Daniel Myhr and his band of miscreants have sat around dawdling for a while now. Even after recruiting acclaimed Adagio vocalist Kelly Sundown, silence wasn’t broken for a good length of time. Finally in 2019 single Dead Man’s Glory was released, showcasing the talents of their new vocalist. Took another three years for Civil War to finally drop the rikthyvel and unleash another full length; Invaders. And it’s another abject lesson in slapping Sabaton’s balls. Because let’s face it, we all know that’s what this is about; taking that old school, ultra powerful Sabaton sound some of the guys here were instrumental in creating and rolling with it into the future while the big guys roll in money whilst reiterating forgettable arena rockers. As per usual, we’re offered some bombastic power metal according to the style. While there are a couple show stopping arena smashers, nothing here screams of the pandering accessibility so modernly common in the usual comparison.
Since last time around, Civil War have recruited the aforementioned Kelly Sundown to replace Nils Patrik Johansson (still waiting for that Wuthering Heights follow up man) in the vocals department after a sour break up. Thobbe Englund (also of previous Sabaton fame, huh, funny how that works out) has stepped in on guitars alongside Petrus Granar. And if they can keep it rolling, the line-up seems tight as heck on Invaders, under Myhr’s tyranic rule, err, leadership. Opening smash hit Oblivion strikes much like an epic Symphonity track like Symphonity no longer makes ‘em, dramatic and powerful; massive riffing tossing thunder and lightning alongside epic, evocative keyboards. Kelly Sundown does fall into the usual pit of having to sound like his predecessor; sometimes you’d be excused for thinking Nils Patrik Johansson actually made a guest spot. Ultimately though, Sundown’s intense performance from Dead Man’s Glory is replicated in full force here, and he delivers some impressive feats that should please any fan of his days in Outworld. And I swear he's got something Herbie Langhans-esque (Beyond the Bridge, Radiant, ex- SInbreed) about him when he delves deep for those intense, powerful parts.
Myhr keeps revealing those moments where you can tell the lad is one of Europe’s finest keyboardists; one that has cultivated a unique sound of his own. Knowing his limits and tossing together a powerful power metal anthem like nobody’s business, he’s riding his strengths on Invaders, which proves hard to turn off once you start. Like the previous Civil War albums it does sit on a couple of absolute highlights, while much of the rest don’t quite reach the same levels. What’s new is the intensity throughout, the flow of the album feels natural and the pacing controlled, and the lows are still higher than on previous albums. Songs like Warrior Soul and Slaughterhouse 5, near the end of the album where you think they’ll toss the filler actually turn out to increase the intense power metal pounding. In a sense, Invaders just doesn’t stop; the entire band seems on fire. A few years of thought have certainly done Civil War well, resulting in their most bombastic album so far and a damn fine comeback.
Standout tracks: Oblivion, Dead Man’s Glory, Invaders