The War to End All Wars by SabatonRelease date: March 4, 2022
Label: Nuclear Blast
I have a bit of a soft-spot for the power metal since 2010. Okay, the symphonic metal sound. From Within Temptation, Edenbridge, Delain, Epica, and bits of Sirenia. But since discovering bands like Blind Guardian and Sabaton from the VH1 Classic Metal Evolution Series tackling the genre, it’s always a small step to delve your toes in Sabaton’s water for the first time to see what I was missing.
Formed in 1999 in Falun, Sweden, they have been a part of the big four of the power metal genre. Sort of the like the thrash movement, Sabaton are up there alongside Blind Guardian with Helloween and DragonForce. They have released so far nine studio albums from 2005 to 2019.
They have won 11 awards. From the Metal Hammer Golden Awards, the Metal Hammer Awards in Germany, Rockbjörnen, and the Bandit Rock Awards including their sixth release Carolus Rex which won the 2013 best Swedish album of that following year. Most of the albums they’ve released tackle the themes of war.
It can be a challenging subject, but Sabaton stick to their guns covering the histories on the texts. Their tenth studio release on the Nuclear Blast label entitled The War to End All Wars, a sequel to their 2019 release The Great War, brings the story to a new beginning.
From Bethan Dixon Bate’s opening narration, she guides listeners into the battlefield with ‘Sarajevo’. Tackling the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. You get this understanding of the tragic events as the clock begins ticking for the incident that’s about to occur.
The duelling lead and heavy guitar riffs, have set up this massive attack between Tommy Johannson and Chris Rörland. They get their engines all revved up to set up this sing-along chorus before all hell has broken loose in an arpeggiated tone for the ‘Stormtroopers’ to occur. Brodén’s vocals are very strong.
He sends his fellow comrades to fight and sacrifice while heading towards the danger that’s happening. Thanks to the eruptive gunfire from Dahl’s drum kit, ‘The Unkillable Soldier’ has an operatic form like no other! You feel the doubling guitars, drums, and vocal lines, galloping down these powder kegs that are waiting to erupt.
Sabaton get down to business when they have enough ammunition by setting up another attack that awaits them. And believe me, when the clock strikes at midnight, they’ll be ready to have their cannons blasting.
‘Soldiers of Heaven’ sees Brodén going towards an ‘80s synthesised approach on his keyboards from the New Wave-era. It has a helicopter-like sound while the shredded lead section sets up a cry to the gods once they reach the mountain top at the very end.
‘Race to the Sea’ has some mellotron-sque like sounds that Joakim creates for the choir to come in. He knows that there’s no turning back, but going out in a blaze of glory as it channels Dio’s Holy Diver-era while the ‘Lady of the Dark’ pays tribute to Milunka Savić, a female Serbian soldier who fought in the Balkan Wars and the first World War.
You feel the band tipping their hat to Savić, who not only took her brother’s place from death, but having this tragic life after the wars she encountered. Sabaton’s song to her is so powerful, it is filled with pure honesty as ‘The Valley of the Death’ goes in for the kill.
I love how Johansson and Rörland are finally setting up the cannons to be filled up with more round shots for the next patch of enemies to be destroyed. They duel it out like crazy, but you can tell that the chemistry is there. And it’s quite a treat to hear that orchestrated arrangement.
The War to End all Wars should be taught in History classes. From Middle School, High School, and in Colleges. Even though the students may not be familiar with the stories, Sabaton are like teachers giving the classes a big lesson about the wars in different time frames with epic metallic vibes. This album is a jaw-dropping momentum like no other.