|Review: Sabaton - Coat of Arms|
|Coat of Arms|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Review online: July 3, 2010
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
for:Coat of Arms
What can I say about Sabaton? They've been happily plugging away at their weird little brand of keyboard-heavy anthemic power metal for about five or six years now, and they've been consistently putting out albums every year or two since then. This is their fifth effort, Coat of Arms, and it's good. That's all you need for an introduction, let's review this little firecracker.
Where this album lacks the accomplished and heavy songwriting chops of The Art of War, which was and still is their best, it makes up for it with the most condensed and tight set of songs the band has put out thus far. There are no eight minute epics and not a lot of variation in tempo and mood, but I would be a fool to deny the newfound maturity displayed in the songwriting here. The band has distilled all other elements from their sound except the catchiest choruses they could write and the hardest hitting riffs. No song lasts longer than it should, and each one is packed with simplistic ideas that accomplish the goal of pleasing the listener.
Keyboards swirl around the bouncy, rocking guitars and Joacim's deep, gruff vocals carry the music with an energetic pomp that I find endearing. The tempo varies from the speedy "Screaming Eagles," the ball-busting "Aces in Exile" and the old school Priest romp "Saboteurs" to slower pounders like "Wehrmacht" and the super-anthem "The Final Solution," with its perfectly executed synths and big chorus. Everything is streamlined as hell and handed to the listener on a silver platter, but it never feels cheap because, well, it's just well written music. The keys are poppy and the music is about as progressive as AC/DC, but it all really works and is articulated with maturity and sobriety.
This is ear candy metal for sure, but what I hear on Coat of Arms is a metric ton of well written and expertly placed hooks. There is an art to creating simple, catchy songs, after all, and on here we see Sabaton furthering their knowledge of how to do that. If you're not going to change your sound, at least keep doing what you're doing with finesse and class. And they have done that in full force. Here's to another five years of Sabaton albums, and may they continue to prosper in their quest to keep writing songs about war.
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