Sabaton’s brand of war-themed power metal has seen them rise up through the ranks of the power metal leagues. A combination of strong releases & great live shows has really helped Sabaton be taken more seriously & The Last Stand, Sabaton’s 8th album seems ready to push them to even more heights.
It does seem as if they are on the cusp of greatness with a hefty amount of expectation surrounding this release.
Sparta starts off things with a bombastic blast of music that is a call to arms for fans of power metal. It’s a catchy simple number that never rises above its initial intro unfortunately. It’s about as close to an anthem as you’re going to get here, The Last Stand is just lacking in huge fist-pumping songs.
Some songs can best be described as boring, something power metal should never be. Last Dying Breath, Rorke’s Drift (even the guitar solo lacks bite), Hill 3234…are forgettable. All have plenty of hooks & riffs but nothing that jumps out & screams ‘listen to me!’
The songs that offer a bit more variety in sound are often the best on the album. Blood of Bannockburn & it’s Scottish theme is interesting with good use of bagpipes, a rare highlight on an album that lacks them.
Winged Hussars is another strong one that has a bit more soul to it. A catchy beat with a vocal hook that really shows of singer’s Joakim Brodén talent. The guitar solo is really nice & the mournful tone makes the song almost ballad-like.
11 songs long (2 more on bonus additions), it begins to drag after a while & it becomes a real struggle to concentrate on the perfectly good power metal that is being played. This is not a bad album, far from it. It’s just disappointing that it isn’t better, it’s disappointing that it hasn’t made my heart soar the way the best power metal does.
Production-wise, The Last Stand has plenty of polish with no one member of the band dominating the other. It might sound a bit too smooth for fans of harder, rawer music but it fits power metal perfectly.
Damn it, Sabaton. I wanted to love this. Unfortunately all I can say is that I like it.
Overall Track List:
2. Last Dying Breath
3. Blood of Bannockburn
4. Diary of an Unknown Soldier
5. The Lost Battalion
6. Rorke’s Drift
7. The Last Stand
8. Hill 3234
10. Winged Hussars
11. The Last Battle
12. Camouflage (Bonus Track)
13. All Guns Blazing (Bonus Track)
Sabaton - The Last Stand (Nuclear Blast)
- The Final Score - 6/106/10