Review Summary: OMGGG NEW SABUUURRRRTUUURRRNNNN!!!!!
Sabaton. What exactly is a sabaton anyway? Well it turns out it’s foot armour, here’s a picture of a bunch of different kinds: https://bottega.avalonceltic.com/rep_immagini/prod/scarpe_1.jpg. No idea how the last one works. Now that you know what a sabaton is it’s natural to ask yourself, Out of all the pieces of armour they could have named themselves after, why the feet?
Well evidently the likes of “baldric”, “greaves”, “pauldron”, and “cuirass” were already taken.
Now what does any of that have to do with their music? Everything. Sabaton is not the cuirass that protects your heart, the baldric with which you carry the sword that slays your enemies, or the greaves that prevent cheap shots to one of the most awkwardly sensitive parts of the body. Sabaton and sabatons are there to protect the most basic elements of your momentum, to keep you moving and grooving along your way. Like a masterfully forged piece of armour these prime Power Metallers have been going strong for more than 20 years and surely for 20 more to come, to make you move your feet, and glory in old days gone by.
The War to End All Wars
is no different. And that isn’t a bad thing. We don’t need any more devolutions like Equilibrium chrysalizing from Sagas
”. Sabaton like to party hard without the music itself striking you like a mace to the chest. Instead they let their subject matter do the heavy hitting: WAAAAAARRRRR!!!!
The War to End all Wars
is now their second album to focus primarily on World War I, a direct sequel to their 2019 release The Great War
. While The Great War
began in medias res
with the introduction of the mechanical behemoths we commonly call 'tanks', The War to End All Wars
properly begins at the beginning with the event most commonly attributed to initiating World War I—the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. However just as political assassinations don’t typically result in full-scale warfare, Sarajevo
itself is so insignificant they forgot to upload it to Spotify (or apparently it's a CD exclusive? weird but whatever). Indeed I was going to lead with a really banal analogy comparing the in reality second track Stormtroopers
to the storming of the beaches of Normandy (which isn’t said track’s subject and belongs to WWII anyway but is still appropriate musically) but noooooo they ruined my fun when I discovered the true first track is Sarajevo
. Sabaton haters rejoice yes this track does in fact suck, half of which is boring female narration (no one actually listens to Sabby for the history, lady), the other half consisting of a choral chorus with its only redeeming feature a pretty epic solo from 2:39 all the way to 3:26, but this hardly deserves praise as an actual track.
comes in as a melodic blitzkrieg
with all the energy and typical structure of any good Sabaton song (**** you yes they have plenty of epic songs and this one is yet another 4) to get the party started and your sabatons movin’. Then just as you think you’re making laudable advances in comes Dreadnought
to mire you in the trenches. By no means is it a bad track posing an epic chorus as grand as seeing the battleship in question stream through the fog with all its turrets pointed head-on towards you, but the slow-fast pattern of the album’s layout makes you wonder if they really mean to put you through an audible version of trench warfare.
Indeed advancing onto the album’s third single The Unkillable Soldier
presents a bombastic appraisal of Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart, a true chad with such immeasurable cojones that even after being shot in just about every part of his body, losing an eye, surviving two plane crashes, and tearing off his own fingers when his virgin of a surgeon refused to amputate he wrote in his memoirs, “Frankly I had enjoyed the war”. Cementing The Unkillable Soldier
’s epicness is the stagnant and uninteresting Soldier of Heaven
before leading into the mild but Judas Priest-esque Hellfighters
and not-so-speedy Race to the Sea
Lady of the Dark
brings back the upbeat vibes by turning your attention to one of the most badass chicks in all history that was Milunka Savic, who pulling a Hunger Games
took her brother’s place in the First Balkan War and wasn’t discovered until her tenth deployment, convincing her superior officer to let her stay and fight even after her discovery and going on to achieve even more in WWI. The song is an epic paean to her accomplishments and another strong track lifting up the spirits. The Valley of Death
continues such momentum before culminating in the true miracle that was December 25, 1914 in the veritable drinking song that is Christmas Truce
. Leading with a masterful symphonic rendition of Carol of the Bells
, Christmas Truce
brings true holiday cheer representing full well the magic that happened that night and deserves to be played along with or in stead of all the usual carols every department store suddenly forces upon us immediately after Halloween.
Coming full circle from the assassination of the Archduke it is only fitting that the last track is Versailles
. Pointless narrator lady is back but this time accompanied by a piercingly glorious violin piece along little drummer boy rimshots and flute. Can they release a version without her please? It would be a pretty excellent track otherwise as the chorus isn’t bad.
So ends The War to End All Wars
, a heavy misnomer if there ever was one, as even our own time easily attests. Nevertheless where there is war there Sabaton will be, to lift your spirits and make you move your own sabatons.