|» Cd reviews||
This version of the album is a special edition for the Swedish market, featured with Sweden Rock Magazine issue #105, containing a cover of Black Sabbaths Children Of The Grave. The original version contains the song March Across the Belts instead.
Most of you know the story by now, but here it is again briefly: during last fall, four out of six members of Sabaton break out of the formation and shortly after they form Civil War and involve vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors, Lion's Share, ex- Wuthering Heights) and bassist Stefan Eriksson in the ranks.
In late 2012 they released an EP containing five songs, which promised quite good but it was nothing more spectacular than the straight forward heavy metal each member have been famous for before and absolutely nothing groundbreaking.
Civil War continue to deal with war and related topics as the main lyrical concept, even though it was not planned like that in the beginning. It turned out, according to recent interviews, that Johansson also have a big interest in the subject and it fell into place naturally. The album has borrowed its name from the novel by Michael Shaara about the battle of Gettysburg but it is not a strict concept album per se.
The music leans a bit more toward the epic side of Astral Doors rather than Sabaton, but you can find elements of both bands in this, as well as Wuthering Heights in a couple of folk oriented songs (Saint Patrick's Day and to some extent Lucifer's Court). Much of this has to do with Johansson's voice, which is very characteristic and always creates a certain atmosphere in whatever formation he is involved in. I am not one to complain one bit about that, though, since he has a fantastic voice.
There is overall a modest tempo on the album, and quite a lot of epic keyboard-based passages, and that's naturally where you are reminded the most of Sabaton, especially in the songs King Of The Sun and I Will Rule The Universe. The occasional stomping and march-like rhythms will also give you a Sabaton feeling, but for the most part they manage to take their somewhat own road.
There is a good balance between on one side heavy, mid-paced and more epic songs based around a melody and/or a chorus and on the other side fast, riff-driven ones where Sons Of Avalon and My Own Worst Enemy stand out. No matter the pace of each individual song, they have managed to lift the melody to the surface and the songs are driven steady forward with an audible purpose.
However, I feel there is a lack of songs that really stand out and some more memorable refrains, just as I felt was the case with Astral Doors latest release. Well produced, performed and you can hear that they are heading exactly the right way, but there is something missing.
The best song Civil War have released so far can be found on the previous EP, the self-titled song Civil War. I think it's a shame that one did not make it to the full-length album instead of Rome Is Falling.
Fans of Astral Doors can safely pick this release up and to some extent also those of you who like the slow and epic side of Sabaton. If you however have not developed a liking for either of them by now, I would proceed with utter caution with this album.