Rating:
6.0
Sabaton - Carolus Rex
25 May 2012


Disc I [Swedish version]
01. Dominium Maris Baltici
02. Lejonet Från Norden
03. Gott Mit Uns
04. En Livstid I Krig
05. 1648
06. Karolinens Bön
07. Carolus Rex
08. Ett Slag Färgat Rött
09. Poltava
10. Konungens Likfärd
11. Ruina Imperii


Disc II [English version]
01. Dominium Maris Baltici
02. The Lion From The North
03. Gott Mit Uns
04. A Lifetime Of War
05. 1648
06. The Carolean's Prayer
07. Carolus Rex
08. Killing Ground
09. Poltava
10. Long Live The King
11. Ruina Imperii
12. Twilight Of The Thunder God [Amon Amarth cover] [Mailorder edition bonus]
13. In The Army Now [Status Quo cover] [Mailorder edition bonus]
14. Feuer Frei [Rammstein cover] [Mailorder edition bonus]


Thundering double bass drums, demented bumblebee keyboards, Joakim's bold cries of war - it couldn't be anything other than Sabaton. Carolus Rex is the Swede's sixth album with an added twist that it is available in both Swedish and English versions. It is also the band's last album with the original line-up, having shed four members a couple of months ago.

Rewind four years to The Art Of War and Sabaton were on top form, by a long way their best album and the world was at their feet. Two years later and Coat Of Arms felt like an album churned out for the sake of releasing an album. Two more years on and Carolus Rex follows the same trend.

Some bands can get away with releasing the same album over and over, from AC/DC to Vader it works for some bands, and it works for Sabaton too. The problems arise however, when the next album along doesn't please you as much as the last and you may just as well listen to that past release. There is no reason why anyone would want to pick Carolus Rex up in favour of The Art Of War for example; they sound almost exactly the same, there are fast and slow songs on both, but that previous album is simply more memorable, more epic, and just better in general.

Carolus Rex is a decent album, it certainly has some good moments. "The Lion From The North" is a classic Sabaton stomper and "Gott Mit Uns" with a hint of folk influence will be a great addition to the band's live show. Perhaps excluding "The Carolean's Prayer" too, the rest of the album is largely uninspired and bland. A great opening couple of songs, but from the bright start to the underwhelmingly dull ending, Carolus Rex unfortunately provides very little to entice the listener back.

Sabaton still sound very much like Sabaton, and those that relish in the band's distinctive sound will no doubt find themselves enjoying Carolus Rex too, but comparing to the electricity and excitement the band brought with Primo Victoria and Attero Dominatus - perhaps it is the right time for Sabaton to introduce some new blood and new enthusiasm into the band.


--

Heavy Power metal
Sweden
Length: 45:10
Nuclear Blast

Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 9


Band profile: Sabaton
Album: Carolus Rex


 



Written on 09.06.2012 by
Baz Anderson
Member of Staff since 2006.
More reviews by Baz Anderson ››

Guest review by
ScreamingSteelUS

Rating:
9.5
I must admit that I was disappointed when I first listened to Carolus Rex. By the time this album was released, Sabaton had been firmly established as one of my favorite bands, and from the moment I held Coat Of Arms in my hands I was eagerly awaiting the next masterpiece. Upon first listen, I was a little confused and let down. Carolus Rex sounds more like Sabaton than any previous Sabaton release. I could take literally any song from this album and tell you which older songs had been mashed up to produce it (for example, "The Lion From The North" is "Coat Of Arms" plus "40:1," "Gott Mit Uns" is basically "Union"). Fortunately, I refused to accept that Sabaton could produce anything less than pure, weapons-grade excellence, so I listened again and again until I understood it.

