Gods & Generals

“Gods & Generals,” the sophomore release from Swedish power metal ensemble Civil War, hits every point on the power metal checklist, and yet remains overall unremarkable.

Formed from four former members of the popular band Sabaton, Civil War started off with plenty of potential. The members had already proved themselves in Sabaton, so a new band would seem like a sure thing. Unfortunately, Civil War lacks the unique heavy vocals that made Sabaton stand out from the power metal crowd. With Nils Patrik Johansson as a voice, Civil War sounds just like another, Helloween. However, while they may not sound so special now, they are still a talented group with quality music.

As formulaic as most power metal is, it can still be difficult to arrange songs in such a way to make them sound exciting and still fresh. “Gods & Generals” takes most every bit of the formula, even adding an orchestral intro to the album on “War of the World,” and serves it quite well. Everything here feels like a familiar form of “new” melodies that have been heard before and yet are not old. In other words, “Gods & Generals” is the epitome of average, with a familiar sound that makes the dynamic songs with catchy choruses stand out a bit more than they might otherwise.

In this sense, it can be a challenge to know whether or not the album is good if it seems so recycled. Fortunately for Civil War, though, the album is strong and fun, like most power metal is. And the fact that the vocal style is melodic and high, as opposed to brutally harsh, opens up the work to a much wider audience than they might have had otherwise.

In the end, “Gods & Generals” is more than worth the time to listen to, for though it isn’t ground breaking or remarkable, it’s fun enough to hold your attention all the way through.