Sabaton - The Last Stand review


237 users:
Band: Sabaton
Album: The Last Stand
Release date: August 2016

01. Sparta
02. Last Dying Breath
03. Blood Of Bannockburn
04. Diary Of An Unknown Soldier
05. The Lost Battalion
06. Rorke's Drift
07. The Last Stand
08. Hill 3234
09. Shiroyama
10. Winged Hussars
11. The Last Battle
12. Camouflage [Stan Ridgway cover][bonus]
13. All Guns Blazing [Judas Priest cover][bonus]

The hype train for The Last Stand was as swift, powerful, and unstoppable as Jan III Sobieski at the Battle of Vienna. Sabaton and Nuclear Blast ardently touted this album as a new chapter in the band's sonic evolution, a new incarnation of our Swedish pals featuring more experimentation and variation than ever. It's clear that they wanted us to recognize something greater in The Last Stand. But what is it that sets The Last Stand apart?

While Heroes found Sabaton digging deeper, darker, and grittier trenches, The Last Stand embarks on a journey in the opposite direction, brimming with lighter, catchier, and more uplifting melodies than ever. Sabaton has reinvented itself as an even brighter, more melodic, and more epic-sounding force, news which is undoubtedly loathsome to those who already found the band's trademark bombast saccharine and cloying - but to those fans who appreciate the uncomplicated magniloquence that Sabaton exemplifies, or to those who found the last few albums monotonous and shallow, The Last Stand represents revitalization and new possibilities. With a mere key change, "The Lost Battalion" transforms from a dramatic re-write of "Hearts Of Iron" into a triumphant, upbeat hymn that breaks new ground for the first time in ages, and for that reason, I believe that "The Lost Battalion" was the most appropriate choice for the first single. In that song, we can pinpoint the exact moment of transition from old Sabaton into new.

This Sabaton sounds more honest and inspired than Heroes, or even several older albums. Taking as much influence from the Europop of the members' youth as from the standard gamut of metal forefathers, The Last Stand sounds like the album S-ᗅᗺᗷᗅ-ton always wanted to make, but avoided for fear of disconcerting fans; the energy and passion pour through in volumes never before heard on a Sabaton record. Joakim's voice soars higher and more confidently than ever, continuing his steady improvement from album to album (one of my personal favorite aspects of this band), and the cheesiest keyboards to date, much more present than on Heroes, embellish these Brobdingnagian anthems with enough pomp to drown Louis XIV. The album's highly apposite thematic preoccupation, indicated by the title, strengthens the dramatic impact of the musical approach and is likely responsible for some of The Last Stand's resounding success.

It's clear that "Last Dying Breath," "Rorke's Drift," and "Hill 3234" took the brunt of the recycling; any Sabaton fan worth their salt could rattle off the older tracks reimagined in those three. It was inevitable that we wouldn't get a whole Sabaton album without some reincarnations; after all, The Last Stand is a fulfillment of the Sabaton promise, not a repudiation of the band's trademarks. I'm not bothered by filler, especially filler that trumps the Heroes- and Carolus Rex-brand filler. With only "The Last Battle" making reference to World War II (a record low for Sabaton, not counting Metalizer), The Last Stand explores new thematic realms to make up for some of those stale-ish riffs.

Casual listeners may well dismiss this entire album as another in a long, cannibalistic line, but fox-eared fans will detect the many differences, sometimes subtle, that prove that Sabaton worked up a sweat to make The Last Stand shine. Floor Jansen needs to guest on every Sabaton album, because her voice could very well be the whistling of the Winged Hussars themselves. The riffs in "Last Dying Breath" march and batter like Rammstein, but they twang like Mötley Crüe; the drum kit used on "The Lost Battalion," a construction sampling gunfire, grenade explosions, and bayonets ripping flesh for percussive effect, draws the listener deep into the Argonne with one of the most warlike atmospheres Sabaton has yet achieved. "Sparta" is a volcanic song destined to be entrance music for the world's greatest professional wrestler/tank commander/head-of-state, "The Last Battle" amusingly recounts the strangest tale of WWII over a driving dance beat, and the title track has just claimed the position of my favorite Sabaton song with its unflaggingly triumphant lead-in to the final chorus. "Winged Hussars" has Winged Hussars, and I've got nothing else to say about that.

This is power metal for the fan who loves to sing along, but doesn't want to remember too many words. This is music for the fan who likes ideas expressed in big choruses, big chords, and big words, for whom history is an open and endless book with a bitchin' guitar solo wedged in between every few pages. For some, Sabaton's grandstanding is crass, cringe-worthy, or even offensive. For me, Sabaton is triumph, a fathomless wellspring of spirit that replenishes the exsanguinated corpses of textbooks and makes everything I've ever loved about history come alive. Honestly, I can't imagine looking at Sabaton without the lens of historical devotion, so it's fully understandable for somebody disinterested in military exploits to pass up Sabaton. But ask yourself: if a handsomely-mustachioed Swede in reflective aviators and body armor shouting about 189 Swiss Guards, 500 samurai, and 3,000 Winged Hussars doesn't make you want to jump up and down like an idiot and scream about tanks, then what the hell are you living for?

