Rating:
9.5
Sabaton - Coat Of Arms
21 May 2010


01. Coat Of Arms
02. Midway
03. Uprising
04. Screaming Eagles
05. The Final Solution
06. Aces In Exile
07. Saboteurs
08. Wehrmacht
09. White Death
10. Metal Ripper

Limited edition bonus tracks:
11. Coat Of Arms [instrumental version]
12. Metal Ripper [instrumental version]


Sabaton - Coat of Arms

Sabaton's fifth foray into the grandiose and keyboard-laden military metal they so brilliantly pioneered with Primo Victoria is without a doubt the high point of their career thus far. Despite somewhat mixed reviews, this album definitely deserves a 10; it already ranks among my favorites.

Complaints have abounded regarding the inferiority of Coat of Arms to its predecessor Art of War, particularly where songwriting complexity is concerned. Admittedly, this latest album is something of a step backward in that regard. There is nothing on Coat of Arms that can compare to songs like "Cliffs of Gallipoli," or "Union (Slopes of St. Benedict)," which varied greatly from the traditional Sabaton style. However, while Coat of Arms may be a return to the formulaic approach that dominated previous albums, as the saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Coat of Arms is not Art of War, and never will be, but I believe that it surpasses its predecessor in terms of overall quality.

One distinct detail that separates Coat of Arms from the rest of Sabaton's discography is the production, which sounds tighter and more professional than ever before. That probably has something to do with the new switch to Nuclear Blast Records, but I think it has helped the Sabaton sound reach its zenith; the band's own sonic signature has now crystallized. The drums are mixed especially high, and Daniel Mullback's work on this album blew me away, particularly on "Screaming Eagles." Not being a drummer myself, perhaps I just never noticed on the previous records, but Coat of Arms really opened my eyes to how incredible he is. Joakim Broden sounds like he has been taking singing lessons; at the very least, all the practice he's had has benefited him greatly. His range seems to be expanding, which is especially evident in "Aces in Exile" (3:14 startled me the first time I heard the song). However, Joakim's voice is still as deep and gravelly as ever, so don't worry about losing one of the band's defining characteristics. On a side note, he looks and sounds uncannily like Soap MacTavish from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare I and II.

Song-wise, the album is quite formulaic, as I previously mentioned, but the highlights rank among the best of Sabaton's career. "Uprising," yet another tribute to the Poles of World War II, slows the tempo from the opening tracks; this is one of the band's more serious songs, telling the story of a dark time in Polish history through layered guitars. This is one of the best songs Sabaton has ever produced, and it will get stuck in your head; it was stuck in mine to such a degree that I ended up writing about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in my English class (P.S. - I got an A on the paper). The next song, "Screaming Eagles," is the absolute best song ever written about war. Topping Sabaton's entire catalog in my opinion, "Screaming Eagles" has been described by the band as the fastest and heaviest song they have written so far, and there is no military unit in history that deserves this honor more than the 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles. If you have ever read the book or seen the miniseries "Band of Brothers," you will recognize the name; the men of Easy Company are members of the 101st, and this song chronicles their exploits from the landings in Normandy (not D-Day, but the night before) to the frozen hell of Bastogne. I have always had a strong admiration for those brave men of the 101st, so this song was sort of like a dream come true; it certainly does them justice. "The Final Solution" walks a thin line through dangerous territory; it can be quite easy to turn a heartfelt lament into a cheesy parody, especially with such deep material as the Holocaust. However, the band approaches this topic with the utmost respect, bearing in mind their philosophy that history makes for far greater storytelling material than fiction. Daniel Myhr's keyboard is clearly what makes the song complete, and his solo is the best I have ever heard. This anthem pulls off what might have seemed impossible - a Holocaust song that neither sucks musically nor makes light of the horrible crimes perpetrated by the Nazis.

Overall, Coat of Arms has shown the band regressing as far as songwriting complexity goes, but it has also shown that it is not necessary to go to those extra pains to make an incredible album. In fact, every song on here is fantastic, from the "Attero Dominatus" re-write of "Aces in Exile," to the resurgence of Latin in "Wehrmacht," to the ferocious ode to legendary Finnish badass Simo Hayha in "White Death," but I only have so much space to write. In sum, I highly recommend buying this album, though not necessarily as an introduction to Sabaton.

