Release Date: 19th May 2014 (UK)
Review by: Cat A
Where to begin the introduction to the Swedish masters of Power Metal? That the BOA signing tent, aware of their reputation, put them in last because they would not leave before they had met every single person who had queued up. If you’re new to their unique brand of Metal then you may notice that the themes to the lyrics revolve around historical events, namely historical battles and wars, and they do their research. Their choice of subject matter has gotten them in to trouble on more than one occasion, with a misunderstanding causing them to be almost banned from Russia after someone declared them a “Nazi” band (see this).
Heroes is their eagerly-anticipated seventh (released) studio album, and as the title suggests the lyrics focus on those heroic acts that are perhaps go relatively unnoticed in the grand scheme of the World War II history books.
Operatic overtones above heavy guitars are the tone for the opener that instantly gets the energy pumping. Night Witches is about the female Soviet bombing crews. It’s a great choice of opener, and would do just as well at the start of a live set. If you have seen them play before, you will probably have mental images of the way in which Joakim Brodén throws himself around the stage like a five year old who’s had too much sugar. If the opener was the song that makes you jump, then No Bullets Fly is a more melodic, though no less powerful track, laced with moments that make you want to clench your fist and make grandiose arm gestures. Sabaton are power metal, after all.
I cannot review this album without giving an honourable mention to Inmate 4859. Now me being me, I had to go and Google the song titles to find out what they were singing about, and this one struck me. The actual “Inmate 4859” was Witold Pileki, a soldier and a member of the Polish resistance who voluntarily got himself arrested and subsequently sent to Auschwitz before escaping three years later. The song is just as powerful as you might expect.
As the name may suggest, The Ballad of Bull is a different vein entirely. Led by pianos with a liberal helping of string section Brodén shows that he can really, truly sing as the tempo is slowed right down. It’s another I can just envision being played live to an enthusiastic response. Resist and Bite starts off sounding strangely like AC/DC’s Thunderstruck. It works. You can listen to it by clicking here, and it is back to foot-stomping, hand-clapping, bass drum-driven sound that screams of Sabaton. The finale comes with Hearts of Iron, and in all honesty it doesn’t feel like it is the end of the album; I was left wondering just when the next song was going to start.
If you don’t like Power Metal that talks of battles, then you won’t like this. If you’ve listened to Sabaton and remained unimpressed then Heroes is not a groundbreaking leap into unknown territory by the camouflage-draped Swedes that will convince you otherwise. What Heroes is is a fantastic Sabaton album that goes down well, even if it does end a little abruptly.
Now please excuse me, I am trapped in a Wiki loop looking up battles and regiments.
Thanks for making education so fun Sabaton!
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