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'Gods And Generals'
(Napalm Records)
Out Now

Johnny Main

johnny main

civil war

Back in March 2012, the Metal world was rocked by the news that not one and not two, but four (count 'em) members of Sabaton had quit the band for, as the statement said at the time, "unspecified reasons".

The band's then most recent album, 'Carolus Rex', wasn't due to be released for another three months and even now there has been no official explanation for the large exodus from the band.

For the four members leaving, it was a decision to musically move on from Sabaton together and a little over seven months later, the first release from their new band, Civil War, was released in the form of the six track self titled EP.

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The nucleus of Civil War still retains three of the original four ex-Sabaton members, Daniel Mullback, Rikard Sundén and Daniel Myhr, who then followed up their 2012 EP with a full length album in called 'The Killer Angels' in 2013. Musically, the band is a hybrid between Power Metal and classic Heavy Metal, and the musical strengths within the band create a solid sound similar to that Sabaton are known for.

The band's recently released second album is titled 'Gods And Generals' and the opus is pretty much dedicated to one subject – War.

Title track 'Gods And Generals' kind of gives that away but it's well chosen as the title track. For me, though, it's maybe slightly too keyboard heavy during the chorus but it still manages to chug along at a respectable pace.

civil war

'Back To Iwo Jima' is obviously about returning to the island for the first time since the 1945 battle which took place there and is another good mid-paced number with the backing vocals giving the chorus a bit of extra power. Drummer Daniel Mullback excels himself here with his metronomic drumming whilst guitarists Rikard Sundén and Petrus Granar put in one of his/their best performances. Towards the end, the almost choral vocal sound builds and builds and is sure to get the fists punching the air during live renditions.

There's a slow almost orchestral build up to 'War Of The World' too, which means that you're pretty much a full minute in before the pace picks up with the introduction of the drums. The guitar riff is buried at the back of the mix so that means that the background voices, drums and vocals are to the fore. It's a good number overall, despite the downbeat lyrical content which talks about the possible reality of a nuclear war.

The 1961 failed military invasion of Cuba is referenced in 'Bay Of Pigs' which has a solid guitar riff with a very catchy chorus. Frontman Nils Patrik Johansson comes across really well as he announces "we have to invade.... the Bay of Pigs" at the top of the number. More a mid-paced than fast number, Johansson really stretches his voice, and the song showcases his deep and booming voice. Overall, though, it's a solid foot tapper especially during the extended instrumental section.

The simple piano intro to 'Braveheart' is courtesy of keyboard player Daniel Myhr which makes a nice change and it's accentuated by some solid drumming from Mullback as the song gets going, it's no doubt influenced by the film of the same name starring Mel Gibson.

Now, we all know that the film is a complete load of bollocks from a historical (and let's face it, an acting) point of view but this song isn't half bad! Sure it's not quite up there with Iron Maiden's 'The Clansman' which to me is a hugely under-rated song but Civil War's 'Braveheart' itself is none the less a quality song.

Continuing the Scottish theme is one of my favourite tracks here, 'The Mad Piper', which picks up where 'Braveheart' left off. It's a real "pipes and drums" number which has a much slower tempo and a more serious tone to it. Who the Mad Piper is I'm not sure but it's the story of a piper embroiled in a World War One battle. It's a great number and as the sound of the bagpipes (which may or may not be real as opposed to generated through the keyboard) fades, Mullback lets out a military style beat whilst Myhr's keyboards fill in the rest of the song as Johansson once again gives a solid performance. It's another unexpected treat on the album which ensures that the next time that Civil War play a gig in Glasgow, the whiskies are on me!

You can watch the official video for 'Bay of Pigs' here:

You can see Civil War live here:
Friday 24th July – Hojrock, Vastervik
Saturday 25th July – Sabaton Open Air, Gelsenkirchen
Saturday 15th August – Sabaton Open Air, Falun
Friday 4th September – Brynerocken, Stavanger
Saturday 5th September – t.b.a., Mandal
Saturday 28th November – Scandinavium, Gothenburg

'Gods and Generals' Tracklist:
War Of The World
Bay Of Pigs
The Mad Piper
USS Monitor
Tears From The North
Admiral Over The Oceans
Back To Iwo Jima
Schindler's Ark
Gods And Generals

Civil War are:
Nils Patrik Johansson – Vocals
Rikard Sundén – Guitar
Petrus Granar – Guitar
Daniel Myhr – Keyboard
Daniel Mullback – Drums

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