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Review: Sabaton - The Art of War
The Art of War

Label: Black Lodge Records
Year released: 2008
Duration: 49:28
Tracks: 13
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: May 20, 2008
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.75/5 (74.9%) (51 Votes)

I didn't even know Sabaton were working on another one. After the high note of Primo Victoria it seemed like this band was always going to be stuck trying to keep up with themselves. Attero Dominatus was a decent album, but it was hampered by trying too hard to be Primo Victoria 2 and not measuring up. The re-release of their forgotten debut was a bad sign, as it seemed like maybe they were already out of gas. Thankfully, that is not true, and The Art Of War is probably their best album so far.

"Ghost Division" is a killer opener, with a big, hooky chorus and crunchy guitars. Other highlights are the dark, heavy title track, "40:1", "Unbreakable" and the epic "Cliffs Of Gallipoli". There are no lame songs here and this is just more of what we love Sabaton for: big riffs, big choruses, and gruff, hollering vocals. The production is huge, and the songwriting is a lot less simplistic than on past efforts. "Cliffs Of Gallipoli" even makes use of a piano (!) to add an almost Savatage-like feel.

But, yeah, the narration, um... Okay, Sabaton took the concept too far by having some chick read excerpts from Sun Tzu's book as opening and closing bits on every track. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, but mostly it's just silly. I have found that on repeated listens I just kind of tune it out, and it really doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the album, but they should have resisted the urge to include it at all.

Aside from that, this disc is all gold, with some of the best songs Sabaton have ever recorded. If you liked their other albums, then this is probably the most consistent one they have done, and I certainly recommend it. Not an album to miss, no matter how the narration may annoy you.

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