Here we are treated to another release from legendary metallers, Sabaton! If you are a fan of Sabaton then you will be pleased by the new release ‘The Last Stand’. This outing continues the tradition of fast pacing, complex transitions from one song to the next and Sabaton’s signature sounds of folky-melodic heavy metal. Newcomers will be introduced to a world of various styles and mixes that very few other bands can pull off. Honestly, there are parts of this album that, while enjoying my first listen, I had to check to make sure my player didn’t jump to a different album by a different band. Some interesting transitions in the array of songs. Let’s take a look at the music on this beast!
‘Sparta’ is a fantastic open to this album with classic guitars, powerful riffs and an overwhelming chorus. You truly get pumped up for what is to come after this track. ‘Last Dying Breath’ continues this forward with excellent use of slower booming standard, which quickly builds into a jarring section that reminds me of one of my favorite childhood cartoons (G.I. Joe). The chorus is equally as impressive. ‘Blood of Bannockburn’ is a lighter shift to a very shanty-folk chant about the Scottish revolution. This track has more in common with Flogging Molly than traditional folk-metal. I enjoyed the rock organ making a return in this track as well! A major change of pace from the first two tracks, but still enjoyable.
Next, we have a two track section of ‘Diary of an Unknown Soldier’ painting a horrific visual of man being in the midst of a violent war setting. This quickly builds into ‘The Lost Battalion’, which continues a story of survival in a war still raging on. This mid-album journey from ‘Blood of Bannockburn’ to ‘The Lost Battalion’ is a strange course. After ‘Sparta’ and ‘Last Dying Breath’ building a nice bit of momentum, I was sort of put off by deciding to go into such a wild direction with the middle section. Not to say anything here is poor, just an odd bit of placement is all.
‘Rorke’s Drift’ would have to be my pick for this release’s killer track. This song has everything you could want from Sabaton. An excellent intro, transitions into a wondrous build up to yet another epic chorus. They lay out a terrific guitar solo and end in solid fashion. Our title track, ‘The Last Stand’, continues this into ‘Hill 3234’, welcoming the legendary guitars and keys that accompany Brodén’s classic vocals and speedy tempo. ‘Shiroyama’ is another venture for the band which tells a tale of a great battle between Samurai Empirical Forces. Lots of keyboards and electronic-tech sound in this track. Very well done.
‘Winged Hussars’ and ‘The Last Battle’ bring up the end, doing so in a very artistic fashion with more of what you’d expect from Sabaton, with winding guitars and epic choruses. However, once it is over you are left wanting more. This all comes to an end so quickly you’ll wonder if you are missing something.
The main gripe here is the entire album is around 37 minutes, being about 10 to 15 minutes short of an epic. There are eleven tracks that really could use an extra couple guitar solos here and there to fill in some empty spots. The strongest sections of this album are the opening tracks and then just around midway with ‘Rorke’s Drift’ up to the end. There are a few odd transitions early on but, overall, the sound is solid and each track brings something new to Sabaton’s already hefty table.
Also, notice the album is titled ‘The Last Stand’ and has many mentions of being the “final stand” or being the “end of the line”. Really hope this isn’t foreshadowing anything in regards to the future of the band. We’ve always enjoyed Sabaton’s work and feel like they can continue to build their fantastic discography for quite a lengthy time! Recommended, especially for longtime fans.
THE LAST STAND
Review by Joshua Jaeger
19th August 2016
2) Last Dying Breath
3) Blood of Bannockburn
4) Diary of an Unknown Soldier
5) The Lost Battalion
6) Rorke's Drift
7) The Last Stand
8) Hill 3234
10) Winged Hussars
11) The Last Battle
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"There are a few odd transitions early on but, overall, the sound is solid and each track brings something new to Sabaton’s already hefty table."