Coat of Arms (Nuclear Blast)
By Mike Delano
You know those times when you’re listening to, say, an Iced Earth or Hammerfall album and you just have to cringe a bit when the singer comes across a patch of particularly silly lyrics? Something about ridiculous lines being delivered with stone-faced determination is a little unnerving, and prepare to have your nerves shattered by Sabaton‘s Coat of Arms. Certainly, there’s a given amount of good-hearted hamminess to be found in most any power metal, desperate as so many of those bands are to emulate Iron Maiden’s battle anthems, but lacking the grace, talent, and pretty much everything they would need to do that successfully. Passion is never a missing ingredient, though, so it’s with complete conviction that Sabaton invites you to sing along with tales of King Leonidas of Sparta, the Battle of Britain, naval warfare and, incredibly, even the Holocaust (“The Final Solution”). You might think that a B-level power metal band might not be able to handle that last subject with the necessary care and intelligence, and you would be absolutely right. Save for that lapse into monumental stupidity, though, the rest of the album fits comfortably into the tired power metal template, existing in the netherworld between good and bad.