Civil War – The Killer Angels

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Review by Robert Baker

Despotz Records

Comprising of members from Swedish power metal band Sabaton in the guise of Daniel Myhr, Daniel Mullback, Oskar Montelius and Rikard Sundén, Civil War are a band who define themselves as both ‘heavy’ and ‘metal’. Rounding out the line-up with Patrik Johansson of Astral Doors and Lion’s Share, and Stefan “Pizza” Erikssonon on vocals and bass respectively, the new group have not been slow in showing the world why they define themselves thusly with their debut album, The Killer Angels. Taking the name from American novelist Michael Shaara’s tale, The Killer Angels continues the Sabaton style of presenting you with songs based around some of the most notable battles in history to an incredibly rich and detailed soundtrack.

‘King of the Sun’ begins the richness quite literally, the detailing of the fabled City of Gold’s perception to the outside world of being the treasure under the big X on the Earth juxtaposed with the reality of it not just being hum-drum but horrible to its inhabitants under the tyrannical rule of its leader – a ‘grass is always greener’ situation the band employ throughout the album as judgements of the right and wrongs of those concerned are left to the listener.

Vocalist Patrik Johansson screaming vocal intro to ‘First To Fight’s to a backdrop of intense kicking drums and thousand-mile-an-hour guitars instantly fires you up. You’re powered through the four minute song without a pause or lull, so by the time you get to ‘Saint Patrick’s Day’ you find the Irish-themed guitar riff an odd parallel. This slight off-stepping works to bring you to a suspenseful calmer mood, the verse soothing you through the windswept and barren sounds of a beating drum playing a simple marching rhythm as accompaniment. It keeps you right on the brink of your well-held reserve through the lulls in explosive music with a tense beat that just seeps into you, controls and captivates your mood.

‘Sons of Avalon’ and ‘I Will Rule The Universe’ are what I’d call more typical a sound of Swedish metal, the former a breathless galloping run whilst the latter is more the style of grandness and a-typical of what I had in mind when first approaching the album; all organs and awesome swells that conclude with a less than modest chorus line of “I’m greater than god.”

Acknowledgement to the American author’s inspiration comes in the form of track ten, ‘Gettysburg’. A song that reveals the lies and deceit sold to a man put in the line of fire, it feels more reverential, more heavy with the weight of a band recognising the inspiration and source. The song itself is a fairly reserved effort when compared to the bombastic approach earlier on, a deliberate pace that keeps things moving with a feeling of an accepted inevitability. It’s still incredibly atmospheric, and is perhaps because of the slowing down in tempo it allows a much broader, intently brooding and considered sound from the band to come through. Winding things up, ‘March Across The Belt’ delivers a surge of ice-fused adrenaline courtesy of the boys own Swedish fighting history, The Killer Angels is a great lesson in both history and Swedish metal.

Civil War - The Killer Angels8 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. King Of The Sun
  2. First To Fight
  3. Saint Patrick’s Day
  4. Rome Is Falling
  5. Sons Of Avalon
  6. I Will Rule The Universe
  7. Lucifers Court
  8. Brother Judas
  9. My Own Worst Enemy
  10. Gettysburg
  11. March Across The Belt

 

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