Sabaton - Attero Dominatus
Black Lodge
Battle Anthem Power Metal
9 songs (40:58)
Release year: 2006
Sabaton, Black Lodge
Reviewed by Ross
Album of the month
Whilst listening to Attero Dominatus I was thinking “Ah, a Battle Anthem Band”, but the more I listened, the more I started to hear something was not sitting right. The ‘Marching’ beat of the songs – check; the barking delivery of the vocals that a Drill Sergeant would be proud of – check; the catchy, punch your fist in the air choruses – check; yup, battle anthems, so what bothered me? Delving into Metal Review’s archives I got myself hold of their first album Primo Victoria; okay, they didn’t try to fix what aint broke. Scouring their website looking for answers, that were not immediately forthcoming, I did find out however that their first Primo Victoria was actually their second album; their first, Metalizer is sitting in someone in Italian label Underground Symphony’s pending tray and has been for nigh on five years. It was when I was reading the lyrics, which are available on their website that the penny dropped – They’re singing about real events, events that had happened and are still happening in our world, not only that but I got the feeling that their message is that war is a futile, senseless act of madness. Unlike many of their compatriots in the Power Metal genre who sing about tremendous battles over snow capped mountains, desert plains, rivers of blood hero knights and other such fantasy, Sabaton are giving us the real deal here, and it’s not pretty. Now this is where it gets weird, I spent 23 years in the Military, and relate to all, except the last song on the album, in general and four in particular as I was involved personally - In The Name Of God refers to those who commit cowardly deeds of terrorism in the name of their God; We Burn is about the atrocities in the Former Republic Of Yugoslavia; Back In Control is the British taking back the Falkland Islands even though they are 8000 miles away from mainland Britain and Light In The Back focuses on the members of UN and other ‘Peacekeeping’ forces who are involved in many unknown and unreported conflicts throughout the world and I have had first hand experience of all that.

With Sweden having ‘National Service’ or ‘Conscription’, call it what you will, you can take a wild guess that the majority, if not all, of the band have ‘Served Their Time’ and not all of them look back with the greatest of affection of their time spent there. Could this be why such great Metal comes from Sweden, after their eleven months there must be some who want to ‘Get Back’ at authority, and what better way than with some ‘Devil Music’.

But, let’s get on to the musicianship. Attero Dominatus bursts straight out your speakers at you, slamming you against the wall, leaving only your smoking boots where you once stood. Instead of sliding down the wall and ending up in a heap on the floor, the power of Joakim Brodén’s vocals keep you pinned to the wall by the ears. A definite attention grabber. Though his voice comes at you in staccato like bursts, there is an almost choir like quality there, especially when joined by backing vocals, In The Name Of God shows a perfect example of this. As I mentioned, I listened to their previous album Primo Victoria back-to-back with Attero Dominatus and there are many subtle differences between the two but also many similarities. Both albums kick off with the album title track but whereas the Primo Victoria emphasis is power in the delivery, Attero Dominatus, puts more emphasis in the music. Don’t get me wrong, the power is still there only rather than it coming at you like a cluster of mallets, it comes at you in precise, laser guided waves. The twin lead guitars of Oskar Montelius and Rickard Sundén blast out some amazing riffs and hooks, and the guitar harmonies are just awesome. We Burn is a good song that demonstrates the coming together of this guitar wizardry. Solos are also shared between the two guitarists and the solos fit just right with the structures and rhythms of the songs; not bolted on “Look what I can do!” guitar widdley wankery. With two lead guitars, rhythm slack is taken up by Daniel Mÿhr on keyboards. There aren’t too many places where the keys actually stand out on their own but they would be sorely missed if it was only guitars. Bass Guitarist Pär Sundström’s playing acts in harmony with the booming vocals and cranks up the low-end in the songs to give them the dark atmospherics needed for the subject matter. Daniel Mullback, as well as keeping the pace, also adds to the dark atmospherics with some precision bass kicking and floor tom tub thumping. Most songs on the album are mid to fast paced, the notable exceptions being Rise Of Evil and Light In The Back which are slower, yet with no loss of power. Another similarity with Primo Victoria is the final ‘Party Piece’ song Metal Crüe. This time, instead of using lines and titles from other Metal songs, Sabaton have used metal band names to make up the lyrics of this song, like this chorus:

When the priest killed a maiden in the metal church
Armored saints and warlocks watched the slaughter
Rage of the slayer forced the pretty maids
To kiss the Queen in crimson glory

I count 12 bands mentioned there.

Attero Dominatus, is one of those albums that has all the right ingredients to get you up and bopping, punching your fist in the air and singing along trying to bust a gut. I have been playing it (and Primo Victoria) almost constantly for the best part of two weeks now and I still get that feeling of wanting more when they finish. If that’s what it’s like listening to them on CD, what’s it going to be like seeing them live? I hope they have enough for at least 10 encores, and I can see the crowd eventually having to get flushed out the doors with a fire hose. To me, Sabaton have raised the bar in the sub-genre of Battle Anthem Power Metal to a level that will have other bands of their ilk struggling to get near never mind clearing.
Killing Songs :
Ross quoted 95 / 100
Chris quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by Sabaton that we have reviewed:
Sabaton - The Last Stand (Limited Edition) reviewed by Chris and quoted 87 / 100
Sabaton - Heroes reviewed by Chris and quoted 100 / 100
Sabaton - Carolus Rex reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 89 / 100
Sabaton - World War Live: Battle Of The Baltic Sea reviewed by Aleksie and quoted no quote
Sabaton - Coat of Arms reviewed by Chris and quoted 92 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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