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I know Sabaton have amassed a huge legion of fans over the last five years, especially in the UK where they have taken off like a fully armed tornado (they even have their own festival and cruise), but I think I might just be about to upset a few of them. Bear with me though, because I will try to explain why I feel that way. I've always had a soft spot for Sabaton; in fact, I've been a fan since almost the beginning. They have released some great albums, and when I saw them supporting Dragonforce in 2009, I think they blew the main band off the stage and, quite rightly, got an incredible crowd response. There is no doubting the musicianship, from either the old or newer lineup, the passion or stagecraft and, in vocalist Joakim Brodén, they not only possess a great singer but also a real character.

I can now hear you saying: "If you think all that, then what's the issue?". Well, since they've broken through, they have become ever more cheesy. Now, I'm not jumping on the horrible "oh, they've made it therefore I cannot like them" bandwagon because that's simply not true. Sabaton have always been a bit cheesy and their seventh album 'Heroes' is undeniably catchy; in fact, it's so full of hooks and bouncy Sabaton style power metal that it's really hard not to join in the fun and just accept it for what it is. Unfortunately, whereas other bands such as Turisas and Lordi are releasing ever more mature sounding releases and keeping their fanbase, Sabaton appear to be dumbing down to please the masses. There are more than a handful of tracks on 'Heroes' that really could be Sweden's next entry in the Eurovision Song Contest and it sort of pains me to say that. Yes, I know Lordi went down that route, but that was eight years ago and they've gone onto bigger and better things as far as I'm concerned. I didn't expect Sabaton to be travelling in the opposite direction.

Of course, If you're a big fan and are happy for them to continue on this path then 'Heroes' will be an unadulterated joy for you and you can put on your army surplus gear to bop along to them when they hit a stage near you because this album will sell by the truckload, and Kerrang will be frothing at the mouth trying to prove to everyone they are still a viable publication by putting this lot on the cover. If, on the other hand, you want something deeper and more mature sounding from your rock & metal then this album is not the way to go because Sabaton appear to be moving ever further away from any maturity they once had into the arms of thirteen year old metal chicks and rock dudes.
Nuclear Blast
Review by Rick Tilley
16th May 2014
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 4 Armies
9) Far from the Fame
10) Hearts of Iron
"There are more than a handful of tracks on 'Heroes' that really could be Sweden's next entry in the Eurovision Song Contest..."