Sabaton

MrKnickerbocker

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I know it was there when I downloaded the album from Spotify this morning, but it’s definitely gone now.

EDIT: Apparently, it's a "physical release exclusive", which is pretty ridiculous to have the FIRST song be exclusive to a physical release. A bonus song, a B-side? Maybe. Some of us literally don't have a record/CD player, so what's the point of buying a physical copy instead of a digital one? Really weird decision, guys.
 
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Donner

Ancient Mariner
From what I gather from reading the Sabaton sub-Reddit - Nuclear Blast decided to make Sarajevo an exclusive to physical releases. Apparently, it's basically a companion piece to Versailles.

Now, the art of reserving an opening track of a theme album to outdated formats is...an interesting choice.

Album is pretty decent even though I can easily pick out Sabaton copying themselves or others (the main riff in Dreadnought is a total rip off of Crimson Glory's In Dark Places).

Still a fun 40 minute album!
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
From what I gather from reading the Sabaton sub-Reddit - Nuclear Blast decided to make Sarajevo an exclusive to physical releases. Apparently, it's basically a companion piece to Versailles.

Now, the art of reserving an opening track of a theme album to outdated formats is...an interesting choice.
It's really stupid and comprises the integrity of the album for me. Even if it's nothing special, the band put the song there for a reason and it's absolutely insane to leave it off the digital release. Makes the whole thing feel like a collection of singles, like I could hit shuffle and it wouldn't matter. Just dumb.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
The song is still here:


It's dumb it's not on the digital release (it's so insignificant in the scope of the album) but this is a record that doesn't feel like a mere collection of songs like The Great War did. It plays very nicely as a whole.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
I've given this album a few spins now, and I must say I think it's their strongest since Carolus Rex. There's some obvious complaints, such as the songs not breathing enough before lyrics enter (a problem the band has had since Heroes), but this album is incredibly consistent. Even the few tracks I think are weaker than the others are not filler, as they contain either infectiously catchy choruses or glorious instrumental sections - and often both.

I'm going to agree with @Diesel 11 quite a bit in my review (happy birthday by the way!)

01. Sarajevo
Musically, this kicks off an album that sees the band diversifying their musical palate quite a bit. I really don't like the narration, though, as it breaks up some really neat music. Cool instrumental bit in the middle. This will eventually fit in with the closing track in a pretty cool fashion. Also I have zero clue what the band was thinking leaving this track off of the version of the album that 99% of people will hear.

02. Stormtroopers
This sets the world (and probably the battlefield) on fire! I love the neoclassical guitars, and did not expect this at all. This is a fun, energetic, technical song that will probably kick all sorts of ass live. Definitely reminiscent of old-school Sabaton.

03. Dreadnaught
Now this is my kind of song! It may not reach the "naval battle god tier" of Wolfpack and Bismarck, but it fits in nicely with those tracks. The band has flirted with odd time signatures before (see Cliffs of Gallipoli and Wehrmacht), but this is more complex. An even pulse of 4 is broken up with alternating meters of 5 and 6, respectively. I think it perfectly captures the unpredictability of the ocean. I also love it for having some breathing room before the vocals enter (I would have played the entire riff twice first, to be honest, but I'll take what I can get). Great chorus with a catchy synth line, and another excellent instrumental section with stunning solo. This is one of the highlights of the album for me, even if it's essentially a dance song!

04. The Unkillable Soldier
When I first heard this song, I thought it was Sabaton-paint-by-numbers. But now I can't get it out of my head! That chorus - especially the intensity of it and the brilliant key change at the end - is an incredible earworm. The rapid-fire style of lyrics in the chorus really emulate bursts of gunfire on the battlefield, and the drumming is powerful and bouncy (all those tom rolls in the pre-choruses is an example). Another highlight.

05. Soldier of Heaven
I was thinking a weak song would have to pop up soon, but nope! Another killer here. The whole thing is beyond cheesy, but you can't beat that chorus or the building nature of the verses. I'm a sucker for cheesy '80s synth, and this song delivers it in buckets. There are times when the song reminds me of The Final Solution (in the second verse and solo) or that sweet mustard gas song from the previous album. This will be another fun one live!

06. Hellfighters
Well, since Iced Earth won't be doing much for a while, it's only fitting that Sabaton decided to pay tribute to them (unintentionally, I'm sure). It's a punchy, dynamic track that never lets its foot off the gas pedal, even if it is the weakest song yet (aside from the opener). I don't like the vocals starting so soon, but here it doesn't really bother me given the nature of the song. Neat instrumental bit in the middle with the key changes, and sick shredding, too.

