Sabaton - World War Live... Battle of the Baltic Sea (Nuclear Blast/Riot)

The Swedish power metallers gather together all their best bits... and play them live on a boat in the middle of the Baltic.
Release Date: 
19 Aug 2011 (All day)

As an Englishman, I’ve often snorted with a mixture of derision and amusement at bands like Sabaton. There’s something about Euro heavy metal that, although almost entirely irresistible musically, sparks a sort of condescending glee in metal aficionados from Shakespeare’s sceptered isle that is really very uncalled for indeed.

Of course, as I’ve just said, if you love this style of music – and I do – you’re not left with a whole lot to pick from if you can’t take mainland Europe seriously as your primary source of musical jollies. Europe – and in particular Germany and Sweden – is where it’s at for power metal (It really is. I will not even attempt to offer Power Quest and DragonForce as credible British alternatives, though both have their moments), so people like me just have to grin and bear it and get on with the business in hand. If you can’t beat em, etc etc.

And so back to Sabaton. They ain’t the best of their breed, but on this live album they gather together enough high quality meat and potatoes power-tinged metal to make you think seriously about investing some hard-earned in their next studio outing, whenever that may appear. Peddling an at times epic mix of Manowar and Maiden that never indulges in the levels of cheese that you might find on something from, say, HammerFall or Power Wolf, they batter away in stoic fashion through thirteen decent martially-themed tales of glory, all of which aise a smile without fully inspiring you to break out your air-instrument of choice. Aces in Exile comes close, as does Primo Victoria, whilst the standout cut here, Cliffs of Gallipoli, could well be a Savatage offcut (which is obviously no bad thing) but too often the band just fall shy of greatness to make this a purchase for anyone other than those who are already in their corner. The main problem throughout for Sabaton would appear to be the limitations of vocalist Joakim Broden, whose slightly one dimensional voice doesn't quite do justice to what's going on around it, without ever letting the side down if you see what I mean. Not all good news, then, but I am going to buy their next effort to see where they go from here– no doubt about it.