Review: Civil War – The Last Desperate Measure

civilwarlastfullcd.jpgWritten by Brett Kihlmire

When Civil War first came onto the scene many wrote them off as a Sabaton clone due to their similar lyrical themes and largely ex-Sabaton lineup. But with two full lengths and an extended play the band has shown itself as something fresh and invigorating. Now that the third full length is out it’s safe to say the band is better than ever.

After listening to this album through and through twice, sometimes thrice, daily for two weeks I can honestly say this is an excellent album through and through. Everything hits just right from the shreddy solos, the ferocity of the drums, gnarly riffs, atmospheric synths, and the epic vocals and storytelling style of Nils Patrik Johansson.

Focusing a bit more on American history on this album, though not completely, Civil War touches greatly on the 19th and 20th centuries with the addicting ‘Tombstone’ and ‘Gangs of New York,’ but takes us across the ocean to Ancient Rome with ‘Gladiator’ and to the battlefields of Europe with ‘Strike Hard Strike Sure.’ While these are just a couple of my personal favorite tracks from the album, these are some of the best examples of what Civil War brought to the table this time around.

On The Last Desperate Measure, Civil War amped up their storytelling with deep and compelling lyrics, tight riffing, and plenty of flair courtesy of keyboardist Daniel Mÿhr. Honestly, if ‘Tombstone’ doesn’t have you dancing or at least singing along then you’re not enjoying this album.

One thing that is greatly apparent on this album is that Civil War took a stronger power metal approach this time around. While I enjoyed Gods and Generals, I have to say that album was far more experimental than the self-titled EP or Killer Angels. With The Last Desperate Measure the band brought a great deal of speed, riffing, and atmosphere that was present on the last album but not as much as on this one.

Aside from the riff heavy ‘Gladiator,’ the folksy ‘Tombstone’ and the atmospheric ‘Gangs of New York’ there are plenty other outstanding songs. The album opener ‘Road to Victory’ was the perfect way to start the album off with Johansson’s soaring vocals, tight riffing and prominent synths, while ‘People of the Abyss’ was a late album gem that kept the album from going stale before some seriously awesome closing tunes like ‘Strike Hard Strike Sure’ and ‘Aftermath.’

As I had said, I had listened to this album twice, sometimes thrice daily, for two weeks. This wasn’t initially because of my passion for the album but because I actually didn’t like it at first. To be perfectly honest, I had this same feeling for every Civil War album, but my heart always changed and I came to love the release. That being said, I’m not sure if The Last Desperate Measure is the best Civil War album yet, but it is definitely on par with everything that has come before it. Least to say, this album is definitely worth your time and money, so check it out if you dig power metal, especially if you want a history lesson. 8.5/10

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