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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Review: Sabaton – The War to End All Wars

Label: Nuclear Blast

Date: March 4th, 2022

Hm, war… All the people around the globe are talking about it right now. War time is a period of important questions and time we value peace, love and life itself more. It’s not something new and fresh but surely is a big deal. Throughout history many wars were lead, which changed the world and erased countries. Some of them started because of armies and hatred, some even because of a woman men are fighting for, but most of them start as a rebel of common people like World War One, popularly called Great War.

Some say it started in Bosnia when a young fella called Gavrilo Princip shot Prince Franz Ferdinand and some would say it started because of unexplainable instability in the World. History is written by winners so, we surely don’t know what the real story is.

But there are some really big metalheads in the role of history professors when it comes to war. People with quite good skills of writing history. Sabaton, the war metal Gods.

We don’t declare art of music as a part of history lesson, but the examples show us how this way of learning is much better and funnier for young ones. Many times I heard from my younger friends, when we are talking about something from the past, when it comes to some disagreement, they tell me: “But Sabaton song doesn’t say that!” So, Mister Joakim and company know how to convince fans in their lyrics. That’s what I call a good job. Sabaton, as one of the most popular music groups in Europe, are not just good to metalheads but also to others. By watching their live concerts I can say in the audience we can see a lot of children and even grandparents. Everyone who loves this kind of pompous presentation of history events is a fan of Sabaton.

As we are still counting a lot of events from The Great War and even now it’s still pretty fresh subject among history lovers, Sabaton put effort to present us some important battles and heroes. The worst thing someone can face is to be forgotten. So, as people who live in a free world we should be proud and grateful for their courage and never forget them. So, let’s see what they offered us.

If I look to previous albums of Sabaton and their big opus of music I can say this is their second album that has a specific subject. Previous album called “The Great War” is also telling us the most important events from The First War. “Fields of Verdun”, “The Red Baron”, “The attack of the Dead Men” are just some of them and of course “Last Dying Breath”. There are a lot of other singles besides those. This album now, called “The War to End All Wars“, is even better. It is more melodic and long-time awaited. Something I liked is that it has a closed structure. It starts with the song “Sarajevo” about “… shot that would change the world” and it ends with “Versailles”, about peace that was signed to make a permanent stability in the world.

Every song has its own atmosphere and even without looking in the lyrics we can conclude what it is about. “Sarajevo” was a big surprise for me because it’s telling a story about a famous murder of Austro-Hungarian prince Franc Ferdinand from the gun of a young boy Gavrilo Princip. Narratives in the beginning of the song are amazing. It’s some kind of overture for a marvellous song.

Of course, as every song with its own illustrated video, so does this one but if they make a real official video it would be great! As we are going through the album everything goes chronologically. After “Sarajevo” comes “Stormtroopers”, about people who started the fight.

In the middle of the album there are songs about famous fighters from the black continent, Serbia and the Netherlands and at the end “Christmas Truce” and “Versailles”. They even thought about years of war those events happened. It’s like a book, amazing! This kind of structure is important when the main subject is history.

The song I would like to comment specifically is “Lady of the Dark”. First, I like it because it’s made with special dose of respect that I felt while listening and, second, it’s about one special lady from my own country. Her name was Milunka Savić. She was an amazing girl who pretended to be a boy in many ways, in order to participate in the war for her land. She got a lot of medals for her courage but my country let her die poor and forgotten. Thank you Sabaton for remembering her and her actions!

I can notice that Sabaton is inspired by Serbia. They have a lot fans here especially since the single called “Last Dying Breath”, again dedicated to WW1. We are one crazy nation with a lot of problems but we have a lot of people Sabaton can even make more songs about.

I must admit some of these songs I didn’t even know what they are about. For example, “The Valley of Death” or “Dreadnought”. One that again took my heart away (that’s the third so far) is “Christmas Truce”. A video with all members of the band acting and that special event as the voice of peace is great and it sends a message, a big message, especially nowadays. There is no such hate between us, we can always be kind, on Holidays especially.

Every song is like a hymn, a hit and soon enough this album will be really popular. Maybe it won’t be popular like the songs “Sparta”, “The Last Stand” or “Primo Victoria”, but surely on the same level.

I can notice it here and I don’t like it, but it’s some kind of a mark of Sabaton that they have a lot of effects. It’s not just clear music. Those are effects that are making the songs even more pompous. If we take that away it wouldn’t be so special. Of course, Sabaton is making music that should be attractive for live gigs. We all know what their concerts look like but sometimes it’s too much. I don’t say it’s something that is making their music worse, quite opposite, it’s making it better but it shouldn’t be in every song.

At the end… Unfortunately, WW1 wasn’t the war that ended all wars but it was the overture to some even bigger evil that was growing underground. As old Roman people said: “Historia magistra vitae est (History is the teacher of life).” Maybe we can learn something from all these wars and start to think why they are happening. I can conclude this is one anti-war album and it was published just when it was necessary, so let’s listen to these songs once again before we choose sides and take to guns. Let’s celebrate life and the freedom our ancestors gave us by paying with their lives! Let’s not make the same mistakes! Long live Sabaton and peace!