November 14, 2016 Civil War – The Last Full Measure (Album Review)
Civil War, the Swedish Heavy Metal powerhouse, have been extremely busy since their formation back in 2012. First debuting with their self-titled EP in 2012, they quickly released the full-length The Killer Angels in 2013, and Gods and Generals in 2015. Now, a little over a year later, they return with their third full-length effort, The Last Full Measure. Released on November 4, 2016 via Napalm Records, with an exploding vengeance, the band are ready to offer anthemic, soaring Rock filled with orchestral genius and vicious guitar runs. Speaking of the latest piece of work, Vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson comments, “After ‘The Killer Angels’ and ‘Gods & Generals’, we are extremely proud and can’t wait to share the last part of the trilogy! This is our best work so far, at least this is what we think, but I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!”
With Johansson’s voice leading the way, former Sabaton members Rikard Sundén (guitar), Daniel Mullback (drums), and Daniel Mÿhr (keyboards) join with Petrus Granar (guitar) for a new epic story. A ten track album, with two bonus tracks, the journey begins with “Road to Victory,” setting the tone with clear vocals and supporting cast of riffs. This is while harmonic lyrics take a front seat in the mix until the throw-down of guitar and keyboards begin. Immediately grabbing the listener’s undivided attention, keeping up the pace is “Deliverance.” A track that does not lose any momentum, there is an emphasis more on drums and vocals enveloping guitar work while a beastly back line plays in beautifully with the song lyrically down the hollow end.
If there is an homage to the history of Swedish music of all genres, it could be “Savannah” with its nearly classical opening, stark mix, uncluttered and simple. Presenting twin guitars, keyboard-fanfares, and doublebass-marches, it is full of honor, flying the flag, riveting Metal music as high as possible. Known for his work in Astral Doors, Johansson proves that his powerful voice was marked by destiny to shine. Displaying there is no rest for the wicked, “Tombstone” seems frenetic, like the exploding guitar riffs that pepper the track. Spinning and soaring into the final chords. it is definitely a cool, sonic trip.
Moving on, allowing the listener to catch their breath, “America” feels like a journey of Columbus to find the new world. Broad brush strokes in the mix let the song breathe, allowing its lyrics to punctuate the message. Uncluttered by incredible musicianship, it pulls in the orchestral elements with keyboard or strings. Shifting into higher gears “Tale That Never Should Be Told” is cinematic, like a David Lean or David Mackenzie film. Expansive, it is difficult to do justice to the Middle Eastern vibe, shifting into something harmonically hypnotic.
Over half way though The Last Full Measure, “Gangs of New York” offers some fresh air, relying more heavily on the marching feel of the backline. Then there is “Gladiator,” which brings it back to around to the beginning of the album. Pounding into the consciousness, the multi-cultural influences are really felt vividly, making it one of the best songs of the album. This is before “People Of The Abyss” concludes it all into high gear on all cylinders, offering master class in soaring Metal vocals that will have listeners yearning for more.
Striking, listening to The Last Full Measure is like going to a syncopated Rock church. Offering more rapid speed tracks than Gods and Generals, The Last Full Measure completes the three album trilogy with strength. If this leaves any Metal or Hard Rock thirst not satisfied, just hit repeat and listen again. CrypticRock gives The Last Full Measure 4.5 out of 5 stars.