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


Band profile: Sabaton
Album: Coat Of Arms


 


written by ScreamingSteelUS | 19.12.2010


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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Ellrohir - 19.12.2010 at 23:43  
The songs are quite simple and can be described in one word as "catchy", but this is what i want when i want to listen to band like Sabaton...there are other bands based on complexity and musical virtuosity
Carlonn - 20.12.2010 at 01:02  
"Coat of Arms" is really a grat album, by far one of my faves. As to the comparison with "Art of War", well I don't think either album is better than the other. I think they both are the zenith in Sabaton's career. I actually lked the lyrucs in "Coat..." better than "Art...", I find them more epic, more inspiring, while in the previous album they were more aggressive ( witch is a compliment by the way, love them 100% ). The music in both album complements the lyrics: in the "Art..." it is more aggressive, more dynamic, faster, and in "Coat..." the rythm was bit slower, I think, it made the message of the lyrics stronger. Both albums are amazing and I think bottom line is that they complete each other
Andreas - 20.12.2010 at 15:37  
I have to say that no matter how much I like this album, it still can't compete with The Art of War. The first reason is that I find the songs on TAOW more moving (especially The Price of a Mile). Second, TAOW is the only Sabaton album that has a certain logic in the order of the songs. All the other ones, including COA, you can put the songs in no particular order and it won't make a difference.
Daniell - 21.12.2010 at 09:25  
Seriously? Such a high rating for a generic album? It's quite palatable and well executed, but come on, 9.5?
GT - 21.12.2010 at 11:29  
Even though I like this album quite a lot actually I believe that 9.5 is a bit too much. A long but very good review though with lots of cool facts that show that you've actually done a bit of research
NAWAL - 25.12.2010 at 23:18  
Very nice,,
NAWAL - 25.12.2010 at 23:21  
Mikla - 02.01.2011 at 22:09  
"Uprising" is tribute to Warsaw Uprising, not Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. These are two different things.
ScreamingSteelUS - 02.01.2011 at 22:24  
Written by Mikla on 02.01.2011 at 22:09

"Uprising" is tribute to Warsaw Uprising, not Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. These are two different things.

You're right. I actually did a lot of reading about both, because I kept confusing the two. In the end, I guess I still got the wrong one. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was in 1943 and located entirely within the actual Warsaw Ghetto. The Warsaw Uprising was in 1944 and was merely centralized in Warsaw, with concurrent action taking place nationwide. My mistake; thank you for pointing that out.
RavenKing - 02.01.2011 at 22:25  
Written by Daniell on 21.12.2010 at 09:25

Seriously? Such a high rating for a generic album? It's quite palatable and well executed, but come on, 9.5?


You forget it is a Powermetal album. Powermetal fans are renowned for their remarquable lack of criticism and to give ratings over 9 out of 10 to every crap as long as it is cheesy.
Death To Posers - 24.01.2011 at 05:27  
Written by RavenKing on 02.01.2011 at 22:25

Written by Daniell on 21.12.2010 at 09:25

Seriously? Such a high rating for a generic album? It's quite palatable and well executed, but come on, 9.5?


You forget it is a Powermetal album. Powermetal fans are renowned for their remarquable lack of criticism and to give ratings over 9 out of 10 to every crap as long as it is cheesy.




I can't say that about all power metal fans, but I know a few.
Ellrohir - 28.01.2011 at 10:29  
It was recorded as a power metal album, so i would rate it as power metal album...it gets the job done among other power metal albums
Marcel Hubregtse - 28.01.2011 at 16:29  
Written by Ellrohir on 28.01.2011 at 10:29

It was recorded as a power metal album, so i would rate it as power metal album...it gets the job done among other power metal albums


and then it wouldn't get a 7.5 Most probably would score around a 6.5
Ellrohir - 29.01.2011 at 01:08  
That's how i would rate many of your favorite bands and albums, because i would find them uninspiring and utterly boring for listening...musical tastes are simply different and so are the album ratings...why we still have to argue about that when we all know no one's opinion will change thanks to those debates...?
ScreamingSteelUS - 29.01.2011 at 02:12  
I'd have to agree with Ellrohir. I did mention that this is one of my favorite albums of all time, from one of my favorite bands of all time (would you believe it contains one of my favorite songs and singers as well?). I'd give it an 11 if I could. Of course that's not how I would rate every album, but this one is special for me.
RavenKing - 29.01.2011 at 04:09  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 28.01.2011 at 16:29

Written by Ellrohir on 28.01.2011 at 10:29

It was recorded as a power metal album, so i would rate it as power metal album...it gets the job done among other power metal albums


and then it wouldn't get a 7.5 Most probably would score around a 6.5


Which is already way too generous, from my point of view. Taking into account that at least half the songs on Powermetal albums are usually crappy nowadays, most PM albums can't score more than 5 in my mind, since you have to discard all that bullshit right away and it leaves you with less than 50% of the album that might be listenable.
I would rate generic PM albums 2-4 out of ten, no more. A couple of listenable songs among a big pile of shit.
JeffreyAgente - 17.04.2011 at 22:59  
I think it is the weakest sabaton album...
Valentin B - 06.05.2011 at 22:46  
This is definitely a more polished, focused and "mature" release. a great comparison point would be the song "Rise of Evil" from one of their earlier albums(i forgot which) and "The Final Solution" from this one, as they tackle the exact same subject. RoE is not as cerebral and focused as TFS instrumentally, and the dude's voice sounds a lot rougher, grittier and more serious on TFS. you can see the guy feels what he's singing about, and the Holocaust is no joke for Sabaton. TFS definitely one of the better power ballads out there.

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