Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sabaton - Heroes (2014)

I have always asked myself why I do not love the Swedish power metal band Sabaton. Their music has a power that few can match, they can write interesting lyrics about war and history, and their live performances are just electrifying. So why do I not love this band? I have no good answer, but the best description I can give is that the band and its music has a short life span. Sure, the music is fast and adrenaline filled, but I get bored after only 4 full-length listening sessions.

"Heroes" is album number 7 from the band and a lot of things have happened since the 2012 album "Carolus Rex". A total of 4 members left the band, leaving the singer Joakim Brodén and bassist Pär Sundström alone in the band. But even though more than half the band has been replaced, the sounds is more or less the same as it was before.

"Heroes" sets its lyrical focus on World War II with songs about several war heroes like Witold Pilecki ("Inmate 4859"), Leslie "Bull" Allen ("The Ballad of Bull"), and Lauri Törni ("Soldier of 3 Armies"). Sure, you could mark on that Joakim Brodén and Pär Sundström is only writing songs about war and battles and that it is starting to get tedious, but that is what they are passionate about, and their knowledge and research in the subject is impeccable.

As for the music, it is nothing really special. All of the songs have been done at least once in a previous album. It is grand power metal that is perfect for a trip to the gym, or for a killer gaming session if you are a couch potato. The only song that breaks the pattern is "The Ballad of Bull" which is, not surprisingly, a ballad. It is also a pretty grand song, but it loses my interest fairly quickly since it seems to fit a musical better than a metal album. Listen instead to the fist pumping "To Hell And Back", the hard hitting "Resist And Bite", the strong "Inmate 4859" and the epic "No Bullets Fly". Also check out the excellent cover of Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls".

But as stated before, Sabaton records tend to be short lived, and "Heroes" is unfortunately not different from its predecessors. The 10 songs adds up to a total play time of 37 minutes, which makes the album short and compact, and allows you to get the max out of every second. But since almost all the songs have about the same tempo and structure, you tend to get tired of them quickly. And after 7 albums with almost the same formula, it just doesn't have the same effect any more.

I'm sorry Sabaton, but you didn't convince me this time either. "Heroes" is without a doubt another solid album by the lads from Falun, Sweden, but thanks to its many similarities with previous albums from the band, it just feels that it is missing that extra level. The only thing that made me raise an eyebrow over this album is the anatomies of the two guys fighting in the cover, the rest just made me shrug. It is stability in musical form.

Songs worthy of recognition: To Hell And Back, No Bullets Fly, Inmate 4859

Rating: 6/10 Smoking Snakes

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