Artist: Civil War
Album: Gods and Generals
Label: Napalm Records
By now, Civil War should widely be known among fans of Sabaton and Power Metal in general. Why Sabaton? Taking the musical similarities aside, Civil War was formed by four ex-members of Sabaton after they left the band. So it’s basically Sabaton, right? Right? Well, maybe a bit. With Nils Patrik Johansson on vocals, Civil War released their debut only two years ago in ’13. With almost the same line-up, here we have it. Gods and Generals.
It isn’t hard to tell what the band is about after looking at the album art of their newest sapling. What would you expect after seeing such a cover? Probably lyrics about war. Most definitely the patriotism factor, comparable to Iced Earth’s The Glorious Burden. Although Civil War is hailing from Sweden, both assumptions are pretty spot-on.
In all honesty, I didn’t like the album when I listened to it the first time. It felt unnecessarily cheesy and generic most of the time. Now, Gods and Generals is probably the first record that jumped from biggest disappointment this year to contender for album of the year.
As said before, comparing Civil War to Sabaton is probably not a bad idea. It’s true that Civil War’s work can’t compete with albums like Carolus Rex but that doesn’t mean anything. As long as Civil War exist they will always stand in the shadow of Sabaton.
The album surprised me in its diversity. I won’t lie, I expected another Heroes and after seeing the cover art for the first time, I was almost sure. But this is not the case. Definitely not. There are rather heavy tracks on it. There are power ballads. And we even get a bagpipe! Songs like “Bay of Pigs,” “Admiral over the Oceans” or “Back to Iwo Jema” convey a nice and fun (live) experience while we also got the high-energy “USS Monitor” which has one of the best choruses I’ve heard in quite a long time.
Interesting about this record is that there’s pretty much something for everybody. Don’t like the keyboards? Take a listen to these sweet leads. Don’t like the leads? But the choruses are so damn catchy. Don’t like Johansson’s voice? Now, that’s tricky. It’s often a hit or miss for this guy with a lot of people but even if you don’t like his voice he does a great job on Gods and Generals and is more than fitting for the sound of the band.
Now, what is Gods and Generals? It would be unfair to just label it a Civil War Sabaton clone. They most certainly share common characteristics but that’s unavoidable and also not necessarily bad. The album is definitely not what I expected from Civil War, it’s way better in terms of chemistry. It works. They know what they are doing and it’s fun. Even if you don’t like Nils Patrik Johansson as a singer, it’s highly recommended to check this album out, not only because of the Sabaton vibe, but because it’s just a good and fun album from beginning to end and if you’re still not sure, I consider Gods and Generals to be much better than Heroes.