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Civil War - Invaders Award winner

Civil War
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 21 September 2022, 10:13 AM

One curious feature is the creation of a new band when some musicians (not only one) leave another one. One example: X-WILD was born by the efforts of some former members of RUNNING WILD; the solo career of Bruce Dickinson only took flight when his comrade Adrian Smith (another IRON MAIDEN former member) came in to his band; BLACKSTAR who came to the world after the end of CARCASS and had three former members of the band on its ranks…. The examples are endless, and here is another band that was born in such way: CIVIL WAR, a Swedish quintet with 10 years of existence on its shoulders, and that is releasing its fourth album, “Invaders”.

The first thing to state, as everyone already knows: the band was born after some members left SABATON. The second one: it’s a form of classic format of Power/Heavy Metal, using very good epic elements (due the lyrics focused on war themes, but on North American wars and conflicts); the third one: this is the band’s first album with the North American singer Kelly, and his voice took the band’s music to another level, making it easier to be absorbed (especially by those who had difficulties to deal with Nils Patrik Johansson tunes). And please, it’s not a copy of SABATON’s work (as many can say to justify the laziness of taking some time to hear of this album), but a different insight of the same genre, being a bit more rich in orchestrations, full of classic choirs, but always heavy and melodic in the due proportions. It’s really an excellent work!

Once more the quintet had chosen to work with Jonas Kjellgren (as we usually say in Brazil, ‘in a team that’s winning the match, no changes need to be done’) on the mixing and mastering. And the sonority is really excellent, clear and defined, but using a very good set of instrumental tunes (aggressive and sharp) that allows the understanding of what they’re playing. and on the choirs, the presence of the invited guests: Åsa Österlund, Marie Mullback, Sofia Lundberg, and Hannele Junkala. “Invaders” seems like the band is trying to write a new chapter on its history, and it’s really an amazing work.

“Oblivion” is deep, epic and heavy, transposing a feeling of preparations for a battle into music, and what lovely work on keyboards on the orchestrations and on the vocals (once more, Kelly’s voice is perfect for the band, and the chorus are amazing). On “Dead Man’s Glory” has a Heavy/Power Metal melodic feeling that seduces the listeners easily, grandiose in some moments, but always charming, and what brutal grasp is done by bass guitar and drums. Heavy and bone-crushing is the aggressiveness shown on “Invaders” (even with the excellent epic melodies and ambiences created by the keyboards), a heavier song with massive guitar riffs and excellent solos. Some Latin/Afro percussive elements can be heard on the rhythms of “Heart of Darkness”, along with some accessible touches (especially due the chorus).

“Andersonville” is full of contrasts, being sometimes deeper and melancholic (where bass guitar and keyboards dominates), and full of energy nearer the chorus (with a remarkable presence of the guitar and drums), and the vocals fits in every moments, showing very good set of tunes. On “Carry On”, some melodies inherited from Pop Metal and modern tendencies are heard, boosting the accessibility of the song, that is drier than the previous ones (maybe due the focus on the guitars). “Soldiers and Kings” is another heavier moment, but bearing a Heavy/Power Metal appeal that’s usual from the 80’s, full of hooking melodies, and the choirs are perfect on it. Catchy and amazingly heavy, “Warrior Soul” oppresses the ears in some parts, and such weight obviously is linked to the strong energy unleashed by bass guitar and drums.

With rhythms slowed down and some Electronic Music effects on the keyboards, “Slaughterhouse 5” is filled with an energy that’s hard to resist, and what very good guitar riffs and solos once more. Finally, “Battle of Life” is a classic Heavy/Power Metal song, filled with fast tempos and that hooks that can remind something of HELLOWEEN, and what vocals. For those who prefers physical versions, a bonus: “Custer’s Last Stand”, epic and bitter due the matter it deals (the battle between General Custer’s small forces against ferocious hordes of a union between Indian tribes on the battle of Little Bighorn, where he and all his men were killed), and again the vocals are really expressive.

For the ones that never cared about CIVIL WAR’s work previously, or had problems with it (remembering: the voice of Nils isn’t easy to deal with for some), “Invaders” is a fine opportunity to change sides and become their fan. And these words come from one writer that personally couldn’t deal with their music, but is electing this album as one of the finest pieces of the year.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Oblivion
2. Dead Man’s Glory
3. Invaders
4. Heart of Darkness
5. Andersonville
6. Carry On
7. Soldiers and Kings
8. Warrior Soul
9. Slaughterhouse 5
10. Battle of Life
11. Custer’s Last Stand
Kelly Sundown Carpenter - Vocals
Thobbe Englund - Guitars
Petrus Granar - Guitars, Bass
Daniel Mÿhr - Keyboards
Daniel Mullback - Drums
Record Label: Napalm Records


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Edited 05 February 2023

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