CIVIL WAR

Power Metal / Heavy Metal • Sweden
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Civil War is a Sweden war themed heavy/power metal band, formed in 2012 by ex-Sabaton members Rikard Sundén, Oskar Montelius, Daniel Mÿhr and Daniel Mullback. They soon recruited bassist Stefan Eriksson and vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson, to complete their lineup. While they have similar lyrical themes and a similar sound overall, their music is a bit heavier and more traditional, compared to Sabaton.

In 2012 they released a single and an EP, followed by two more singles in 2013 in advance of their official debut The Killer Angels, released that same year. In 2014 they added guitarist Petrus Granar to their ranks, and at the moment they are working on their sophomore release.

- biography by DippoMagoo, September 2014
Thanks to DippoMagoo for the addition

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The Last Full MeasureThe Last Full Measure
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Gods & Generals With Bonus TracksGods & Generals With Bonus Tracks
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CIVIL WAR Discography

CIVIL WAR albums / top albums

CIVIL WAR The Killer Angels album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Killer Angels
Power Metal 2013
CIVIL WAR Gods and Generals album cover 4.92 | 2 ratings
Gods and Generals
Power Metal 2015
CIVIL WAR The Last Full Measure album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Last Full Measure
Power Metal 2016

CIVIL WAR EPs & splits

CIVIL WAR Civil War album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Civil War
Heavy Metal 2012
CIVIL WAR Wolfsnächte 2015 Tour EP album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Wolfsnächte 2015 Tour EP
Power Metal 2015

CIVIL WAR live albums

CIVIL WAR demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

CIVIL WAR re-issues & compilations

CIVIL WAR singles (4)

.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Rome is Falling
Heavy Metal 2012
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
I Will Rule the Universe
Heavy Metal 2013
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Saint Patrick's Day
Power Metal 2013
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
First to Fight
Power Metal 2013

CIVIL WAR movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

CIVIL WAR Reviews

CIVIL WAR The Last Full Measure

Album · 2016 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
DippoMagoo
It can be an amazing experience to see a “supergroup” that initially started out in the shadows of an already well-established and highly regarded band develop their sound over the years to become their own equally impressive entity. The latest example of this is Civil War, a band initially consisting of four former members of Swedish band Sabaton, one of my personal favorite metal bands of all time. While I initially treated the group as a fun but inferior knock off, their second release Gods and Generals went a long way to dismissing that notion and proving that they could stand strong on their own, and now with their upcoming third full-length release, “The Last Full Measure”, they have further pushed their own sound and created their best release yet. In fact, (and this will be the last time I make a direct comparison, I promise, because I love both bands,) I’d go as far as to say that in a year where they both released new albums, Civil War has won the battle this time around.

The band went through their first lineup change in between albums, with guitarist Oskar Montelius and bassist Pizza both leaving, but instead of replacing them, the group decided to carry on with 5 members, and this was probably the best decision, as the songwriting hasn’t suffered one bit and the group still sounds as great together as ever. On a surface level, the new album still has the same approach, as usual, featuring a collection of epic melodic metal tracks which all deal with various historic battles, and musically all the elements from their previous albums are in place, with a nice mix of heavy riffs, melodic guitar leads, and keyboards aplenty, as well as some symphonic touches here and there. Like the previous album, this one features a nice variety of tracks, with some being fast and hard hitting, some being slower and calmer, and of course there’re some nice surprises thrown in on a couple tracks to keep the listener guessing, so there’s never a point on the album where the music starts to feel predictable. Obviously, the musicians all do a great job and of course, Nils Patrik Johansson is outstanding on vocals, changing his voice up in surprising ways on a couple tracks, while still sounding as powerful as always.

One thing I’m interested to see is where the band goes from here conceptually: For those who don’t know, these first three albums have all been named after a trilogy of books, the first of which was written by the late Michael Shaara, while the latter two were written by his son Jeffrey, so now that the band has reached the end of the trilogy, I’m interested to see where they go from here. But obviously, that’s something that will be answered in the future.

Sticking to the present, “Road to Victory” is the kind of explosive opening track fans would expect, starting off with a brief keyboard intro before taking off at a blistering pace, which it keeps up for the remainder of the track. It’s exactly the kind of uptempo, guitar driven track this band can always deliver and it features some great riffs, a nice solo and of course some excellent vocals from Nils Patrik, especially during the chorus. Fans looking for more speedy passages don’t need to wait too long as after starting out as a somewhat subdued mid paced track, “Deliverance” speeds up during a fantastic guitar solo in the second half and from there it takes off and becomes a pretty spectacular song. Towards the end, there’s a dramatic pause before the final run through the chorus, which is surprisingly effective.

