"What can we do when our band's previous album is a career-defining classic and one of our home country's most successful heavy metal albums ever?" This was the million dollar question that the members of SABATON - Swedish heavy metal heroes, who have dominated the European heavy metal circuit already for years and received prestigious awards including Metal Hammer UK's Golden Gods Award for "Best Breakthrough Artist" - had to ask themselves after the successful world tour promoting their sixth and platinum selling album "Carolus Rex" (2012).
After months of intense working (recording, producing and mixing) in famous Abyss-studios, the apparent answer is finally here and it is called "Heroes". Well, first of all: what could be a more suitable title for SABATON's seventh full-length studio recording? There probably isn't one.
Where "Carolus Rex" album took a sidestep and told the famous story of Swedish Empire during 1561-1721, "Heroes" is once again a concept record based on different historical, 20th century wars and battles, telling fascinating stories about heroic men and women on their dangerous missions on battlefields and other belligerent locations, such as Auschwitz. Well, talking about real heroes - how could anyone be braver than Polish soldier Witold Pilecki aka Inmate 4859, who voluntarily entered the concentration camp Auschwitz as he wanted to get evidence of the horrors and mass murders that were taking place inside the district of doom?
As a whole, "Heroes" serves compelling mixture of epic metal anthems, carried out by ultra-powerful guitar riffs, pounding drums, catchy choruses, "rough-meets-melody" kind of vocals and incomparable solos - not forgetting the totally new level of intensity and bombastic sound quality, thanks to a world-famous producer and SABATON's long-time guardian angel Peter Tägtgren. "Heroes" definitely introduces SABATON more varied and dynamically wider than ever before, but at the same time, the fresh-sounding new record still possess every imaginable element that you may expect from these heroic northmen.
After hearing "Heroes", it's definitely not exaggerating to inform that SABATON has taken some mighty steps after the band's core musicians - vocalist/composer Joakim Brodén and bassist/manager Pär Sundström - were joined by totally new blood (guitarists Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund and drummer Hannes van Dahl) after career-defining "Carolus Rex" was recorded during 2011/2012. If you ever had any doubts regarding the new line-up's abilities, "Heroes" will blast your suspicions to outer space if not further.
There's no other way to say it: anno domini 2014, SABATON sounds like an unstoppable, fearless and tireless war machine.
1 - Night Witches
2 - No Bullets Fly
3 - Smoking Snakes
4 - Inmate 4859
5 - To Hell and Back
6 - The Ballad Of Bull
7 - Resist And Bite
8 - Soldier Of 3 Armies
9 - Far From The Fame
10 - Hearts Of Iron