Sabaton are back with a new album. As always it’s about miltary history and they’ve chosen to write about the first World War for this album. It’s the war that was known as “The great war” and “The war to end all wars” and saw huge changes to the way wars were fought with the introduction of tanks, chemical weapons and more. As always Sabaton have written about some well known stories and people as well as some less well known people or battles – some probably unknown to anyone other than military historians.
Here’a brief overview of the stories covered by the various songs…
The opening track, “The future of warfare” is about the birth of the tank during the First World War and there’s a suitably industrial mechanised sound.
“Seven pillars of wisdom” is about TE Lawrence – Lawrence of Arabia and how he changed the course of the war in that area.
“82nd All the way” is about sergeant Alvin York in the 82nd airborne who single-handedly captured 132 Germans.
“The attack of the dead men” tells the story of the use of poison gas (chlorine gas) at osowiec fortress and how a small number of dying Russians repelled 7000 German soldiers. It’s a pretty horrific incident and in the same way that poison gas doesnt belong in this world, the song uses an odd synth sound that gives the song a slightly strange feel.
“Devil dogs” is about the US marines who earned this nickname after the battle of Bellau
“The Red Baron” is about the well known German fighter ace Baron Von Richtoven
“Great War” – this isn’t a song glorfying war, in fact it’s the opposite. It’s an Anti war song that uses Passchendale as an example of so many suffering for so little as huge numbers of soldiers on both sides died while the front-line only shifted a few yards each way.
“A ghost in the trenches” tells the tale of snipers bringing death as they move unseen like ghosts across the battlefield. In particular it’s about Francis Pegahmagabow who was the most effective sniper of the war with 378 kills. He was a First Nation with the Canadian forces and survived the war.
“Fields of verdun” is about the battle of verdun, the longest battle of the war, which lasted 303 days. From that battle we get the French idiom – “they shall not pass”.
“The end of the war to end all wars” is about the end of World War One on 11-11-1918
The final track on the album is something very different. There’s no music, and no member of Sabaton actually appears on the track – it’s simply a choir singing “In Flanders fields” , the famous poem by John McCrae. It may not be like anything that’s ever been on a Sabaton album before but it’s the perfect end to this album.
Overall it’s a superb album – still catchy power metal but it’s got a real serious and often dark side to it thanks to the stories they tell. The music is some of the best Sabaton have produced in many years and this really is a great album.
This is no celebration of war – this is about the reality and the horror of war as well as the stories of bravery and heroism that came out of it. Wars bring out the best in men and the worst and Sabaton tell stories of both aspects.
1. The Future of Warfare
2. Seven Pillars of Wisdom
3. 82nd All the Way
4. The Attack of the Dead Men
5. Devil Dogs
6. The Red Baron
7. Great War
8. A Ghost in the Trenches
9. Fields of Verdun
10. The End of the War to End All Wars
11. In Flanders Fields