The first mainly slower paced track is “Savannah”, a more melodic keyboard driven track where Nils Patrik uses some very light vocals during the verses, before going back to full power during the chorus. It’s a nice track with some very epic vocal melodies, and the chorus is quite catchy. It also has a very nice solo that transitions from guitars to keyboard partway through. Next up is a unique track on the album, “Tombstone”, where the verses are much lighter than normal and the keyboards lead the way. I don’t know how to describe the music fully, but it sounds rather bouncy and maybe a bit folksy, and Nils Patrik sings with a bit of a western accent during the verses, which makes for a pretty neat effect. Then the chorus comes and it’s extremely fast-paced and powerful, with some of the strongest vocals on the album. It’s certainly quite the amazing track all around, and even if I can’t fully describe those verses, they sure are a lot of fun.

Things settle down a bit in the middle portion of the album, with a focus on slow to mid-paced tracks. One area where the band stands out against their counterpart on these tracks, though, is that instead of relying more on the keyboards, tracks like “America” and “Gangs of New York” both use some great melodic guitar leads, that give them more of a classic heavy metal feel, with the former especially using these in an effective way, and it also features a great solo as well as a huge highlight with the last run through the chorus. In between those two is “A Tale That Never Should Be Told”, another slower track, though this one makes effective use of some symphonic elements and it has a much darker tone than the others, as well as some heavier guitars at points. Its highlight is definitely its chorus, which is probably the catchiest on the entire album: I sure had it stuck in my head all day after hearing it for the first time.

As we approach the end, “People of the Abyss” is another mid-paced track, with some great riffs and some nice keyboards in the background, while “Gladiator” is quite the surprise, as it’s easily the most ferocious, hardest hitting of the speedier tracks on the album. In fact, it’s probably the band’s most aggressive sounding track to date, and yet it still has an epic chorus where Nils Patrik shines as always. Lastly, we have the title track, which feels like a perfect summary of the album on the whole: It features some nice melodic guitar leads, ambient keyboards in the background, heavier guitar passages, especially in the middle, symphonic elements, and even an epic speedy passage in the second half. And of course, it has a pretty damn awesome, super catchy chorus where Nils Patrik steals the show one last time. It’s certainly the perfect way to end albums, and it stands out as one of the biggest highlights. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the end, as there are also two bonus tracks, both of which are featured on my promo copy. “Strike Hard, Strike Sure” is another faster track with a fun chorus, while “Aftermath” is the lone ballad of the album and a pretty nice one indeed.

All in all, The Last Full Measure is one heck of an amazing album, featuring a great mix of speed, heavy riffs, epic melodies, and fantastic vocals to go along with the expected war anthems. While I initially underestimated Civil War after their debut, they have proven to me with these past two albums that they not only deserve to exist as their own band, but they can stand out from the pack as one of the very best. Highly recommended for any existing fan of Civil War, and for all fans of melodic power metal who want to hear some truly unforgettable songs.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: http://myglobalmind.com/2016/10/21/civil-war-last-full-measure-review/

CIVIL WAR Gods and Generals

Album · 2015 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
DippoMagoo
When it comes to epic heavy/power metal anthems based around historical battles, one band that immediately comes to mind is Swedish group Sabaton, who by this point have mastered their own style. In 2012, four members of the band (Rikard Sundén, Oskar Montelius, Daniel Mÿhr and Daniel Mullback) left and decided to start their own band Civil War, along with bassist Stefan Eriksson and vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson. The next year their debut The Killer Angels was released, and while Nils Patrik helped add a unique flavor to the sound, and musically it was a really solid release, I found too many songs bordered on straight up imitation (“I Will Rule the Universe” in particular felt nearly indistinguishable from many mid tempo Sabaton tracks, aside from the vocals.) It was a quality debut, no doubt, but I was left hoping the band would do better next time. Now in 2015, after going through some lineup changes (including the departure of original members Oskar and Stefan, as well as the addition of guitarist Petrus Granar) they’ve returned with a revamped sound, ready to unleash their second full length release Gods and Generals. This time around I think they’ve struck the right balance between sticking close to their roots and being more creative with their songwriting, which has resulted in an early 2015 favorite of mine, and certainly a big upgrade from their debut.

