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Sabaton - The Last Stand album review

Stampeding Swedes prove understatement is overrated.

Hitting their jack-booted stride once more after a slight wobble in 2012 that saw most of their original line-up quit, Sweden’s elite power-metal battalion again turn military history into gloriously butch anthems on their eighth studio album.

This time the defining conceptual thread is life-or-death battles both ancient and modern, opening with the magnificent electro-rock fanfares of Sparta, which is every bit as operatically overblown and chest-thumpingly homoerotic as Zack Snyder’s movie on the same subject, 300.

The remaining tracks vary in quality, sagging a little on the bagpipe-bloated Braveheart bombast like Blood Of Bannockburn before soaring to symphonic Rammstein-go-Eurovision heights on Winged Hussars and The Last Stand. Joakim Brodén’s high-decibel history lessons are inherently preposterous, of course, but at their best, Sabaton tap into the exhilarating mix of anarchy and discipline that defines all the greatest heavy rock bands.