Overall Score: 6/10 Epicness: 8/10 Variety: 4/10 Head-bang-ability: 8/10 Pros: Skillful | Historical lyrics | Massive tunes Cons: Repetitive
If you wanted a lazy and probably well-trodden comparison to describe Sabaton to someone who wasn’t sure who they are, you wouldn’t be too far off with Iron Maiden. It could be a compliment to the bands epic, melodic and historical-themed anthems, or a critique of both band’s nerdy appeal and inability to really develop properly. Or vice-versa. Metal is a confusing mind-field of opinions.
One thing you can’t deny is that the Swedish power metal quintet have the same relentless energy as their heroes. After six albums in seven years, it appears they needed some time to catch their breath, with a whole two years between 2012’s patriotic, sung history lesson Carolus Rex and their latest effort, Heroes.
This time around, fans are treated to 10 tracks covering everything from World War I to World War II, though for a change up the concept focuses on specific people and regiments who were regarded as heroic during those conflicts, the back stories of which actually seem like something worth delving into.
But while it’s great that people get an education with their metal, it seems more likely people listening to this will be more interested in the latter. Still, the odd history buff will probably enjoy the obscure references, and it is to Sabaton’s credit that they’ve managed to make themselves interesting enough while singing about them.
Musically there isn’t much to distinguish this album from any of their others. Every track is a solo-filled battle cry, whether it be a slow march like Inmate 4859 or the pacier Soldier of 3 Armies, which along with the subject matter does give them an edge, but you won’t be surprised by much here. From the driving opener Night Witches to the epic closer Hearts of Iron, everything is well written and well executed, but that doesn’t feel like enough to elevate this album above any other.
But it’s hard to imagine that anyone who would even remotely be interested in this would care that it’s the same. It’s not the worst crime in to churn out the same thing over and over, so long as genuine passion and skill go into it.
Heroes is a solid enough effort, but it’s really a fan’s only affair. Admirable as it may be that Sabaton have at least tried to break away from the crowd over their career, this album won’t be a break-through for them, it will merely be another Sabaton album.