I don’t use the phrase “rip-roaring” a lot, (in fact I don’t think I’ve ever used it before in my life), but it is certainly the first phrase that comes to mind about this confident, bombastic, powerful and extremely fun album. If you haven’t heard Sabaton before, they have carved their own niche in the Power Metal world, its not just copying big bands like Helloween, Gamma Ray or Blind Guardian’s sound. Its not copying NWOBHM bands and speeding it up either. It is something a little more unique. There’s a loud, stadium feeling. Often mid-paced. You can almost hear the point at which the pyro is designed to go off in each riff. Its more about songcraft than virtuoso musicianship, more about experience than speed. The vocals aren’t even Halford or Dickenson inspired but are in a lower register. Sabaton’s lyrics even eschew the traditional wizards and goblins fare for interesting, highly-researched historical subjects.
Subjects up for discussion on this record include the Polish uprising against the Nazis, the Norwegian heavy water sabotage at Vemork and the Greco-Italian conflict in WWII. There’s one Metal themed song at the end, with tributes to the likes of Judas Priest and Metallica in the lyrics too, but its such good fun it doesn’t feel silly or cheesy even when sat beside serious songs about the Holocaust or real life Navel battles.
Musically; this album is a brilliant example of the band’s potential. Songs like the ferociously catchy “Midway,” the fun and melodic “Aces In Exile” and the absolutely magnificent “The White Death” are amongst the finest the band has to offer. The whole album is consistent, punchy, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. There’s enough variety to keep it from feeling samey, but a central style that holds it together and makes it feel focused. The production is flawless and it all sounds amazing.
Overall; Sabaton are a talented band with a distinct sound, their music is both interesting and fun, and Coat Of Arms is a strong Sabaton album that is well-made, well-produced and chocked full of memorable, catchy and incredibly enjoyable tunes. I recommend anyone who likes this type of music to give it a go.