All in all, 1683/1791, would ask to join the Holy League.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Written on 20.08.2016 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.

Guest review by
Sabaton. Yeah, that name has become really well-known in the world of power metal. With albums like The Art Of War and Carolus Rex, it's not hard to understand why.

But what about the latest album? Is The Last Stand really a masterpiece like the official lyric videos tell us?

No, I wouldn't say so personally. This is Sabaton as you already know them. I don't find anything really innovative on this album. Is it bad? No, it's just that I expected more from the album (especially when they are claiming it would be a masterpiece). To me it feels a bit generic.

published 05.03.2017 | Comments (3)

Comments page 3 / 3

Comments: 75   Visited by: 507 users
24.08.2016 - 23:20
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 24.08.2016 at 21:14

Written by EthicaOdini85 on 24.08.2016 at 19:53

Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 20.08.2016 at 23:17

Written by EthicaOdini85 on 20.08.2016 at 23:04

don't mind him; he is a total naab ... 9.3 ) no band deserves such a grade and especially this catchy album

No band in the whole world deserves a 9.3? That's a pretty bold statement.

too much fluridated water for you naab !

I notice you deleted your previous comment, wherein you actually went to the trouble of reasserting your original claim rather than resorting to something that barely constitutes a cohesive thought, but that doesn't change the fact that you have simultaneously disputed the right of any band to have a 9.3 rating and handed out 10s to several bands yourself.

I wonder how you will defend your ludicrous assertions.

naab, those ratings are pretty stupid by me...i have now a much better way to criticise music and give realistic verdicts to them...those ratings were given years yeah...i have to change them but i don't bother right now; i don't care...only some albums from Opeth deserve a rating above 9, but not 9.3... like your fluoridated brain gives to a band like Sabaton who can bearly do something around 8 which is good but no masterpieces from them...and you gave them 9.3 for that catchy album ))))))))))

do you even realize what 9.3 stands for you fluoridated naab ? 9.3 stands for masterpiece not for Sabaton ! Sabaton is way too melodic, predictable, catchy...there is no masterpiece quality in their music. True music needs a lot of spins not 2-3 like Sabaton needs. Your verdict is corupted and unrealistic. Learn to give realistic ratings to bands naab ! their new album does not deserve more than 7.8.
have you ever listened to Tool ? are they melodic ? no ! they make true music without catchyness because they put accent on technical stuff. You go now and listen to babymetal...that is the right stuff for your fluoridated brain. !

OMG ! you gave 9 to babymetal )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) get the fuck out of my sight and stop wasting my time with your noob excuses !
24.08.2016 - 23:26
Written by psykometal on 22.08.2016 at 22:48

@Hevy Kevy, I get where you're coming from entirely about not liking to let such shitty comments go unresponded because it has the potential to make it appear as if you can't actually defend yourself. I have the same problem of not liking to let that kind of shit just sit. Lol

That's normally my philosophy, but when it reaches levels of "go listen to Opeth and Tool, you poser"
Written by EthicaOdini85 on 24.08.2016 at 23:20

only some albums from Opeth deserve a rating above 9, but not 9.3
have you ever listened to Tool ? are they melodic ? no ! they make true music without catchyness because they put accent on technical stuff.

Then it's time to jump ship.
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
25.08.2016 - 02:17
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by EthicaOdini85 on 24.08.2016 at 23:20

have you ever listened to Tool ? are they melodic ? no !

Even though I agree Sabaton are mediocre euro flower power metal drivel and imo shouldn't even score above a 6.9 I have to disagree with you on Tool. Yes they are an awesome band who piss all over bands such as Sabaton and Babymetal but Tool are totally melodic. It is impossible to deny they are melodic.
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

25.08.2016 - 02:27
I haven't listened to the album yet, so I can't testify to the accuracy of 9.3, but I just wanted to comment and say that this was a really well-written review (especially that last paragraph)! Now I'm pumped to listen to this.
25.08.2016 - 06:58
A staff guy...
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 25.08.2016 at 02:17

Written by EthicaOdini85 on 24.08.2016 at 23:20

have you ever listened to Tool ? are they melodic ? no !

...Tool are totally melodic. It is impossible to deny they are melodic.

It's also impossible to deny that they have plenty of songs that are catchy af, too. As I read his comment asking Kevin if he's ever listened to Tool, and then following that with a claim that Tool are neither melodic nor catchy, I can't help but wonder if this fella has ever even listened to Tool...

Anybody who has even listened to a single Tool album, even only one time in their life, can attest that Tool are both melodic AND catchy. Hell, if they weren't both melodic AND catchy then they wouldn't be one of the most popular bands on the planet with millions of rabid fans constantly drooling over and begging for more Tool music. And they certainly wouldn't have received the level of consistent radio and television airplay or tour prestige that they have enjoyed throughout their 25+ year history.