07. Race to the Sea
I really don't like the immediate start to the verse, but this song's chorus is another earworm. It reminds me of something from Carolus Rex, and while it's probably the weakest non-Sarajevo track yet, it's not filler. The constant bass gallop is catchy, and the solo and bridge delivers. I love the buildup with the snare drum, too.

08. Lady of the Dark
Well, this is different. I love punchy, dynamic, start-stop riffs that breathe, and the harmonics are a nice touch. Again, the vocals enter too soon (this album could be a good five minutes longer if it had proper intros for each song), but this is a fun little track. Once again, the instrumental section shines here, with a melodic solo over a refreshing locked-in bass groove. Another chorus key change, too, which the band is pretty solid at. The ending sucks, though.

09. The Valley of Death
This is the only song that hasn't really hit me yet. It's fun and energetic (is it weird calling songs about war "fun?"), but I feel like it's missing something. The chorus buildup is cool, and the chorus employs that rapid-fire lyric style again. This sounds like older Sabaton, though, like something from The Art of War or Coat of Arms. Can't complain there. I get a lot of similarities to the vibe of Soldier of 3 Armies on this album, and I'll never complain about that! The best part of this song is easily the instrumental section, which is melodic and has a solo that opens Symphony X-style!

10. Christmas Truce
From an overall compositional standpoint, it's hard to argue that this isn't the strongest song here. This is a magnificent song - from the piano to Joakim's passionate singing, to the choral chants, to the instrumental section - just wow. It has that "group sing-along" vibe that reminds me of Gott Mit Uns, although obviously with a different feel. I can't say enough good things about it. I even cracked a beer open as I write this because this song practically demands it!

11. Versailles
Ugh, that horrible narration again. Then we get into Maiden territory (The Legacy?) before hinting at WWII by turning increasingly darker after the second chorus. A guitar solo acts as a bridge to this ominous change of tone, which recalls the chorus of Sarajevo. This track (and the opener) would be so much stronger without the out-of-place narration; I can't stress that enough. Stuff like that was fine when it was a sentence or two on The Art of War (even though I didn't like it then), but it comprises like half of these songs!

As I said before, this album could have benefitted from an extra five or so minutes by giving many of the songs proper introductions. When a song gets to the verse too soon, in my mind the songwriters are saying our music isn't catchy enough on its own, so let's get to the vocals quickly or else people will lose interest. That's just not what I look for in music; remember that this is metal, not pop. Nevertheless, this is a really good album, and it caught me by surprise! I was expecting another half-filler effort like the previous album or the even weaker Last Stand, but I'm quite impressed!

Highlights:

Dreadnaught
The Unkillable Soldier
Soldier of Heaven
Christmas Truce
 
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MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
I've given this a few listens now, and it's pretty good. I think, overall, I like it more than The Great War and The Last Stand.

The Good
  • It's the most old school Sabaton album since Carolus Rex! The music is far heavier and more diverse than anything on the last three albums.
  • The guitars leveled up! There's neoclassical shred, beautiful melodic playing and elongated solo parts. Finally, these guys get a chance to shine.
  • The first four songs are top notch!
    • Stormtroopers is an instant classic and has to become a live staple. It blisters along furiously and, again, the guitars here are amazing.
    • Dreadnaught adds another notch on to the "Seafaring Warship Tunes" belt and it's a great one. Nice to hear them using odd time signatures and a deliberate, powerful marching tempo. It's no Bismarck, and definitely no Wolfpack, but it's really good.
    • I was pretty underwhelmed by The Unkillable Soldier and Soldier of Heaven when they were released as singles, but holy hell have they grown on me! They are easily the catchiest songs on the album, particularly the chorus of the former, and the best of what a "modern Sabaton" song has to offer.
  • Race to the Sea has a good chorus.
  • The Valley of Death sounds like something straight off Attero Dominatus or Coat of Arms. Very strong White Death vibes.
  • Christmas Truce is big, emotional, and very wintery. It'll be a great sing-a-long, end of the night song whenever they play a show during the Holiday season.
  • Musically, Sarajevo and Versailles are wonderful. Beautiful soloing, really nice instrumentation across the board.
  • Overall, the production is good. There's not really anything new for the band here, but everyone sounds good.
The Meh
  • The middle of the album is pretty average. I love the heaviness of Hellfighters and Lady of the Dark, but neither is particularly catchy or memorable.
  • It's pretty lame that both Lady and Valley end with the same exact lyrics - "fight until the end!" Maybe they should have paid more attention to the tracklisting.
  • Sarajevo and Versailles are absolutely stupid due to the speaking sections. I truly don't understand why the historical event descriptions couldn't be rewritten into lyrics. It's just lazy. These will both receive skips from me, honestly. I hated this narration on The Art of War, and this isn't much better.
  • The lack of any kind of intro on Race to the Sea kind of ruins my enjoyment of the song.
It's a good album and I enjoy listening to it every time I go back again. I think there is certainly more to dig into here, more substance, than on the previous two albums. However, considering the subject matter, there is a much better album to be made by combining the best of this and The Great War while losing a lot of the fluff.
 