Read more ››
published 28.12.2012 | Comments (6)

Guest review by
ManiacBlasphemer

Rating:
8.6
Since The Art Of War, Sabaton has been releasing a new studio album in a 2 year cycle. Can we expect something different from Carolus Rex? I am a fan of their works ever since The Art Of War was unleashed with a brilliant adaptation of Sun Tzu's writings. While Coat of Arms lacked spirit and seemed overly recycled, Carolus Rex is a product that seems very similar to their 4th studio effort; with much more force and vitality behind it, one can use an adjective such as catchy for this kind of effort. Same like The Art Of War, Carolus Rex is a concept album revolving around King Carolus (Gustav II Adolf) of Sweden who reigned around the 30 year war period. He is credited to be the king that helped Sweden become an important part of the international community back in the 17th century.

Read more ››
published 09.01.2013 | Comments (1)



Comments

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Kingface - 09.06.2012 at 18:31  
Very interesting review Baz. Received my copy of the album yesterday and plan on giving it a spin soon.
WorpeX - 09.06.2012 at 18:39  
I haven't heard this album yet, but the review seems to be the complete opposite from what everyone else on MetalStorm seems to be saying about it. In the album page, everyone is giving it rave reviews with 10's and 9's. I'll have to check it out.

Edit: HOLY SHIT the "Twilight of the Thunder God" cover is AWESOME.
Troy Killjoy - 09.06.2012 at 18:42  
I've never bothered with this band but this is the first primarily negative review of the album I've come across. User scores on a few sites are generally high and the general consensus seems to be that this is a very strong release. Seems you've found yourself a part of the minority, Baz.
Rulatore - 09.06.2012 at 18:47  
I personally liked this one more than the others, I think that the Swedish lyrics work better for them (I didnt like it hearing the english version)
nicaZe - 09.06.2012 at 18:54  
Could not wait for this album to come out and now, after reading this review, I don't want to listen to it.
PocketMetal - 09.06.2012 at 21:00  
I can't even begin to listen to an album that has two versions of every song , I know it's weird but it annoys me .
pass .
Wraith000 - 09.06.2012 at 21:51  
Disagree with the review
Fredd - 10.06.2012 at 01:06  
I beg to disagree. I've only listened to The Art of War before this one, and I find Carolus Rex superior and more consistent, as I didnt like those spoken interludes on The Art of War, felt they broke the flow. But on this album I like every single song. Yes, it's more of the same, but since this isn't a progressive metal band, it's ok for me if they don't progress. It's not like this is their 15th album or anything.
Cuca Beludo - 10.06.2012 at 01:25  
Well... completely disagree with everything you said. This album got my attention from the first to the last song, all of them powerful and epic and this album for me is surely a 10. Both "The Art of War" and "Coat of Arms" were awesome, better than this one, to say the truth. But it's not an excuse to find this album "normal sabaton".


I hope the new members make awesome music like this, and also the new "Civil War" band from the former members
Mr. Blonde - 10.06.2012 at 03:23  
Disagree with the review too. I liked it, because it's consistent with their previous offerings. Sure I'll give it a One for originality, but I'll also give it a Ten for all the other categories. The production is rock solid on this and the cover of TotTG feels fresh.
bloodwrage - 10.06.2012 at 04:55  
A 6? I would give it maybe a 7.5, 7.8. It's a fun little romp.
Baz Anderson - 10.06.2012 at 07:33  
Well it's great that some people disagree with me. I didn't read anything or whatever before I wrote this. I've been with Sabaton since the start, and I do like this band a lot. Just not their last two albums so much.
neonxaos - 10.06.2012 at 10:05  
I dunno... it seems to be a very coherent album, but the standout tracks are all at the beginning, which causes the whole thing to lose some steam halfway through. It becomes slightly too slow and epic for its own good, yet in the grand scheme of things, this is not so bad. But hey, it's the digital age, that's what playlists are for.
ianathema - 10.06.2012 at 11:29  
Fair rating, I deleted it after listen to 5 or 6 songs. It sounds like pop music, every track is the same...
R'Vannith - 10.06.2012 at 12:31  
Stronger than the previous album I would say and it just feels so damn heavy, but definitely not worth some of the hype I've seen on the web. A few strong tracks but they are clearly not a band geared for much diversity in songwriting. The bit of Elvenking like folk in 'Gott Mit Uns' is a welcome touch. I really like '1648' and 'Poltava'. Its interesting that you consider it so weak, it seems pretty strong for a Sabaton album, of the three I've heard at least, but I suppose when you've had enough you've had enough, I imagine you can only handle so much of the same thing.
Warman - 10.06.2012 at 15:13  
I totally get what you're saying here Baz. Although to me this is the first Sabaton release I really love and the best album of 2012 so far. BUT (!), I realise that I'm in no way objective here and that I'm totally sold on the fact that it's in swedish and a theme about my beloved swedish empire years.

