“This album was intended to be the debut album of the band Sabaton from Sweden. Unfortunate things altered these plans and even though the album was recorded as early as 2002 it has yet never seen the light. Five years later we are proud to finally present to you the first years of Sabaton., the debut album Metalizer and the earliest demos that made up the compilation know as Fist for Fight.” (Booklet notes)
All songs are recorded somewhere (many at Studio Abyss) between 2000 and 2002. Most music and lyrics by Brodén, with some help from the others.
Sabaton are one of those bands that I’d heard of in passing but had never actually listened to. To give them the benefit of the doubt given this, their third release, was meant to be their début album; they may have improved since in the last five years. Taking this album at face value, however, I haven’t missed much in not hearing them before now.
Musically this album falls somewhere between Judas Priest (just consider the album cover!) and Helloween but with a very Scandinavian feel: melodic but gruff vocals, plenty of opportunity for backing vocal choruses, a prominent keyboard sound behind the guitars. This is clearly a band that’s read the manual on heavy metal. But the trouble is when they regurgitate it it’s never too far from a cliché.
Take the lyrics for the title track, “Metalizer’, for example:
We live for the magic in the sound,
distorted guitars are breaking ground
The drum pounding faster than my heart,
the vocals are screaming extreme art
The passion for metal drives us forth,
the best heavy metal comes from north
The powerful tunes, spectacular shows,
the audience screams in ecstasy
Back with a vengeance
All that I need is heavy metal
Metal is all that I need
It’s like an entry from the Eurovision Song Contest! And I’m afraid that it doesn’t get much better than that. Clearly many of the songs are meant to sound dark and evil, with lyrics like “No use to pray, there’s no one listening / I will die anyway […] Creations of God? / No way!” or “Clouds are gathering in the darkness, lightning strikes the earth / Evil forces celebrate, Lucifer’s rebirth”, the calculator-tastic song title: “7734”. But to me the lyrics never really sound sincere, and the music doesn’t reinforce it, either. It’s all rather poppy and cheesy, to be honest.
And speaking of pop, does this sound like a metal classic to you, written to strike fear in the depths of your soul?
“Masters of the World”
We’re a small crowd left to rotten,
There’s not many hard souls left
As the pop is growing stronger
Will metal fade away?
Will we be broken?
Will we go down?
No! We’ll never fall we’re the masters of the world
Get up! let’s break those chains
And party all night long
As I’m tweaking with my radio
There’s disco everywhere
When i turn on my big TV
Is hip-hop what I plan to seek?
Have we been broken?
Did we go down?
This double album really didn’t do it for me, I’m sorry to say. I listened to much of the album in the my car en route to work; Last.fm reports that I listened to only five tracks while connected to the internet! I do get that some people will get it; I’m just not one of them.
I’ll need to check out their newer material to see how they developed, but until then I’ll have to give this a very poor review score.
Review score: 35%.