CIVIL WAR - THE KILLER ANGELS (Despotz Records)
(Review by Stefan)
Last year, four members of the successful Swedish Power Metal formation Sabaton have leave the ranks (shortly after the release of “Carolus Rex) to establish their own band. This unexpected situation has led to a flood of indignant reactions among the die-hard Sabaton fanbase. What has been the right reason, we will probably never know, true fact is that the ex-players now act under the moniker Civil War. Meanwhile their debut CD entitled “The Killer Angels” has been released through Despotz Records (which I never heard of before), a concept effort based on the same titled novel of Michael Shaara all about the Battle of Gettysburg.
The former Sabaton musicians had to look out for a singer and a bass player. They’ve recruited one of favourite frontmen named Nils Patrik Johansson, yeah I’m a fan since I heard him as he was active within the ranks of Wuthering Heights, Lion’s Share and Astral Doors. With a singer of this caliber, Civil War has achieved a very important pawn and I’m sure NPJ will lift the band to a higher level for sure. He has the power and might to impress me quite a lot … he shines in all the vocal deliveries on Civil War’s debut album “The Killer Angels”! Sabaton’s frontman sounded raw, kinda harsh – Civil War’s singer has a cleaner, more powerful and even a more technical accessibility… two different worlds of singers basically. The new bass player listens to the name of Stefan "Pizza" Eriksson, his past pointing to a Death Metal band named Volturyon.
According to what I found while hunting some background information, Civil War released their first self-titled EP back in November 2012 but I have not taken any notion of that. I’ve fully focussed myself on their full album and right from the start, I knew to have a deal with a typical Euro Power Metal which nevertheless can be compared with Sabaton. With four ex members of this band on board, I’m actually not that much surprised. I gotta be honest and admit that Sabaton never belonged to my favorites. Although they were warm welcomed by almost every Power Metal addict, also every stage they’ve walked on in the past, the crowd went totally crazy as the players performed at high level. That’s why I’d like to call Sabaton a real successful formation, unfortunately and once again they’ve never could bring me into temptation. I got two reasons for that, first I didn’t like their frontman’s way of singing – secondly, originality was lacking most of the time. Two reasons that led to my indignation which are partially resolved.
As mentioned before, Civil War’s singer means the world to me and about the possible lack of originality, well I’m in a better mood than in the days of Sabaton. In some ways, the songs on “The Killer Angels” are harder, more intensive and even played in a more Classic Heavy Metal character. So there is an audible difference between the past and the present, Civil War clearly will no longer be compared with Sabaton and that’s comprehensible. That’ll take some time, I guess that the follow up to this debut album will give some more clearness on Civil Wat’s musical direction. Hearing all the songs on “The Killer Angels”, I have at least a good feeling about the future of the band.
“The Killer Angels” has not become innovative album, still there are some songs that really stole my heart such as ‘Saint Patrick’s Day’, ‘Rome Is Falling’, ‘Lucifer’s Court’, ‘Brother Judas’, ‘Gettysburg’ and bonus track, more specifically a Black Sabbath cover entitled ‘Children Of The Grave’. Nice release for Euro Power Metal maniacs who wants to swallow their stuff straight to the bone. Would this band will be successful as Sabaton? Only the future will tell, as for now they definitely get my approval. https://www.facebook.com/Civilwarsweden
My Points: 84 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish