Release Date: June 11, 2013
In early 2012, Sabaton fans around the world braced themselves for horrible news when four members left the band right before the release of Sabaton’s newest, and quite stunning album Carolus Rex. Fearing the worst for the future of Sabaton, fans were enlightened with the news that not only would Sabaton be continuing on with a new lineup, but the ex-members had gone on to form a new power metal behemoth, Civil War. Joining Myhr, Montelius, Mullback and Sundén were Stefan “Pizza” Eriksson (ex-Cryonic Temple) and Nils Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors, Wuthering Heights). Featuring a legendary lineup for all fans of power metal, this announcement was a refreshing bit of news and fans everywhere patiently waited for the music.
So here we are now, mid-2013, and Civil War‘s debut full length album The Killer Angels is has landed. Understandably, after four singles and an EP, the buzz is high across the globe for this monstrous album. Using American history themes, and an obvious connection to the Michael Shaara novel The Killer Angels, Civil War is branching out into typically untrodden waters. American history is hardly ever on the radar for European bands, or even American bands to be honest because it is apparently not nearly as exciting as vikings and crusaders. That being said, the band pulled off the concept quite well. The Killer Angels definitely lives up to the hype, so fans, brace yourselves for this onslaught of true heavy metal.
The gritty and piercing vocals of Nils Patrik Johansson are the first thing that truly set out to define the album on the opening track “King of the Sun”. Those remarkable and memorable vocals meet fantastic musicianship all around from keyboard accompaniment, moving guitar and bass lines, and simple yet fitting drums. In songs like “First to Fight” and “My Own Worst Enemy” the pace picks up and the drums feature more fills and bring a true punch to the music which I think is where the band truly shines. Then there are moments on the album where the keyboard truly shines along with the bass. “I Will Rule the Universe” and “Rome Is Falling” which are catchy and unforgettable moments on the album that stick with you all day. The album’s end, “Gettysburg” is one hell of a song. It shows off amazing vocal range and ability from softer tenor lines to high and coarse power metal wails. Hymn-like choral features, unique guitar riffs with an amazing solo, and perfectly accented bass lines and drums make this one hell of a power metal track to its core. This depiction of pure talent is definitely not short throughout the album.
It is extremely hard to differentiate between the music produced on certain moments of the album and let’s say… Primo Victoria (but when three fifths of a band leave to form a new one, that is somewhat expected). The instrumentation and choir layers especially have a true telltale Sabaton sound. To me, it can’t get any better than the epic, off-to-battle style of metal that these guys managed to write in the past. It’s a unique blend of melody and roughness; so not only are you singing along, but you’ll also be swinging a beer. From start to finish this album is non-stop heavy metal with no filler in between. The songs have a way of getting under your skin, making it nearly impossible to turn off or skip a track. Simply put, the guys have managed to break away from their past while still influenced to a great extent in that style of music. This is absolutely a powerful debut album and any fans of heavy and power metal should be excited to hear it.
“Just as sure as Rome is falling, I’ll be rising again.” couldn’t be a more fitting line for this band. Cheers to you Civil War!
Civil War is:
Rikard and Oskar: Guitars