Either this guy has never even listened to a Tool album himself, or he's confusing Tool for some tech death band.
~Zep, Database and Forum Moderation~

25.08.2016 - 14:34
Account deleted
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 21.08.2016 at 03:34

Written by Guest on 21.08.2016 at 01:53

Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 21.08.2016 at 00:56

Written by Ellinor on 20.08.2016 at 23:59

Yet another generic album by Sabaton. If you heard one song by them, you heard them all. Sames goes for albums.

I disagree. I have to concede that they have a handful of song structures they reuse frequently and their lyrics all generally follow the same pattern, on top of which any album from the second half of The Art Of War through this one has roughly the same production and overall sound. Even so, if you really think that they never change things up or develop new ideas or have anything that stands out, independent of your assessment of the quality, I have to think that you aren't paying close enough attention. You may not want to bother, which is fair, but the thrust of my review was that Sabaton is trying out some new ideas on The Last Stand to avoid just such a spurious assessment, and I'm not sure how much difference you can detect with only a Cook's tour of each album.

Its quite painful to see such a talented writer have such a horrible taste in music. But its even more painful to watch you argue that this isnt generic. Most people who listens and craves this kind of music would never argue that it isnt generic. Most of them admit that they got a horrible taste in music, but they cant do anything to change their desires

I appreciate your compliment.

The text is great. I like that you keep "I" out of the review. Nowadays the reviewer is often the focus of the review but this is all about the band and the album. Great craftmanship
26.08.2016 - 04:24
This band is cringeworthy. I'm embarrassed listening to them in a room, with the door shut, by myself. I think there are ways to not be completely lame and play power metal (or whatever this "music" is called)...they have not figured that out.
26.08.2016 - 04:51
Written by LGBarbarian on 25.08.2016 at 02:27

I haven't listened to the album yet, so I can't testify to the accuracy of 9.3, but I just wanted to comment and say that this was a really well-written review (especially that last paragraph)! Now I'm pumped to listen to this.

Written by Guest on 25.08.2016 at 14:34

The text is great. I like that you keep "I" out of the review. Nowadays the reviewer is often the focus of the review but this is all about the band and the album. Great craftmanship

Thank you, guys. I really appreciate it.
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
26.08.2016 - 23:10
Written by Daniell on 24.08.2016 at 10:33

Written by RockSplendid on 23.08.2016 at 18:06

Very mainstream and teenage band!
Their live was simply garbage (I was there for Amon Amarth, btw)

So you were there for another mainstream teenage band.

You know your way around metal music, definitely by stating that awesome reply!
27.08.2016 - 06:41
Ugwemubwem Ossas
China was a neat
I think I will just listen to this album today.

/This thread needs more salt.
27.08.2016 - 22:58
You have to evaluate albums on their own merits, guys. If an artist never sought out to make an album of deeply intellectual, progressive content, why penalize them for it. Easy-listening definitely has its place, nobody has the attention or time to gruel over the artistic choices of endless Moonsorrow albums all week. If The Last Battle successfully achieved Sabaton's high-spirited war fantasy in better fashion than their previous attempts or better than similar bands even... then it's a good album. It's good art. You may think this specific genre is of less artistic value than others, but that should be of lesser weight in an album score/evaluation.

Idk... rock on you naabs
Fear the slant eye.
30.08.2016 - 11:39
IMO this album is far inferior to the previous one, Heroes. It can be seen in the rating of the review, since this album got a 9.3 which is quite lower than the 9.6 the previous album got!
30.08.2016 - 17:51
Donkey Hotte
The only fault I can find with the review is that it is slightly too long, other than that, good job, SSUS! The review is highly positive and values the band and the album much more than I do (I don't care for Sabaton or power metal for that matter), but it's not a fanboy-type review at all in my opinion, it's a review that very honestly states that the album isn't for everyone. I don't think SSUS has attempted to fool anyone into thinking the album is better than it is, he's simply given his honest thoughts on the album and while I disagree with the score, I can't help but appreciate the point he makes and the clarity with which he makes them. The name-calling and accusations on this thread are really uncalled for.

As for the album itself, I would imagine that even as a fan of cheesy (and not so cheesy) 80s music, I could enjoy it, power metal or no power metal, but I kind of don't. It all just sounds way too derivative. The first line of the verse of "The Lost Battalion" isn't just similar to One More Time's "Highland" it IS One More Time's "Highland", to give one example. I'd probably give this album a 6.
I am not nor have I ever been a musician or a member of a one-man band, especially a band that has a name that starts with "D".
26.03.2017 - 05:34
Winter Heathen
This is easily the best review of the album I've read**. I loved every song on this album and Heroes, and both of them show the dichotomy in the bands direction. Keyboards are more prominent, which is something that has worked on previous Sabaton albums. Good review! I already bought it, but... this thoroughly explains my feelings on the album.

I initially wrote written**. Whoops!
Power metal incarnate.
08.08.2017 - 16:44
Thanks for the review. I will give this album another spin.

Hits total: 15116 | This month: 98