Civil War

Pumpehuset, Copenhagen - 2016

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

After Sabaton released the Carolus Rex album, the band split into two fractions – Joakim Brodén and Pär Sundström kept the name, and kept up the tradition of making power metal with lyrics inspired by wars and soldiers.
The rest of the band, Daniel Mullback, Richard Sundén, Daniel Mÿhr, and Oskar Montelius, joined forces (yes, pun intended) with Nils Patrik Johansson, whom we have earlier met in Wuthering Heights, and Stefan ‘Pizza’ Eriksson, whom we don’t know from earlier. Together, they created Civil War, a power metal band which focuses their lyrics on the topics of wars and soldiers. And there you have it.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let me see some fucking hands! C’mon Copenhagen!”
- Nils Patrik Johansson (vocals)


What we saw taking the stage of Pumpehuset, was a slightly different line-up however. Since inception, the band has seen some changes. Montelius and Pizza have left, and Petrus Granar has joined in on guitar. Mullback hasn’t left, but he wasn’t available for this show, so the band played with a stand-in drummer, whom I sadly didn’t catch the name of.
And, as you can see, if you’ve counted heads properly that is, there was no bassist. This wasn’t without merit however, as the small slip of stage allowed for Civil War by Powerwolf’s large setup, could only hold so much.
Sadly, Civil War’s first visit to Denmark, as far as I’m informed, wasn’t a pretty one, and much of this had to do with the sound. I can’t remember hearing sound this bad at a concert before, especially not in Pumpehuset, a place normally on top of the technical game. I don’t know what went wrong, but it was wrong! The sound was muddy, everything smashed everything else so nothing was coming through clearly, and the vocals were buried. As if that wasn’t enough, Johansson’s microphone chord fell out at one point, without him noticing it.
Not that this was a huge problem. You see, what I’ve found out from listening to Civil War, both live and then afterwards on recording, is that I don’t like Johansson’s vocals. I can’t sugar-coat it, and I don’t want to. Civil War as a band is putting out highly competent music – it’s catchy, it’s fun, and it hits the mark – but the vocals drags it down. It’s not just that I don’t enjoy the sound, but I sincerely don’t think they mesh with the band either. They’d be more at home in a resurrected NWOBH band. I can’t remember having this sort of problem with him in Wuthering Heights back in the day, but it’s not for Civil War.

Now that I believe that this nail is securely hammered in, let’s move on, shall we?
While there were things going against Civil War, their performance wasn’t one of them. Most of these men are experienced at playing for huge crowds as well as small ones, and it was clear to see that nothing had gotten lost in that department. While Johansson was staggering around uncontrollably (yeah, I’m just not a fan, ok?), the musicians were using the small slip of stage as best as they possibly could. Both guitarists were lively and having fun, and Mÿhr, while looking red in the face from, most likely, the heat brought on by the thick coat he was wearing, also had a good deal of contact with the crowd.
On the floor, there was already a very large crowd gathered, and the heat was swelling up. Copenhagen gave Civil War a nice welcome to our town. It wasn’t the insane throng that it would turn into as the main act moved in for the kill later on, but highly acceptable.

“Thank you! Tack som fan! Mange tak!”
- Johansson (vocals)


Civil War had a respectable 50 minutes to play in, and the band used it well, delivering a good many songs which was sure to please any fans that might have shown up.
For my part, I wasn’t completely sold yet, for obvious reasons, but I don’t think it’s a band that should be counted out either. Let’s see what happens in the future.

Setlist:

USS Monitor
Saint Patrick’s Day
Braveheart
Gettysburg
Gods And Generals
Schindler’s Ark
I Will Rule The Universe
Bay Of Pigs
Rome Is Falling
When Johnny Comes Marching Home

Civil War

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