Whatever they do, Swedish power metal quintet Civil War will always stay linked to Sabaton. After all, the band was formed after Rikard Sundén (guitar), Oskar Montelius(guitar), Daniel Mullback (drums) and Daniel Mÿhr(keyboard) left the band that got famous mainly because of Joacim Brodèn’s specific powerful vocals. Honestly, on their second effort ‘Gods And Generals’, Sabaton is never really far away.
The many people that are already familiar with Sabaton already know what to expect: heavy metal hymns that are greasy, yet polished by keyboards and damn difficult to remove from one’s head. And with a band and album name like that, needless to mention that the lyrical inspiration, much like in the mother band, was gathered from great wars and battles.
The examples are pretty damn easy to find: take for instance the first single Bay Of Pigs, which obviously tells us about the Cuban missiles crisis back in 1961. USS Monitor handles about Vikings and af course Braveheart, much as the movie has Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace in a starring role.
So can’t we just stick to our Sabaton? – Some of you might wonder. The reason why I can only respond with a virtual horizontal shake of the head is singer Nils Patrik Johansson. I’d compare the vocal sound of the eldest Civil War member with the great Ronnie James Dio and Saxon frontman Biff Byford. Those are of course some serious names to be compared to, although it must be mentioned that the Swede doesn’t have quite as much presence in his voice as two of the most iconic vocalist heavy metal has ever possessed.
You could say there’s much of the same thing present, although there’s some surprising elements to be discovered. The first notes of the album for instance, we got some harp sounds. The bagpipes during The Mad Piper were somewhat more predictable. To be honest, I’d already expected them a song earlier, Braveheart that is. That song, like the somewhat slower Tears From The North has some clean piano keeping it all exciting.
Most of the songs have a somewhat more loose and even playful feel to them than Sabaton. The album closing titletrack on the contrary has turned out to be a textbook Sabaton song with the stowing guitars, double bass drums and supporting synths. Back to basics one more time, after an album that could be perceived as a sign of Civil War cutting itself loose from the mother band, though they always keep sticking somewhere around.