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Sabaton
The Art of War

Company: Black Lodge
Release: 2008
Genre: Power
Reviewer: Raising Iron

  • Power metal with a bit of bombast



  • After the release of 2008's The Art of War, Sabaton more than deserve to be on a major metal label to get some much more needed promotion. The band continue with their dissection and disposition of all things related to war, but on this release, they construct a unique spin on the idea of a concept album.

    For the unstudied, The Art of War is actually an infamous book written by the Chinese mathematician, Sun Tzu, somewhere in the 4th century B.C. The premise is built into 13 chapters, each revealing an aspect of military strategy based on Taoist beliefs. What Sabaton have done is written 13 tracks, each based on chapter of the book. What makes this album slightly more unique is not that they wrote songs directly about a chapter from the book, but rather they wrote songs about actual, historical military conflicts that were fought using the principles described in a given chapter.

    Enough of the history lesson and lyrical content though, let's get on to the hearty ration of music on the march here. The thing that's instantly striking about this release is the prominent placement of keyboards in the song structures; they don't necessarily dominate the songs, but they are up front and bear the breaks in the songs between one section and the next, yet the guitars are still heavy, prevalent, and carry the day. The Swedish accent and gruff tone of vocalist Joakim Broden lends an air of authenticity to the stories, especially with his forcefully rolled "rrr's". The entire campaign is wrapped up in an accelerated, mid-paced procession of traditional heavy/power metal. The songs are quite catchy, especially come chorus time, and capture the stories well. The huge choruses in "Panzerkampf" and "The Price of a Mile", will have you singing along in no time, and have to become cornerstones of their live show. There really isn't a bad song on here; there being an actual ten of them, while the remaining three tracks are short, female spoken word. Other songs begin or end with similar short spoken word sections, giving a quick description as to the theory of the given chapter, and whilst the songs are good, they're covering heavily trampled terrain, as there's nothing truly new or ground-breaking with this disc.

    The cd can be ordered in traditional jewel case version, or if you're looking to learn a bit more, there is a deluxe edition available which comes with a copy of the book. If you're already familiar with Sabaton, you're sure to like this, as it's easily their best work yet, and if straight up, heavy, power metal with a bit of bombast is youre tactical choice, these soldiers will win you over!


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: SABATON
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Attero DominatusSabaton
    2006
    Etiam9/14/2007
    HeroesSabaton
    2014
    Eric Compton5/2/2014
    Primo VictoriaSabaton
    2005
    Eric Compton3/24/2005
    The Art of WarSabaton
    2008
    Raising Iron4/7/2009


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: SABATON
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Carolus RexSabaton
    2012
    Greg Watson5/12/2012
    The Last StandSabaton
    2016
    Eric Compton9/12/2016


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: SABATON
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
    Joakim BrodnSabatonEric Compton5/16/2005


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