Written by Alex Stojanovic
The Future Of Warfare
Seven Pillars Of Wisdom
82nd All The Way
The Attack Of The Dead Men
The Red Baron
The Great War
A Ghost In The Trenches
Fields Of Verdun
The End Of The War To End All Wars
In Flanders Fields
Release Date: July 19, 2019
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Joakim Broden - Lead vocals & keyboards / Par Sundstrom - Bass & backing vocals
Chris Rorland - Guitars & backing vocals / Tommy Johansson - Guitars & backing vocals
Hannes van Dahl - Drums & backing vocals
When it comes to Sabaton album openers, I find that "The Future Of Warfare" is a much better opener than "Sparta" was on The Last Stand, although I wouldn't say it's one of my favourite tracks. However, when you compare the two tracks, this track feels more compelling, and Joakim Broden puts the lower register of his voice to good use in the verses. Of course it goes without saying that whenever writing songs, Sabaton always have crowd participation in mind, whether it's singing along, fists in the air, or jumping up and down. With that said, "The Attack Of The Dead Men", a song that tells the tale about the Osowiec Fortress, carries a vibe reminiscent of "Primo Victoria", where you can envision the entire crowd singing along and jumping to the mid-tempo galloping rhythm during the chorus.
While we're on the subject of knowing what to expect, you know that on every Sabaton release, there will be a couple of tracks with some very poppy, catchy and uplifting riffs and melodies that will get stuck in your head for hours. The songs that deliver exactly that on this album are "82nd All The Way", which talks about the 82nd Airborn Division, and "A Ghost In The Trenches", which tells the story about Francis Pegahmagabow, a Canadian soldier from the First Nations who was known as the greatest sniper in the first world war. These tracks are a couple of my favourites on the record due to the really epic and uplifting choruses, and if may also add, "A Ghost In The Trenches" is a really cool title for a song.
As far as giving something slightly different, the closing track, which is a choir reciting an accapella version of "In Flanders Fields" is literally chill-inducing. It begins with female voices reciting the first nine lines, then male voices join in at "Take up our quarrell with the foe". The echo chamber effect gives the track that much power. When I first saw the title, I thought it would be Joakim reciting the poem in spoken word form, but boy was I wrong..... and glad about it, too.
As far as the downsides of this album are concerned, the electronic elements that are present in some songs, while they are a slightly new element to the band's sound, are off-putting because I'm not a fan of them. The other downside is that there's literally nothing on this album that you haven't heart from Sabaton before. Some of the vocal melodies, guitar melodies and riffs sound rehashed from previous material, so if the band's consistent formula has tired you out, then you obviously aren't going to enjoy this album. However, if you're a die-hard fan, there's no doubt you'll be blasting this album, and wanting to learn all the lyrics so you can sing along when you see the band play these songs live.
Highs: "82nd All The Way", "The Attack Of The Dead Men", "A Ghost In The Trenches", "Fields Of Verdun" and "In Flanders Fields".
Lows: The electronic elements can be off-putting. It's more of the same from Sabaton, so if you've grown tired of their formula, then steer clear.