Swedish power Metal band Sabaton have forged a reputation for solid albums of Heavy Metal anthems all based around military history.
Strangely, despite having what sounds like a bloodthirsty obsession, their other reputation is as a great, fun live act enlivening many a stage with their humour and rabble rousing attitude. With their own annual festival and annual cruise they are a mainstay of the European Metal scene and seem to be going from strength to strength.
'Heroes' is their seventh full length studio album and the first since major line up changes left only original members Joakim Broden and Par Sundstrom from the line-up which recorded 2012s 'Carolus Rex'. Given that the previous album has been a great success worldwide and raised the band's profile there is a lot of pressure on the new line-up to produce a worthy follow up.
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'Carolus Rex' was all about events in Sweden's history but this time round the theme of 'Heroes' is about individual valour in battle through the ages so each track is of a story on its own. Musically there is no departure from what has gone before, this is an album full of fist pumping Metal anthems with mighty riffs and pounding drums and epic choruses just tailor made for rousing a crowd in a hall or a festival.
Instead of going for a change in style with the new line-up Sabaton have stuck to their roots and sound just like they always did but have worked hard on the quality of the songs. There is no real standout track for me but no clunkers either. Each of the ten songs on my promotional copy is strong and full of the epic bombast and traditional Metal signatures that I've come to expect from this Swedish Metal institution.
If I have to pick favourite tracks I love the melodic guitarwork and galloping rhythms of 'Far From The Fame', the epic feel to 'Inmate 4859' and the irresistible chantalong choruses of 'Night Witch' and 'Hearts Of Iron' but there really isn't a weak track on the album.
Sabaton have stayed true to themselves and despite the changes forced on them have come out all guns blazing doing what they do best. There are no surprises here, just a Heavy Metal band doing Heavy Metal the traditional way with joy and commitment married to great playing and singing and some excellent songwriting.
Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys what might be described as good old fashioned Heavy Metal. You could say this is music designed to have a field full of Metal fans punching the air.
Coming soon to a festival near you.
1. Night Witches 3:01
2. No Bullets Fly 3:37
3. Smoking Snakes 3:14
4. Inmate 4859 4:26
5. To Hell And Back 3:26
6. The Ballad Of Bull 3:53
7. Resist And Bite 3:27
8. Soldier Of 3 Armies 3:38
9. Far From The Fame 3:47
10. Hearts Of Iron 4:28
Joakim Brodén — vocals
Pär Sundström — bass
Chris Rörland — guitar, backing vocals
Thobbe Englund — guitar, backing vocals
Hannes van Dahl — drums