Written by Alex Stojanovic
The Unkillable Soldier
Soldier Of Heaven
Race To The Sea
Lady Of The Dark
The Valley Of Death
Release Date: March 4, 2022
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Joakim Broden - Vocals / Par Sundstrom - Bass & backing vocals / Chris Rorland - Guitars & backing vocals
Tommy Johansson - Guitars & backing vocals / Hannes van Dahl - Drums
Of course, The War To End All Wars doesn't represent anything Sabaton hasn't done before, so if you are expecting something new, or if metal with a history lesson isn't your thing, then move along. However, if you're always down to learn something new about WWI, then let's dive right back into the trenches along the Nazi frontlines. Beginning the journey is "Sarajevo", which talks about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Musically, the verses are in spoken-word form, and the chorus carries a similarity to the chorus of "The Lost Battalion". Given its slower pace (with the exception of the solo), it seems a little weird for an opening track. However, it sets the table for what's to come next with "Stormtroopers", which is when intensity goes up quite a few notches. Talking about the specialist soldiers of Imperial Germany (that's gotta be where Star Wars got the idea for the Imperial Stormtroopers), it contains one of the most compelling choruses on the entire album. However the intro made me wonder if I was listening to a DragonForce song, and the chant in the bridge made me wonder if Wolf Hoffmann and Udo Dirkschneider would be calling their lawyers, because it's straight out of Accept's "Balls To The Wall".
As we all know, Sabaton take the listener through not just a journey of stories, but a journey of emotions like happiness, sorrow, anger and motivation. One of the most moving songs is "Christmas Truce", which talks about the truce reached between British, German and French soldiers on Christmas Day in 1914. It's one of those heartstring-tugging stories where opponents ceased fire on each other for a day to celebrate Christmas together. However they would return to killing each other at the end of it. To give it even more of a Christmas vibe, the main melody is taken from "Carol Of The Bells". Another really compelling story is "The Unkillable Soldier", which tells the story of Adrian Carton de Wiart; a soldier who had more lives than a cat. He's a man who took a total of seven bullets to his body, was blinded in his left eye, survived two plane crashes, tunneled out of a prisoner-of-war camp, and voluntarily tore his own fingers off after a refusal from a doctor to amputate them. Man, talk about someone "made of steel". With me being of Serbian background, one of the songs that really speaks to me is "Lady Of The Dark", simply because it tells the tale about Milunka Savic, a female Serbian soldier who is known for taking her brother's place in the army, and was partly disguised as a male soldier, which resulted in her being among the most decorated soldiers of the war.
When it comes to comparing The Great War and The War To End All Wars, they're both based on WWI, but if you were to ask me which one I prefer more, my pick would be the latter. They obviously don't deviate from each other musically, but I find the songs slightly more consistent on the new album. It's kind of weird to say this but it's true. I've learned more about WWI by listening to Sabaton records than I ever did when I was in high school, and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. Even if several riffs and melodies sound rehashed, Sabaton finds a way of still making the listening experience interesting.
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