Sabaton – The Last Stand
Release Date: August 19, 2016
Review by Tristan Peterson
Oh yeah, it’s Sabaton! They’re back.
The battle themed, power metal beasts return with 2016’s The Last Stand, and it delivers like heavy artillery.
Eleven years and seven albums into a touring career would normally be enough to dull the edge off even the most hardened bands, but it seems not for Sabaton. The Last Stand is wall-to-wall epic, with blasting drum beats and frenetic shredding, along with their signature keys and orchestrations.
The album, like Sabaton’s earlier release Heroes, is also a concept album in so far as each song is a recital of famous military defences, or ‘last stands’ from various armies, across time and around the world. However, defensive is probably the last thing you could call this album as it is an outright metal assault as it opens with Sparta, its climbing keys and power chords setting the tone for the album and providing a strong portrayal of The Battle of Thermopylae. (yes, the same one that was in 300)
The Last Stand is a well-crafted album, featuring tight sections of technical drumming and even tighter riffing, and is a seeming return to form from their earlier releases in the form of orchestral prominence. These heightened keyboards are not a distraction, though, rather they make an insistent showing, as they add a firm, epic layer to the stories of war. From Blood of Bannockburn and its stirring bagpipes to Shiroyama (named for their respective, eponymous battles) expressing the sheer power of vocalist Joakim Broden’s voice, the album has got some serious epic force behind it, with deceptively rich historical gravity. Even the final track The Last Battle and its strong hooks, with incredibly catchy riffs, is nothing short of commanding.
The upbeat and dominant chorus work is nothing new from Sabaton but it adds formidable weight to The Last Stand, making this a damn good album, a great addition to any collection for lovers of power metal and a must for Sabaton fans.