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Review: Sabaton – The Great War

by Lukrecija Mesek
Sabaton cover
Sabaton cover

Sabaton – The Great War

1. The Future of Warfare
2. Seven Pillars of Wisdom
3. 82nd  All the Way
4. The Attack of the Dead Men
5. Devil Dogs
6. The Red Baron
7. Great War
8. A Ghost in the Trenches
9. Fields in Verdun
10. The End of the War to End All Wars
11. In Flanders Fields

Label: Nuclear Blast
Date: July 19, 2019

I don’t know where to start. You can’t imagine how happy I was when I heard that Sabaton is releasing their new album. As a huge fan of their work, I almost started screaming when I got the chance to write this review. So let’s see what they will bring us this time.

Sabaton bassist and lyricist Pär Sundström said:

We dive into the gloomy and bloody atmosphere of World War I. This frantic war shook the whole planet during 1914-1918 and caused devastating consequences that still echo to this day. World War I was also supposed to be the war to end all the wars. Well, today, we unfortunately know little bit better.

Sabaton did yet another great album. From the first notes you can hear their recognizable sound, but for now I will skip the part about sound and focus on stories behind each song.

“The Future of Warfare”:

On September 15, 1916, the first tanks were used in the World War I Battle of the Somme. The Battle of the Somme was fought from July 1 to November 18, 1916, along the banks of the Somme River in northern France. It was the Allies’ planned decisive breakthrough of the German line in France. According to the plan, the British would attack along a 15-mile front north of the Somme River while the French battled along an eight-mile front to the south of it.

“Seven Pillars of Wisdom”:

The Arab Revolt or Great Arab Revolt was a military uprising of Arab forces against the Ottoman Empire in the Middle Eastern theater of World War I. On the basis of the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence, an agreement between the British government and Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, the revolt was officially initiated at Mecca on June 10, 1916. The aim of the revolt was the creation a single unified and independent Arab state stretching from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen, which the British had promised to recognize. The Sharifian Army led by Hussein and the Hashemites, with the military backing from the British Empire and the British Egyptian Expeditionary Force, successfully battled and repelled the Ottoman military presence from much of the Hejaz and Transjordan. The rebellion eventually took Damascus and set up a short-lived monarchy led by Faisal, a son of Hussein.

“82nd  All the Way”:

The 82nd ID was a unit in the American Army during The Great War and saw action in the Argonne Forest. The “All Americans” as they were called earned the name because they had at least one soldier from all 48 USA states (at the time). The song talks about Sergeant Alvin York and his deeds that earned him a US Medal of Honor by charging a German machine gun nest, taking at least one machine gun and capturing 132 German soldiers.

“The Attack of the Dead Men”:

The Attack of the Dead Men occurred on August 6th, 1915, after the German army launched several gas attacks on the fortress, killing all but roughly 60-100 men from the defending force. In a last ditch effort to send the Germans back the men inside charged out of the fortress, many coughing up blood, and sent the Germans running mostly out of fear of their appearance, that being of dead men charging, covered in rags soaked in blood, guts, and vomit.

“Devil Dogs”:

The term Devil Dogs was coined in April 1918 by the Germans during the Battle of Belleau Wood, originally being Teufelshunde meaning “Dogs of the Devil” when literately translated. This is still the nickname for the United States Marine Corps today.

“The Red Baron”:

Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, ‘The Red Baron’ was born in Breslau, Prussia (today Wrocław, Poland) to a family that had a long record of state service. He is the greatest aerial ace of the Great War, with over 80 kills attributed to his name, earning him the Pour le Merite, one of Imperial Germany’s greatest honors. Richthofen painted his aircraft red, and this combined with his title led to him being called “The Red Baron”. Richthofen was shot and killed while flying on the 21st of April 1918, age 25. The circumstances behind his death are debated, but historians agree that an ground fire from the Australian Imperial Force that were in control of the area. Canadian pilot Captain Arthur “Roy” Brown was however credited for the kill at the time. “The Red Baron” is the second single from Sabaton’s upcoming album “The Great War”, a concept album dedicated to the stories of the First World War.

“Great War”:

“The Great War” is about the first World War in general. The horrors, modern techniques and tactics and the differences with other conflicts.

“A Ghost in the Trenches”:

Francis Pegahmagabow was an aboriginal Canadian sniper and scout during The Great War. He had an uncanny ability to sneak into and behind the German lines, along with impeccable eyesight; all of which helped him earn a total of 378 confirmed sniper kills and over 300 captured prisoners. After the war, he campaigned for equal rights for aboriginals in Canada.

“Fields of Verdun”:

The song is about the Battle of Verdun, a battle during WWI that took place from February 21st to December 18th, 1916. The Germans attacked countless times but continued to be pushed back by the French defenders.

“The End of the War to End All Wars”:

The song recounts the impact of World War I, which ended on November 11th, 1918 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. It was one of the most destructive wars in history, with an estimated 16.5 millions total casualties.

“In Flanders Fields”:

In Flanders Fields is a poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae who saw action there. Flanders is a region in Belgium, where heavy fighting took place during WWI. The fields of Flanders become covered with the red poppy flower during the war because the soil was fertilized by the bodies of the millions of soldiers who died. The poppy flower had already long been symbolic of death, and it soon also became symbolic of the war as a whole.

So, after this “short” history lesson, I will say that Sabaton creates perfect background  for stories they are singing about. Like every album before, they are bringing us powerful riffs and mighty drums combined with electric guitar solos. I couldn’t ask for more. They have perfected their sound over the years.

I have heard my friends complaining “but they always sound the same”, but somehow I believe that their recognizable sound is what I like about them, yet they always amaze me over and over again.

They were my number one help with history lessons in high school, so I guess I should thank Sabaton for helping me pass my high school history exams. This album, without a doubt, is going into my personal collection. Rock on guys!

 

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