1. Night Witches
2. No Bullets Fly
3. Smoking Snakes
4. Inmate 4859
5. To Hell and Back
6. The Ballad of Bull
7. Resist and Bite
8. Soldier of 3 Armies
9. Far from the Fame
10. Hearts of Iron

Joakim Brodén – vocals
Pär Sundström – bass
Chris Rörland – guitar, backing vocals
Thobbe Englund – guitar, backing vocals
Hannes van Dahl – drums

Primo Victoria (2005)
Attero Dominatus (2006)
Metalizer (2007)
The Art of War (2008)
Coat of Arms (2010)
Carolus Rex (2012)


produced by Peter Tägtgren in Abyss Studios

Released 2014-05-18
Reviewed 2014-05-10


nuclear blast

All Quiet On The Western Front is the English version of the book Im Westen Nichts Neues (lit. translation Nothing New In The West), probably the most famous book about World War 1 and still used today - more than 80 years after its release. Today, though, there's fierce competition about being world war historians - at least among hard rock fans - from Sabaton. After getting down deep on the Swedish empire with their last album, the band has returned to doing what we know them to do - world war stories.

'Carolus Rex' had some fresh ideas that 'Heroes' left at that album as the band has returned to what they did on the releases prior to that. This is more 'Art Of War' or 'Coat Of Arms' and my opinion is that this album sounds like it could have been released somewhere around those two and not with an album in between. There were plenty of more things that separated 'Carolus Rex' from what they had done before and does here than just doing it with Swedish lyrics (well they did it with both Swedish and English lyrics) because also the music experimented with different tempos, they had big choirs doing vocal harmonies in both male, female and mixed gender version and a clearly more epic feel. But as far as I can hear it's not something they've carried on with on this album. 'Heroes' is clearly a step backwards and all though I can see why they've chose to do this I'll never understand why. With more than half of the members new in the band, Sabaton clearly didn't want to experiment on this one, but play it safe with things that has worked before. But going backwards is never the right way (unless you've hit a dead end).

I should make it clear that I really don't care wether Sabaton plays the way they played on 'Carolus Rex' or the albums prior, I don't hold anything Sabaton more dear than something else but I've never liked bands that doesn't even try to find something new with every album. Finding something new might end up doing something bad, but at least then you try to get better all the time (you might fail but at least you tried). 'Heroes' is definitely not something new for Sabaton, it's a step back from the choirs doing vocal harmonies, the female vocal elements and the tempo variations. Left is only the keyboard melodies (which is somewhat strange as they don't have a keyboardist any longer), the grandness and the silliness of their whole concept. Back are the world war themes and the uncomplicated and catchy songs played in hyper speed, like the opening track Night Witches as an example.

My first impression of Sabaton wasn't too flattering for the band and honestly I'm a bit surprised by the success of this band. It's more than their controversial choice of vocalist (though Joakim is the main song writer so that explains why he's in the band) but the first time I heard the band was at a concert a couple of years before their debut album was released and back then they looked and sounded like a group of buffoons making fun of the whole hard rock genre hadn't it been for the fact that they were serious. The difference in the band compared to a few years later when they had a couple of albums out was like night and day but they still looked like clowns in their military clothing and war themes. The fact that they had an album at the Swedish charts for more than 70 weeks with 'Carolus Rex' kind of turned everything about the band upside down for me and my contempt from the early years was eaten in a big plate of humble pie. So here is the album that should follow up on that success and the question is of course if they'll be able to triumph 'Carolus Rex' with an album that takes the music back to where it was before that album?

Well, I just can't see them succeed with that. I really can't see 'Heroes' reaching platinum and spending 70 weeks on the charts. They might make it top three again, maybe even get that first place they've sought after while their fans are happy with the result but somehow, to me at last, this is just a plain power metal album. It's nothing more, it brakes no new ground - conquers no new territories if you want - and doesn't sound too different from their previously acclaimed albums. Don't get me wrong, it's much better than the albums prior to 'Carolus Rex' (which is the albums I compare this one with) but it's not that different. It's the same kind of songs, played more or less the same way. A bit more technical with songs better written and a stronger sound all over… but when all comes around, still pretty much the same.

I think this is Sabatons best album so far, if not then at least not far behind, and they have improved on what they did on albums like 'The Art Of War' and 'Coat Of Arms' but I'm still disappointed. It's not because they haven't done a new 'Carolus Rex' that I'm disappointed but because it's just a new 'The Art of Arms' or 'Coat Of War'. The normal thing to do when you take one step backwards is to take two step forward, but Sabaton seems to have forgotten that. And that's why I can't help feeling that this whole album is like a long novel that we can call Nothing New In The Sabaton.

Ps. Best song on the album is Far From The Fame and I recommend you to avoid track five and six.




Label: Nuclear Blast
Three similar bands: Metalium/Hammerfall/Manowar
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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