I'm really not that into the english version of the album, mainly because the lyrics doesn't shine through there as on the swedish version. Like "En livstid i krig/A Lifetime of War"... it's not even the same song to me. The swedish lyrics are amazing, the english kinda... meh. Same goes for the rest of the songs.
Malaghost - 10.06.2012 at 16:42  
I just have to completely agree with the review. The reminiscence of Art of War is in this album really strong and I caught myself thinking, is in playlist really new Sabaton? Lot of tunes sound almost exactly same as in forementioned album. For a new listener who has just found about Sabaton, it can be really new and kick ass stuff, but for old fans this is just another version of TAoW. And worse imo.
Dani5050 - 10.06.2012 at 18:07  
Very good review, I don't agreed with the score but I sure agreed with what you wrote, I enjoy the album though but can't compare it to the previous ones.
Valentin B - 10.06.2012 at 18:49  
This is imo Sabaton's best album to date and an extremely asskicking album (the swedish version) and a merely above average release (the english version) at the same time. There are no really boring songs and the first 7 tracks are absolutely top class power metal, which is difficult to find nowadays. the problem is with the lyrics, which with the new members i hope will change as they really need to work on their vocabulary and rhymes. the best example is in the title track. what is more epic:

Min tid nalkas, denna tid går mot sitt slut. (my time is nearing, these times are coming to a close)
Hela Stockholm ser mig krönas, kanoner skjut salut. (all of Stockholm sees my crowning, canons shoot the salute)

or

All embrace me, It's my time to rule at last
Fifteen years have I been waiting, to sit upon my throne

I think with a bit of work they might just capitalize on this album's success.

I respect your opinion Baz though, as always.
arwestromen - 11.06.2012 at 14:57  
Wow so diferent from my experience of the new album altough the swedish version is way much better
TuphTuph - 11.06.2012 at 15:12  
After listening to it a couple of times, the only thought that comes to my mind is that it isn't good nor bad. Somewhere in between. It is Sabaton, it has that oldschool Sabaton feel, though a little bit different, maybe because I got used to listen about WWII/WWI. What it lacks is some epicness that their previous albums had. It is not a fail, but it's simply overrated because it's Sabaton. Somehow I feel that I was just listening to old albums again and again, all the riffs sound similar, all the songs sound the same, I had some kind of a deja-vu while listening to it. It has fast drumming, it has good riffs (they may sound like fillers only, from time to time), but it doesn't have something that would pump adrenaline into my veins like "The Art of War" would. Songs may sound different when played live, and with the new crew, though I do feel a little disappointed in the end. I was expecting more aggressive album, to say, and I got songs which get out of my head much faster than they would stuck inside of it. Besides, their Thunder God cover is one of the best songs on the album without any doubt. And it isn't even their song.

Sorry, but no more than a fair 7 for this one.
boo-boo - 14.06.2012 at 23:44  
I definitely agree with this review, this album focuses on being bombastic and orchestral and everything, but the songs remain boring anyway.
DelightfulJim - 21.06.2012 at 15:10  
For the most part I disagree. But then again this is only one of two Sabaton albums I heard in full (the other was obviously Art Of War), and to be honest, I much prefer this.


