Sabaton - The Art of War

Black Lodge
Produced by Peter Tägtgren

One joke act Sabaton have so far made a career out of writing songs about war. Their clever edge lies in the historical accuracy of their songs, which are based on real wars and real events, rather than the generic war songs often written by metal bands.

When they run out of significant battles to write about we'll see where they can take themselves, but for now they've got plenty of material to draw from. This album is slightly different, but still a variation on a theme. As the title would suggest it bases itself around the advice in Sun Tzu's legendary war manual 'The Art of War'. Choice quotes from the book open nearly every song and then the song itself tells of a situation in history where Sun Tzu's words were true.

The massive fist-pumping beat of the anthemic Ghost Division opens (Sun Tzu Says, The Nature of Warfare and A Secret are the only spoken parts to get their own track) and has an instant concert feel. Similarly the Rammstein-in-English title track The Art of War has a similar but slower rhythm punctuated by keyboards and big chords.

More traditional, faster metal from then on. Tracks like 40:1, Talvisota and Unbreakable are closer to a more focused Grave Digger, while Cliffs of Gallipoli and marching anthem Panzerkampf strike a middle ground between the two styles. Union (Slopes of St. Benedict) gallops like Blind Guardian playing Iron Maiden and The Price of A Mile is like a more solemn version of the slower tracks from earlier. Finally Firestorm fits its name with a high-speed pace but very little direction.

The Art of War is a very enjoyable traditional heavy metal album when not many bands are making classic heavy metal, so potentially depleting subject matter aside, Sabaton's music remains relevant and necessary in today's metal market.

“ anthemic ”

Tracklist: Sun Tzu Says / Ghost Division / The Art of War / 40:1 / Unbreakable / The Nature of Warfare / Cliffs of Gallipoli / Talvisota / Panzerkampf / Union (Slopes of St. Benedict) / The Price of A Mile / Firestorm / A Secret

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2008, Albums, Heavy Metal,

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