Scandinavia is rapidly becoming the home off all that is best in Heavy Metal in 2015. Some of our favourite releases of the year have come from the chilly north, and the arrival of Gods and Generals, the band’s second album, was eagerly anticipated here at CBHQ.
So, live up to the expectations then ??
Well the first sign that you’re in familiar thematic territory comes when you peruse the track listing for the album. War Of The World, Bay Of Pigs, Braveheart, Back To Iwo Jima.. yep it’s another headlong charge through the planet’s military history swept along by a band who know how to fashion a proper heavy metal riff-fest.
The bombardment begins with War Of The World, which after a brooding orchestral intro kicks the album off at a gallop. The drums thunder and the precision twin guitar attack buzzes as you’re swept along at the star of a coursing, soaring journey. It’s a bonus that the lyrics are mostly pretty good, and the vocal delivery is faultless. Always nice to hear a proper Udo / Biff-esque heavy metal singer at full blast.
Scotland features prominently too, always a good thing !! Braveheart tells the story of William Wallace before we leap forward 640 years for The Mad Piper, a tribute to Piper Bill Millin who piped the troops ashore at Sword beach in Normandy on D-Day.
Last time around Civil War were arguably best known as the offspring of the schism in Swedish Power Metal titans Sabaton, and although 2013’s Killer Angels put clear blue water between them and Sabaton’s power metal sound the inevitable comparisons were still made. Fast forward a couple of years and having listened to this album, a lot, it’s great to hear Civil War have continued their evolution into their own distinctive selves. If it wasn’t for the subject matter you’d be hard pressed to draw comparisons to anyone else but as long as it’s so blatantly drawn from the same thematic pot they may never escape their past.
Still, if they keep turning out epic choruses like the one on USS Monitor we, for one, won’t be complaining
So, to wrap up, it’s a pleasant surprise how much variety the band squeeze into the 10 tracks that make up this opus. Much more than Sabaton Mk2, instead Civil War take their more traditional heavy metal route and armour plate it with expansive, almost symphonic, touches which make Gods And Generals one to delight fans of traditional heavy metal as much as the power metal hordes.