The Last Stand



by Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (199 Reviews)
August 19th, 2016 | 13 replies

Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “Today’s menu includes: Västerbottensost, Prästost and Sabaton.”

Do you know what ‘avant-garde black metal’ defines" What about ‘symphonic gothic metal’" With so many subgenres cropping up that dictates how a band should or should not sound like within heavy metal, one of the few genres that still retains its original implication is ‘power metal’. The clue is in the title- its music that is supposed to make you feel powerful and larger than life, uplifting music that unashamedly makes you swell up in pride, don your helm and ride into glory against all odds!

Sweden’s Sabaton belong to the power metal subgenre and in their near 17 year career, they’ve amassed a strong army of loyal fans with 8 albums to their name. Their latest conceptual album, “The Last Stand”, encapsulates everything about the subgenre they belong to. From the grandiose atmosphere and realistic lyricism that Sabaton create, they lead us to the barefaced supercilious façade that all power metal bands wear through a brief history of “famous last stands in warfare”.

Sabaton are a distinguishable band due to their focus on real warfare rather than fantasy, and their noticeable sound is just as evident as their debut was back in 2005. Each track on “The Last Stand” has its own personal punch but the marching riffs from ’Last Dying Breath’ and the turbulent ‘Rorke’s Drift’ announce that Sabaton are still using their strengths to their advantage.

However, Sabaton have drawn new battle tactics and enlisted a small array of other influences on this album since its predecessor, “Heroes”. Bombast and pomposity spew out from “The Last Stand” because glam is the most prominent weapon that they equip themselves with; but with it come both benefits and drawbacks. ‘The Last Battle’ is arguably the catchiest and most triumphant song on the album due to the simple, synchronised rhythms each musician plays. And yet, the simplicity of Hannes Van Dahl’s spacious drums and the unenergetic riffing makes ‘The Lost Battalion’ sound so languid.

Joakim Brodén is clearly in charge here. He has excellent talent at creating a clear commanding and fanatical tone to his singing and also at storytelling. In songs like ‘Shiroyama’ and ‘Sparta’ you won’t have to ask Google what battle corresponds to each song because he describes them so effortlessly in these songs particularly. The factual lyrics portray each battle with a creative intent and in a charismatic way. ‘Blood of Bannockburn’ also features suited instrumentation to replicate the lyrical description. In this song Sabaton use bagpipes to emphasise this Scottish battle that proves to be a riveting call-to-arms song. The only negative is that Joakim missed a cheesy opportunity to cry out “FREEDOM!”

Let’s face it, you know exactly what you’re going to get with a new Sabaton record: the most stirring history lesson you’ll ever have complete with a complementary cheese board of bombastic choruses, marching riffs, reflective keyboards and realistic lyrics. “The Last Stand” is no anomaly or curve-ball to this formula. The Swede's continue to gain victory after victory in their career- it’s just a shame that it’s the same kind of battle every time. One day they’ll think to change some tactics and win the war.

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user ratings (98)

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 19th 2016


oh well i guess i need to give this a listen. actually enjoy some of their songs despite their overall style lacking in any kind of originality for me.

excellent written review with war metaphors to boot! Nice creative touch.

August 19th 2016


Only Sabaton I've checked is Carolus Rex, which was enjoyable. Very nice read, Chamber!

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August 19th 2016


the kaiser has come

August 19th 2016


Diary Of An Unknown Soldier is great because its not 'grandioso'

August 19th 2016


Album Rating: 2.0

God fucking damn it. Of course I had to tell myself last night "just finish your review up in the morning, there's no way someone's going to pull the trigger on it first thing in the day."

August 19th 2016


Album Rating: 2.0

Anyway, as we all know Sabaton is not a band to throw any surprises our way. And even though there are tons of people of have an issue with the lack of variation, for me that is completely overrided by one thing, great tracks. Sadly, most of the tracks here just aren't good, and of course, when that's the case, the repition then DOES also become a glaring issue. I can forgive the same album of good songs every time, but when its the same album with lackluster content, it's unforgivable. Things slightly went down on Heroes, but overall that album was fine. The Last Stand is really just a huge notch down from that, though. I truly think that on every single song, there is at least one identical melody that Sabaton has used on a previous album (at least!).

August 19th 2016


Album Rating: 2.5

Band is mediocre af

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August 19th 2016


Album Rating: 1.0

Band is so bad it's not even funny to joke about.

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August 20th 2016


Fun fuckin live band. Ned to jam this.

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August 21st 2016


Album Rating: 3.0

Band rules live. The self-titled song is the best thing on here, especially with that chorus.

November 5th 2016


Album Rating: 2.0

Wasn't this review originally a 4.0? I could be wrong, just wondering.

February 21st 2018


Album Rating: 3.5

Shiroyama brings the goosebumps.

February 25th 2018


Album Rating: 3.0

It's not a bad album to me.

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