I am not a big history buff, but there are events that you hear about and stay with you for different reasons. One such event happened on the Western Front in December 1914 (during World War I), when soldiers from the two opposing armies ceased fire and sang carols together. I first learned about this beautiful moment in time from the 2005 movie “Joyeux Noel.” Now, SABATON sings about it on their latest single, “Christmas Truce.”
To tell such an emotional story, you need a proper setting and that setting is the underlying piano melody that sounds very similar to “The Carol of the Bells.” It brings that Christmas-y vibe to the song, acting like the anchor that grounds the hopeful mood of the story while the lyrics paint a very vivid picture of the event that perspired on that memorable day. Joakim Brodén’s delivery is equally powerful and haunting, while the choir that sings the sleek and catchy chorus brings to mind the choirs of carolers going around on Christmas Eve. But in this case, it is soldiers that praise this “moment of peace in a war that never ends,” singing for themselves and to themselves… and for a magical few hours, they are all brothers and friends. Every time that chorus comes around, I get goosebumps, so well done!
The instrumental side is here more to support the vocals and the piano, and as such it doesn’t exactly steal the show, except for the masterful guitar solo that expands on the main melody of the track. After the solo, the music builds in intensity as the drums take more of a central stage and work in tandem with the chugging keys and melodic guitar to give an ominous and dark ambiance to the track. The backing female vocals that pop up here and there add depth and texture to the scope of the music. The fact that the song incorporates an almost acapella rendition of the chorus just highlights the beauty and emotion of the affair that inspired it, which resonates just as powerfully today.
The official video captures both the brutality of war and the peaceful few hours of friendship beautifully, ending in a wonderful crescendo of piano, drums, and operatic vocals courtesy of Floor Jansen (NIGHTWISH) for maximum impact. Check the video out below, if you haven’t already, or just play it again and let the music wash over you. It’s not for nothing that it gathered over 1.5 million views in just a few days…
Written by Andrea Crow