Album: The Last Stand
Release Date: 19th August, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast
Review by Sean
I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t enjoy the last Sabaton album Heroes. I felt that as the album went on, it got weaker, and less interesting. It started off well, and then about halfway through, it sort of just petered out. So when a friend of mine, who was a fan of Heroes, said that they loved this album, and that it was just like Heroes, I was set for disappointment, and that saddened me.
Sabaton are one of those bands that everyone loves at least one song by, and they’ve always been a fun band live, and genuinely nice guys off stage as well, taking time to party with their fans, chat to them, sign stuff, whatever the weather or how late it was. So when I got told that ‘The Last Stand’ was like their previous effort I was worried as well as being sad, because here was a band I loved. Not a single song of theirs was a bad one, until that album. Indeed, the songs they released prior to the full album release appeased me, even if I wasn’t a fan of ‘Blood of Bannockburn’ at first.
I would soon come around to loving that track, along with the entirety of the rest of the new release. It’s not like Heroes at all. It’s more like the best of every other album so far, and it shows. Admittedly, there are some familiar riffs in here, some things that old school Sabaton fans like myself might pick up as being from other points in the bands back catalogue, but it’s still a great effort from one of Power Metal’s flag bearers. Bombastic, overly cheerful at points, cheesy at others, and never relenting, it’s everything we’ve come to know and love from the band, despite band changes in recent years.
The album goes from strength, with countless singalong moments, catchy choruses, stuff that you just know is going to be amazing to hear live. It even has a guest speaking spot from Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth, which gives the score a boost (it’s not bias, shut up…..) right away. Album title song ‘The Lost Battalion’ is a stand out for me, as it’s so catchy I found myself hearing it in my sleep. I wouldn’t mind, but my dream was taking place in a cartoon world!
However, my favourite song is ‘Rorke’s Drift’, as I happen to love the film Zulu, so it was a nice surprise to hear a song about the battle that happened during the Anglo-Zulu war. I will also say, as will most Sabaton fans, that another personal favourite on this album is ‘The Winged Hussars’. Yes, the music sounds like it’s been taken from ‘The Art of War’ and slightly altered, as does the vocal sound, but it just doesn’t matter. It’s such a punchy, balls out song that it transcends that transgression.
In summary, this is NOT like Heroes. If you liked that album, then fair enough, some people juggle geese. However, this, for me, is the best thing they’ve done since Coat Of Arms.
02. Last Dying Breath
03. Blood Of Bannockburn
04. Diary Of An Unknown Soldier
05. The Lost Battalion
06. Rorke’s Drift
07. The Last Stand
08. Hill 3234
10. Winged Hussars
11. The Last Battle
Visit the band on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sabaton