Travis The Dragon

"I sell shower curtian rings. BEST in the world."
The new album is more great ass kicking Sabaton which is what I've come to expect from them. I really love that Sarajevo has an instrumental section that's a bit longer than usual.
 

MrKnickerbocker

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Sabaton (w/ Epica) N.A. tour announced: https://www.sabaton.net/news/tour-shows/new-concert-dates-in-america-and-canada-2022/

SEPTEMBER 2022
15 – Paramount Theater, Seattle, WA
16 – Roseland Ballroom, Portland, OR
17 – Roseland Ballroom, Portland, OR
19 – Revolution, Boise, ID
21 – Fox Theatre, Oakland, CA
23 – Palladium, Los Angeles, CA
24 – Arizona Federal Theatre, Phoenix, AZ
25 – Brooklyn Bowl, Las Vegas, NV
27 – The Complex, Salt Lake City, UT
28 – The Fillmore, Denver, CO
30 – Southside Ballroom, Dallas, TX

OCTOBER 2022
1 – Bayou Music Center, Houston, TX
3 – Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN
4 – Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA
6 – The Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD
8 – ICON, Cincinnati, OH
10 – The Fillmore, Detroit, MI
11 – 20 Monroe, Grand Rapids, MI
13 – The Fillmore, Minneapolis, MN
15 – Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL
17 – Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA
18 – The Fillmore, Philadelphia, PA
21 – MGM Music Hall, Boston, MA
22 – Place Bell Arena, Montreal, QC
23 – Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY

I'm sure I'll go, but the venue for the Chicago date has to be one of my least favorite in the city. Just a giant fucking hangar-like room with bad sound. I'm sure tickets will be $60+ after fees.
 

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
From what I gather from reading the Sabaton sub-Reddit - Nuclear Blast decided to make Sarajevo an exclusive to physical releases. Apparently, it's basically a companion piece to Versailles.

Now, the art of reserving an opening track of a theme album to outdated formats is...an interesting choice.

Album is pretty decent even though I can easily pick out Sabaton copying themselves or others (the main riff in Dreadnought is a total rip off of Crimson Glory's In Dark Places).

Still a fun 40 minute album!

They probably make more money from outdated formats than from streaming…
 

Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
Staff member
I like the History Edition way more, I like the narration and the explanation of the theme of each song. They aren't too long either.
 
Been into Sabaton for about 3 years. The amount of creativity and work that goes into their videos is astounding. They got me listening to power metal in general and although I know I'm not sure about who is heavy mental and who is power metal, I hroup bands according to a best guess. Bands that have really stood out for me are Powerwolf, Brainstorm, Axel Rudi Pell (may not actually be Power Metal), Iced Earth, Accept, Primal Fear, Orden Ogan and Stratovarious. I have read that Blind Guardian is considered to be one of the top Power Metal bands but I just can't get into them. I find their songs bland and although I've tried on a number of occasions to get into them it just doesn't happen.
 

Brigantium

General of the Dark Army
Staff member
Completely forgot to post this:

This is the Heugh Battery Museum in Hartlepool, local to me, Sabaton sold a fundraising tshirt (I bought one :D ) to help raise money to save the museum from closure
My other half has done historical re-enactment stuff at this museum, and apparently there was at one time a plan for Sabaton to perform locally - I'm thinking as part of a smallish one day music festival that was being planned in the area at one time. At a guess covid has been a barrier to that happening, but if it happens, count me in!
 

gazda

Educated Fool
Strange to see Sabaton show without Ghost Division.

On this Swedish tour they are using only backdrops and not using any pyro and no tanks on stage.

 
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