Throughout time, Sabaton
demonstrated that they sure know their lesson perfectly - nonpretentious songs, easy-to-swallow compositions, catchy melodies composed from the heart and aiming for that of the listener. Without any surprise, that's all present once again in their fresh new effort "Coat of Arms". After the release of its predecessor - "The Art of War
", the band showed its fans they shouldn't expect anything less than familiar hit-like conducted sound, outstandingly direct choruses with powerful choir participation and melodic guitar solos merged with heavy riffs and keyboard passages. Needless to say, Sabaton
found its solid niche long ago and stick to it like glue, which of course isn't bad when you're one of the most successful "newschool" bands coming from such an overproductive country as Sweden.
"Coat of Arms" is not an exception from their well-known tendencies in any way - it's a fairly good album indeed, but what some people might come to miss after several spins is the lack of emotional charge that the bombastic "The Art of War
" got and used very well. For example, "Cliffs of Gallipoli" had the necessary power in order to make any listener's blood boil, while on "Coat of Arms" the band tried to repeat the same experiment with "Uprising" and "The Final Solution", but couldn't reach the previous expressive scale at such a high point.
The other minus (if it is such at all) is that the beginning of the album sounds way more accelerated than the end, thanks to smashing songs such as "Screaming Eagles", the Greek-Italian warlike massacre "Coat of Arms" and "Midway", concentrated in the first half of the record. These songs are composed in the vein of the most worthy traditions in Sabaton
's music and are bound to become future classics and favorite tracks for many fans.
It's interesting to follow the lyrics once again - the most successful ones in this case are those from "Wehrmacht
", "The Final Solution" (unobtrusive as it is in compositional approach) telling of massive persecutions, Auschwitz chaos and holocaust, "White Death
" with it's tale of the Finnish hero Simo Hayha who killed an impossible number of foes during the Winter War
, etc. In the end, the only thing that was damn necessary and is not present here is one solid, hit-oriented ending of the album created via Sabaton
's trademark - "Metal Ripper
" on a pure musical level is in no way worthy enough to contribute to the legacy of hits such as the golden epics "Metal
Crue" and "Metal Machine
Overall, the solos in the record are performed magnificently as expected, though the band uses more hard-rockish tunes here and there ("White Death
", "Midway", "The Final Solution"). Maybe they got "back in time" for inspiration, but nonetheless it always sounds nice when it's being mixed with their favorite melodies and verse constructions, not to mention Joakim's breathtaking vocal performance and the strikingly powerful choir usage in the entire album.
It's out of the question to compare the record with jewels such as "Primo Victoria" and "Attero Dominatus" which marked the brilliant start for Sabaton
's career. Nevertheless, at some point "Coat of Arms" might become a serious matching rival to "The Art of War
" since both albums develop in a similar way with the most bombastic production ever heard of the Swedish guys up to date. Throughout all these years of touring and massive concert schedule, Sabaton
proved to be a fantastic stage performer, so I guess we just got our next pleasant surprise in the face of the new addition to their discography.