Album Review: Sabaton‘s The War to End All Wars
Sabaton, the super Swedish heavy metal quintet recently released their 20th album, The War to End All Wars. A kind of companion to their 2019 album, The Great War, the new work draws on similar bloodshed. While WWI was termed the war to end war, Sabaton takes a bigger historical chomp by calling this The War to End All Wars. Beginning with some historical background on what got it all started, Sabaton draws you in with the voice of Bethan Dixon Bate (not the singer, Joakim Brodén, mind you, who sounds way tough) giving you the details: Archduke Franz Ferdinand gets assassinated in 1914. The album continues to tell the stories of other historical figures, with symphonic hugeness and the metal tempo changes Sabaton really excels at. Sabaton does a great job with perspective as well in the badass “Soldier of Heaven.” There’s also a strong track called “Lady of the Dark” about the Serbian war heroine Milunka Savić, someone you just might not know about. My favorites? The blazing “Dreadnought,” “Soldier of Heaven,” and a song that sounds like a christmassy metal track, “Christmas Truce.” Now Christmas has arrived and the snow/turns the ground white/Hear carols from the trenches, we sing O holy night/Our guns laid to rest among snowflakes/A Christmas in the trenches, a Christmas on the front far from home. Rather heartbreaking.
WWI changed the face of war with all the gases introduced to warfare. And there was lots of mud. Lots of horrific injuries. As a side note if you’re into this time period, I recommend the excellent book The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon’s Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War by Lindsey Fitzharris.