As expected, Gods and Generals has a few very bombastic speedier tunes which deliver the kind of epic power metal this lineup excels at. However, many tracks are surprisingly more laid back, starting off slowly with keys, orchestras and percussion, before building up to the huge choruses and melodies fans would expect. There are still times where the guitars come through, in fact on a couple tracks the riffs get surprisingly heavy, but on the whole this album is much more dominated by vocals, keys, orchestras and even the drums at times. I find the production much cleaner on the faster songs this time around, which gives added power to those tracks, but somewhat surprisingly, it’s the slower and more melodic tracks that sound the most impressive. As with any album of this type, listeners can expect a nice balance between speedier tracks and mid tempo tracks, though this album also has a few surprisingly calm and slower songs, so there’s a pretty good variety to the songs.

As on The Killer Angels, vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson is the member who most helps to set the band apart from the rest. I always loved his dynamic vocals he displayed with Wuthering Heights over the course of three albums, but I found his work with Astral Doors to be solid but more limited. On The Killer Angels he added an extra edge to the music, which helped give the band an identity of their own even on the more familiar sounding tracks, and this time around it feels like the band has shifted their sound just a bit to help emphasize his vocals even more. The perfect example of this is “Braveheart”, a very theatrical sounding mid paced track which starts out with keys and orchestra before Nils Patrik takes over, and it’s his epic high pitched wails that help turn an already great song into an instant classic. At the same time, the softer tracks allow him to use his vastly underrated lower register, which sounds as impressive as ever on tracks like “Tears From the North” and “Admiral Over the Oceans”.

Instead of starting off with an intro track, album opener “War of the World” kicks off slowly, with keyboards and orchestras, lasting for around a minute or so, before the rest of the band kicks in and the tempo instantly picks up, turning into the fastest song on the album, as well as one of the catchiest. I like how the guitars have a more distinct sound to them, right off the bat, with more of that classic galloping guitar sound, which goes a long way towards avoiding the feel of sameyness that plagued the faster tracks on the debut. The chorus is certainly a highlight, but the epic guitar solo certainly isn’t far behind, and overall it’s one of my favorite album openers I’ve heard so far in the first half of 2015. Lead single “Bay of Pigs” keeps the momentum going. It’s a much slower, heavier track where Nils Patrik gets to really shine, especially during the chorus. Once again, though, it’s those amazing guitar melodies in the middle that help bring the song to that next level, making it another instant favorite. I already mentioned the next track, so moving on we have yet another favorite (and yeah, I guess this is the part where I should just admit most of these songs are “favorites”, I can’t help myself,) “The Mad Piper”. This is one of those the tracks where the band really surprised me by doing something just a bit different, as the bagpipes and marching drums at the start immediately give the song more of a war anthem feel, and this carries on the whole way through, with the chorus once again being spectacular, and Nils Patrik steals the show again, especially during the last minute.

Around halfway through we finally get another speedier song in “USS Monitor”, and there’s not much to say about it, except that it’s another great example of how to do epic power metal the right way. After this, the only other really fast paced song is the closing title track, which has possibly the best chorus on the album. Out of the two remaining mid tempo tracks, “Admiral Over the Oceans” is a more melodic track which again shows off the greatly improved guitar work, along with featuring a rather tongue in cheek line during the chorus (|”If you don’t understand, read the history book”), while “Back to Iwo Jima” is probably the heaviest track on the album, especially during the instrumental sections. Lastly, we have the two ballads. “Schindlers’s Ark” is a nice power ballad with great vocal melodies, an effective use of orchestras and choirs as well as obviously a great chorus, but it actually stands out as my least favorite on the album, mostly because of how superior the other ballad “Tears From the North” is. Again, the drums add more of a war anthem feel, and this combined with Nils Patrik, the orchestras, and especially the backing choirs vocals, adds up together to make for an incredibly epic metal ballad.

After hearing The Killer Angels several times, I initially considered Civil War to be a much lesser version of Sabaton. This feeling only increased further after hearing the latter band’s 2014 effort Heroes, which immediately grabbed my attention and never let go. With Gods and Generals, Civil War have proven themselves to be on an equal level, by creating an insanely addictive collection of war anthems which at times feel familiar but overall manage to add enough new elements in to make them stand out. One of my top 3 favorite early 2015 albums, and highly recommended for fans of epic heavy/power metal.

(originally written for myglobalmind: http://myglobalmind.com/2015/05/20/civil-war-gods-and-generals-review/)

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