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SABATON Heroes

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Thursday, May 1, 2014 @ 6:08 PM


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SABATON
Heroes

Nuclear Blast Records - 2014
http://www.sabaton.net/





The experience of listening to SABATON is a new one for me. I hadn't heard their previous work and for the most part I think I've really missed out on something with the band.

From the opening strains of "Night Witches" until the album ends, the music on Heroes is both electrifying and exhilarating. I can't remember the last time I've heard a power metal CD that managed to take me on such an enlivening musical journey.

All the songs on the album are written by vocalist Joakim Broden and each track revolves around some part of military history. Whether it is the Russian regiment in "Night Witches" or US soldier Audie Murphy in "To Hell and Back", Broden gives a musical history lesson on all things military, and makes it more involving than anything I ever learned in history class.

Upon first listen, I had a bit of trouble understanding Broden on "Night Witches". At first I thought he was a bit unintelligible and might have trouble handling the English language. As it turned out, it was more than my own apparently failing ears needed a bit of time to adjust to his throaty and muscular vocal delivery.

"No Bullets" was a wild trip that soared and dipped in tempo throughout the track always cutting loose at just the right moment.

I really loved the anthemic rocker "Resist And Bite", a song about a particular infantry regiment from the Belgian Armed Forces that resisted the Germans in WWII.

The phrasing and stylistic choices on "Smoking Snakes" is well done. The musical performance throughout the whole album blends together seamlessly in a very impressive manner.

The very brief intro to "Inmate 4859" is reminiscent of a children's tune but when the heavy rhythmic sonics kick in, the song manages to come off as an epic ode to a Polish soldier held captive in Auschwitz. It also manages to successfully straddle the line between the dark subject matter and the more uplifting portion of the story of the soldier's (Witold Pilecki) resistance.

The power ballad (a real misnomer given the actual subject matter of the song) "The Ballad Of Bull" reveals Broden as another gravelly voiced singer who initially sounds out of place singing such a slow and stripped bare vocal. But much like Udo Dirkschneider's ballad work, the meaty and raw emotive performance actually wins you over.

The song "Soldier Of 3 Armies" is a beautifully brutal assault on the senses, while "Far From The Fame" slams into you with a vicious vocal sound, particularly during the chorus. It is a bit funny how the word "Czechoslovakia" comes off so dark and evil sounding.

"Hearts Of Iron" looks at the end of WWII from the point of view of the defeated German soldiers and the song's vibe manages to make you feel as you are a direct witness to the events described within.

I'm sure long time fans of the band have known everything I've mentioned but for someone new to the band, it is always nice when any album can make your eyes and ears go wide in surprise and extreme musical pleasure.

How good is Heroes, you ask? There may yet be a long way to go, but the album has easily earned a berth in the fight for the title of metal album of the year. It is an amazing piece of work that makes you glad to be a metal fan.

5.0 out 5.0

Preorder your copy of Heroes in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.


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