Swedish power metallers Civil War have quietly made their mark in this genre’s fantastical world. Comprised mostly of ex-Sabaton members, they have taken the lyrical idea of war history and transformed it into a style all their own. Their third full-length, The Last Full Measure, continues where the band’s first two efforts left off and doesn’t quit. With excellent musicianship, incredible vocals and great production, this album keeps the trend of good power metal going.
Those who have never heard Civil War may just think of them as a Sabaton clone. The lyrical topics may be the same but that basically ends the similarities. While Sabaton is bombastic, quick, and to-the-point, Civil War has a more epic feeling. The songs go a bit longer but they keep your attention. Indeed, that is sometimes hard to do when the lyrics read like you’re in a grade school social studies class, but Civil War makes it quite interesting. The lyrics are well written and clearly explain the battle at the heart of the album. The song topics are also varied. Tracks such as “Gangs of New York”, “Tombstone” and “Gladiator” show not only that it’s not geographically exclusive but that the music can also be tailored to the situation. This requires cohesive work by top musicians, which Civil War definitely has.
With all that said, what makes Civil War stand out so mightily is singer Nils Patrik Johansson. Those who are fans of the power metal band Astral Doors know what a great vocalist he is. Being one of the premier singers in power metal today, Johansson has an incredibly strong, loud powerful voice that makes each song 10 times more epic. The best example of this is heard in the song “A Tale That Never Should Be Told”. The passion in his voice makes each word sound as strong as the last. The strength he belts out remains constant and doesn’t let up. In the title track he shows his range from a loud aggression to a calmer, softer singing style. With a voice like his, it’s easy for him to drown out the music but the production is so well done that each track is mixed to perfection.
With three albums under their belt, Civil War has shown the metal world that they can take this journey as long as they want. The Last Full Measure takes you on a great ride through history’s greatest battles using powerful, catchy music that makes this brand of power metal so thoroughly entertaining. It’s a very good album that can, and will, satisfy any metalhead.