Swedish power Metallers Sabaton have carved out a unique niche for themselves in their twenty-year career. Famous for their epic storytelling style, they illustrate both the glory and the horror of war with their tales of conflict through the ages. They even have their own history YouTube channel to fully explain the stories behind their songs. Yet despite this most serious of subjects they are a band with a great sense of humour and their live shows are one big party.
Sabaton – The War To End All Wars (Nuclear Blast)
Release Date: 4 March 2022
Words: Ian Sutherland
Their last studio album, The Great War, was themed around World War One, and they have been so inspired by the stories and ideas from then that the theme continues on this follow-up. There’s no full storyline concept as such, as I think the chronology of the various elements they cover would make that very difficult to achieve. The band’s solution is to bookend the album with songs about the start and end of the war with a smorgasbord of epic war story Metal sandwiched in between.
Sarajevo includes an explanatory voiceover about the start of the war and has a suitably epic, slow march feel to it and sets the scene admirably. Versailles concludes the album with another voiceover and has both a hopeful and melancholy vibe.
The subjects they explore contained within the four intervening years of the war range from the tactics of German stormtroopers to the Christmas Truce of 1914. From the remarkable story of a much wounded individual soldier to the heroic actions of an all-black American unit.
Over the years, I have become more and more impressed by the songwriting ability of these guys. They read books or get sent suggestions about interesting or amazing acts of military heroism or horror and continuously come up with memorable Metal anthems about them.
The War To End All Wars is no exception. There are a ton of great musical ideas here, from the creeping riff of Dreadnought to the synth-led Metal groove of Soldier Of Heaven and the instant epic infectious chorus of The Unkillable Soldier.
Of the songs released via video so far, it’s Christmas Truce that has garnered the most attention. The piano-led motif has an echo of an old Christmas carol to it which is a genius touch to make the sound reflect the subject matter. The result is a tune that manages to be both uplifting yet has an air of sadness to it. I was disappointed that the album version doesn’t have the beautiful outro music of the video with Floor Jansen adding her special magic vibe.
Sabaton have their own style, and this album sounds pretty much how you’d expect it to. Underneath those expectations are a whole raft of subtle ideas and tweaks, giving their sound more depth than ever.
The vocals and the guitar work are very impressive, and there really isn’t anything to get disappointed about. This band have figured out where they fit in the world of music and have delivered another confident, classy slice of Power Metal.
The War To End All Wars will not be the end of this story.
The War To End All Wars can be pre-ordered from media.nuclearblast.de/shoplanding/2021/Sabaton/album/the-war-to-end-all-wars.html