Daniel Myhr, Rikard Sundén, Peter Granar and Daniel Mullback are four former Sabaton-musicians comprising the band Civil War. The musicians left Sabaton after the recordings for the “Carolus Rex” album in 2012. But they wanted to continue making music, so they sought and found with Nils Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors, Lion’s Share) an outstanding singer of today and with Stefan Erikson an excellent bass player. With GODS AND GENERALS, the second album of the Swedes is out.
And what can be expected from former Sabaton musicians? Chants of course. “War Of The World” begins with plucked guitars, strings, a chorus and much bombast before the rhythm section then really gets down to business. Given the unique voice of Nils Patrik Johansson. The drums are driving and keyboard carpets decently inferior the sound. The middle part then shows up as bombastic anthem. “Bay Of Pigs” focuses on the failed invasion of Cuban exiles in the Bay of Pigs on the southern coast of Cuba in 1961. Strong melodies characterize this song.
The next two songs deal with the Scottish War of Independence against England. In “Braveheart” a piano accompanies the singing, while the choruses are instrumented catchy and punchy. These great guitar hooks. In “The Mad Piper” are, as it can already be expected due to the title, Scottish Pipes and Drums to hear. A Scottish mass band starts the song. The drums continue to dominate. A true battle anthem. For me one of the strongest songs on the album.
The “USS Monitor” was the first ironclad of the US Navy, which had its launching for the navy of the Northern states in 1862. The drums press ahead with the sound, double bass attacks create fast pace. In “Tears from The North” the pace is withdrawn. Width keyboard carpets are placed under the vocals. An anthemic power ballad. Grandiose guitar melodies round the whole. The theme is the Great Northern War between Russia and Sweden, which raged in the first two decades of the 18th century and where it went for supremacy in the Baltic area.
With “Admiral Over The Oceans”, the band applies to the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The British Royal Navy under Admiral Nelson added the hitherto seemingly invincible Spanish Armada a painful defeat. True to style, starts the song with ocean waves, a ship’s bell and a fired canon. The drums dominate here again, to be joined by catchy guitar melodies, good riffs and great choruses.
The Battle of Iwo Jima (Japan, literally Sulphur Island) was one of the bloodiest of the Pacific War in World War II (February / March 1945). “Back To Iwo Jima” describes the return of one of the few survivors of this former Japanese base. Powerful riffs characterize this song, Johanssons voice sounds insistently. The bombast was here reduced to minimum. Instead of keyboards or strings filigree played down tuned guitars dominate. The chorusses are held in a significantly lower pitch.
With worn tunes the gloomy theme is accommodated in “Schindler’s Ark“. The pace was clearly withdrawn, but I would not classify it as a ballad song. A great quiet anthem as a deep bow to Oskar Schindler, who employed about 1,200 Jews in his arms factories and thus saved them from certain death at Auschwitz.
Finally there will be the title track of the album. “Gods And Generals” has once more catchy melodies, bombast, double bass attacks and great choruses.
A successful second album of the Swedes, which often reminds that here play four former senior members of Sabaton. It is refined throughout by the outstanding vocal performance by Nils Patrik Johansson, who is occasionally referred to as the Dio of the present.
Video clip to “Bay Of Pigs”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXAvNLTWNMM
Daniel Myhr – Keyboard
Rikard Sundén – Guitar
Petrus Granar – Guitar
Nils Patrik Johansson – Vocals
Daniel Mullback – Drums
Stefan „Pizza“ Eriksson – Bass
Label: Napalm Records
War Of The World
Bay Of Pigs
The Mad Piper
Tears From The North
Admiral Over The Oceans
Back To Iwo Jema
Gods And Generals
Release date: 08-05-2015
Reviewer: Rainer Kerber