Released: 2016, Napalm Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
If there is one thing that a band never wants to be called, it’s being a clone of another band. Thus is the case with Civil War. Having many of the members of Sabaton, as well as playing songs about war, it doesn’t help them out. However, the band continues to prove they are not a clone but rather a band with their own identity. They continue that with their newest album The Last Full Measure.
Coming in only one year after their last album, it’s a surprise that they would release a new album in such a short time (it isn’t unheard of, it’s more of a rarer case these days). With the short amount of time between albums, does this mean it’s whatever was left over from the last album? After giving the album a few spins, it’s clear to say they aren’t the pieces missing from their last album, but a better album than it.
Even from the first track, it gets right into it with a bit of synths to open the album, but the song is mostly featured by guitars and bass (which is how the album goes for the most part). It does have that same Sabaton feel for being a catchy song about war times, but with their own unique spin on it. Instead of the vocals of Joakim Broden, we have Nils Patrik Johansson filling the ranks, and I believe he is the weakest part of the band. Although he gives Civil War a different identity, it’s his nasally delivery that has never truly agreed with me.
However, Nils doesn’t make the album bad by any means. He fits in with this style of music, especially when the tracks are of a faster tempo (Tombstone, Gladiator). The thing is most of the songs on the album are of the mid-paced variety, but there isn’t a slow song (or a ballad) here, so the pace isn’t a forced march.
Speaking of Tombstone, it has been considered one of the singles for the album and it’s the song I feel has two camps; love or hate with no in between. I myself find it’s either kind of on the cheesy level (ala Edguy) but when it speeds up, it’s all business. Either way, it’s short and to the point, so I’m in the love it side of things.
I did find, however, that a lot of the songs on the latter half of the album all stuck to the mid-paced level (for the most part). However, the songs all sound different enough that they aren’t blending into one another, but a change of pace is usually welcome. The track Gladiator does that, showing off the faster side of the band (to which I would have liked to see a little more of). However, they do fill in the gaps with some good hooks and some interesting synth/guitar soloing. It’s not on the level of bands like Stratovarius, but it’s done well and is a nice change of pace for the band.
Although many will compare the band to Sabaton, it feels a bit unfair to do so. Looking at the band on their own allows listeners to hear what’s going on instead of coming in with a stigma. Even with the quick turnaround time for releasing an album, it doesn’t sound like a tired production, but rather a welcomed piece into Civil War’s discography.