I mean, the choir and symphonic keyboard arrangements were absolutely lush in this album, whereas it just sounded flat as hell in Art of War. I think I only liked one song from that entire album ("Ghost Division"). This clicked with me more. Like you said, "Lion From The North" is a brilliantly done song, if you exclude the samey drum-beats. But other than that I loved the majority of the album. "Poltava", "A lifetime Of War", "The Carolean's Prayer" and even the title track. I think it's their most accomplished album so far, even though it's hardly perfect.

The lyrics in english are really flat, and a bit geared towards simply giving facts. But the Swede's seem to love their version since it's in their language, the lyrics seem to be much better, from what I hear. But ah well, each to their own I suppose.

Also the Amon Amarth cover was awesome.


Good review nonetheless though
Nero - 29.06.2012 at 00:25  
I disagree with the review, then again we all think differently. It did though take some time getting into but I have now listened to both versions many many times and didn't think I would say this but the Swedish version is better. I usually don't like things sung in my own language that much, but it just feels like it's more powerful when they sing in their own language. Maybe I can hear the lyrics better in Swedish but there are some short moments in some tracks that when compared stands out.
Nemo Atkins - 08.07.2012 at 00:54  
I think Baz makes a good point, as much as I disagree with much of his review: there are points, when listening to this, that I find myself thinking "That sounds a bit like another song of theirs" (a couple of parts of "The Lion From The North" had me convinced I'd somehow got "40:1" on the album). However, compared to most of the other releases I've heard that were released this year, this is definitely one of the strongest I've heard (oddly, it's competing against DragonForce, much to my own surprise and disbelief).
BLIND GUARDIAN - 06.08.2012 at 00:32  
I totally disagree with your review man. This album has depth and is very powerful. You mentioned 3 songs that you liked. What about 1648? What about Carolus Rex? Poltava?

1/10 for the review. This album kicks a$$
Druss - 06.08.2012 at 02:14  
^I'm assuming he felt they were, to some extent, ''uninspired and bland''. Frankly, I can see your point of view, Baz, in that, if you don't like the general tone of the album, it is going to be bland, as it remains at mostly the same pace, the same level of songwriting, etc through most/all of the album. I enjoyed it, but its definately not something groundbreaking, for me, it was solid, and I enjoy some of the catchier choruses on this album, but even I wouldn't give it above a 7.5, 8 if I was feeling generous. Maybe I'll end up fully agreeing with you when I finally get around to listening to their older stuff.
Troy Killjoy - 06.08.2012 at 04:44  
Written by BLIND GUARDIAN on 06.08.2012 at 00:32
You mentioned 3 songs that you liked. What about 1648? What about Carolus Rex? Poltava?

Maybe he didn't like those songs.

Maybe.
BLIND GUARDIAN - 06.08.2012 at 19:03  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 06.08.2012 at 04:44

Written by BLIND GUARDIAN on 06.08.2012 at 00:32
You mentioned 3 songs that you liked. What about 1648? What about Carolus Rex? Poltava?

Maybe he didn't like those songs.

Maybe.


I think these are the ones he likes bro ;-) he says the rest of the album is uninspired and bland...
Kingface - 07.11.2012 at 23:41  
As a Sabaton fan, when I first listened to this Album, it didn't do much for me. I felt like it offered nothing that their previous material didn't already offer.

But after the second and third listen, I started liking it a bit more, I was getting attached to certain songs and the album flowed nicely. A few more listens since and I'm really liking this Album overall. 'The Lion from the North', 'Gott Mit Uns' and 'The Carolean's Player' are particular highlights.

To be honest, I think they've done a really good job on both 'Coat of Arms' (I loved that Album instantly) and this Album, considering there are always going to struggle to make an Album as good as 'The Art of War'.

Edit: Also, the cover of 'Twilight of the Thunder God' is really good!

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