SABATON — The Last Stand (review)

SABATON — The Last Stand album cover Album · 2016 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Kev Rowland
Just two years after their last studio album, Sabaton were back in 2016 with ‘The Last Stand’. Although not a concept album per se, all of the songs take inspiration from “last stand” military battles. The title song is about the Stand of the Swiss Guard , which took place during the sacking of Rome on May 6th, 1527, when the Pope's Swiss guards held off troops loyal to the Habsburgs long enough for Pope Clement to escape. “Rorke’s Drift” is, surprisingly enough, about the Battle for Rorke’s Drift while “Last Dying Breath” is about the Serbian defence of Belgrade. The album starts off as solidly as one would expect from Sabaton – there are rarely going to be many surprises, this band is Ronseal, they do exctaly what it says on the tin.

But, third track in, and I was just blown away by “Blood of Bannockburn”, as this is not only at a faster pace than quite a few Sabaton songs, but it is incredibly commercial with hooks aplenty. They are renowned for writing songs for fans to sing along with, but this is insane, and I love it! This high energy and pitch is then thrown into disarray with the next song being a spoken piece from an unknown soldier in World War II, with some music behind. This really throws the album into stark relief, almost as if Sabaton are saying that they know that the previous song was fairly light-hearted in its approach, yet war and battle is always something to be taken seriously, and puts the listener back down quite hard. Overall, this is yet another incredibly epic album from Sabaton, one that hits absolutely every single mark. This was the final release to feature Thobbe Englund, who left after its completion, but he departed after yet another amazing release. These guys are at the very top, and show no sign of falling.
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