Sabaton
The Art of War


4.0
excellent

Review

by Altmer USER (175 Reviews)
April 19th, 2009 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The art of power metal is of vital importance to the listener. A road which can guide to excellence or to ruin. This road leads to excellence.

Power metal and lyrical themes is a funny issue. Power metal bands deal with mythical wars a lot: tribes of elves and orcs at war, battling dragons with crusaders, even a few historical battles tackled (Blind Guardian comes to mind). Sabaton, however, are genuinely interested in war: not the mythical fairy kind, mind, but real war. Like, World War II esque-stuff, combined with a concept based on the famous Chinese book by Sun Tzu "The Art of War".

How do I know all this" Well, there's a whore nagging about the book with Sun Tzu quotes every other song. Apart from that bit, which undermines the continuity of the record, however, this is still the kind of power metal everyone should love. You know why" Because Sabaton are real power metal. For a first, their singer sounds like a man. For a second, the downtuned riffs are powerful, rhythmic and crushing. For a third, they sing about glory and honor in battle (just listen to 40:1, a song about how 300 Polish men withtstood a full-on German onslaught). The improved influence of keyboards still makes the band sound relatively cheesy and fruity, but all in all every quality of good power metal is still here: rousing anthems, speedy riffs with powerful (and balanced!) double-bass drumming, and melodic guitar/keyboard duels.

In fact, that's pretty much all that is to be found here. This album is so exemplary of what power metal sounds like when it's done right it's almost too consistent to listen to. None of the songs here are explicitly bad (a few border on unmemorable, though), and for every song that you forget the chorus for, another one pops up with a beast of a melody. "Panzerkampf" is the absolute standout, describing the Soviet's stand versus the Germans on the fields of Prokhorovkha. Its massive, massive chorus and staccato riffing should be a beastly live favourite in years to come. Even Joakim's awesome army-like voice (he has that nice rolling r) adds to the whole atmosphere. As mentioned, the intro/outro and the girl going BLA BLA BLA LOOK I CAN QUOTE SUN TZU IN A FUTURISTIC VOICE LOOK AT ME are pretty distracting when they pop up, but when you zone out on those after a while, the album becomes really enjoyable to listen to as a whole.

If anything, you can fault Sabaton with going with a formulaic style, as they do toss in the occasional slower piano-led power ballad moment so typical of every power metal album ("Cliffs of Gallipoli"), and the album seems stuck in three tempo modes (fast, midtempo, midtempo crescending), but even that formulaic nature of the band doesn't hurt them at all. They know how to work their instruments, they know how to come up with a few golden choruses, and they know how to make keyboards sound fruity without having them overpower the music. It's not all too original, but it just works so well that we have one of the few interesting power metal bands on our hands here. All hail Sabaton, a band who have fused the cheesiness of power metal with the skill of songwriting, and for standing out in a genre where cloning seems to be happening faster than in a cancer research experiment.

"If you know yourself and your enemy, your victory will not stand in doubt in a thousand battles."



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user ratings (216)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Poet (3)
A mixture of World War II and Sixth Century B.C. China. Seriously, Swedes are strange when it comes ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Altmer
April 19th 2009


5701 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

not my favourite review but wanted to get this out.

devsol
April 19th 2009


356 Comments


Sabaton: the Altmer of War

Metalstyles
Emeritus
April 19th 2009


8574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the three songs I listened too were pretty decent so i shall get the whole thing. The vocalist disturbed me a bit though.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
April 19th 2009


8574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

alright, i got through listening to this album and I must say that you're review was near perfect. The sound was exactly like you described in the reveiw. The interludes were pretty disturbing yes, but besides that this is some good power metal right here. The album does start to drag in the end, after the "Panzerkampf" a bit though.

KYZAR
April 19th 2009


513 Comments


Gah i dislike power metal the cheese throws me off.

Poet
April 19th 2009


6005 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5



How do I know all this?


From my review.



lol just kidding. Good review.

SlitThroatHolocaust
April 19th 2009


19 Comments


Man, after 150+ reviews one would think you would have a better mastery of the craft.

KYZAR
April 19th 2009


513 Comments


^ ouch, u know he said it wasn't his best.

Altmer
April 20th 2009


5701 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this was pretty much written in all of 15 minutes

Zion
June 6th 2010


812 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just FYI, it was around 720 Polish men who withstood 42,200 Nazis. They were defeated, but not after taking down more Nazis (around 800) than Nazis took Poles (well, all of them.) They had no chance obviously, but the song does the brilliant command of Władysław Raginis justice. They were offered a chance to surrender, and anyone who can convince a group of 720 men to dismiss it and fight over 40,000 Nazis to the bitter end is both insane, and insanely brave. And that's what I like about Sabaton: they sing about relevant history, and they research their facts.Their music is incredibly formulaic and predictable, but it serves its purpose very well. (Well, to be fair, they were very roughly estimating with the 40:1 ratio)

TheClansman95
September 22nd 2017


1464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

eeeeexcellent

Digging: Septicflesh - Codex Omega



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