job in overall.

The question is though, how long can Sabaton continue on the same path until it gets too tedious and too predictable? Probably for some albums more, but I would really like to see that they maybe tries to put in a bit more aggression and a rawer sound. Surprise us a little with the actual music etc. I’m sure they have potential for it, “Firestorm” is a good smoker so. Dare more, are maybe two words for this band. They are good at what they’re doing, and “TAOW” is a good album, but in my book they still have a bit left to the top. It’s probably that inconsistency-level in their material that they need to polish a bit more.

3 best songs: The Art Of War, Ghost Division, Firestorm