Rating:
9.5
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]


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.

Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that Carolus Rex has far more to offer than simple re-writes and re-hashes. Perhaps it is the nature of a concept album, the fact that Sabaton get to sing about their own national heroes, or some other third thing, but the guys obviously put their hearts into these songs like no previous venture. The songs gel remarkably well, and it is difficult to rate them individually because the album is such a strong effort in its entirety. Peter Tägtgren adds much personality to "Gott Mit Uns," the pounding "Poltava" is impossible to get out of your head, and the bridge in the middle of "Killing Ground" will force you to raise your fist in the air and shout along mightily.

The truth is that if you know Sabaton to any reasonable extent, you will know exactly what to expect from Carolus Rex. Joakim Broden's deep, gravelly voice and Brobdingnagian sing-along choruses, bright keyboards and twin lead guitars, lyrics about killing and fighting and dying and death; it's all here. It flows like Coat Of Arms, it enchants like The Art Of War, and it kicks ass like Primo Victoria. The title track is a work of art so great that the rest of the album could have been Sabaton's own Lulu and I would not have noticed. The drums pound like cannon fire, the solo carries the soul of the entire Swedish Empire, and the hooks are so gigantic that they make Devin Townsend's discography look like the list of successful communist regimes. No matter how loud your system is, when "Carolus Rex" starts playing, it needs to be one louder.

Ultimately, Carolus Rex was a disappointment that evolved into a blessing. You would think that such an admittedly formulaic band would soon run out of fantastic songs to write, but judging by this record, Sabaton have not yet reached that point, and might never.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 6
Production: 9


Band profile: Sabaton
Album: Carolus Rex


 


written by ScreamingSteelUS | 28.12.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
Baz Anderson

Rating:
6.0
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.

Read more ››
published 09.06.2012 | Comments (30)

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)



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Warman - 29.12.2012 at 00:07  
A while ago I was wondering about what the best album of 2012 was. It hit me that this was it. I've never been much of a fan of Sabaton. But you guys can't imagine how big this album is in Sweden. Everyone listened to Sabaton before it. But suddenly EVERYONE listened to Sabaton, and I mean everyone.

It was a bit hard to accept it. Sabaton making the best album of the year? But these songs have been playing at every party I've been at. No me complaining about what "kind of fucking metal they think they're playing". No me screaming "this is fucking shit, this isn't real metal" while being drunker than ever before.

As a huge fan of swedish history, as a future history teacher, as a fan of metal sung in swedish, I just can't resist this album.
R Lewis - 29.12.2012 at 18:05  
"the list of successful communist regimes". LOL. Anyway, a great review for a great album.
ScreamingSteelUS - 29.12.2012 at 21:22  
Written by R Lewis on 29.12.2012 at 18:05

"the list of successful communist regimes". LOL. Anyway, a great review for a great album.

Thank you. I'm happy with that line.
R Lewis - 29.12.2012 at 22:08  
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 29.12.2012 at 21:22

Thank you. I'm happy with that line.

Anyway, I would have remarked also "The Carolean's Prayer". Imo is one of the most inspired songs of the whole album...
PhantomLord21 - 30.12.2012 at 21:33  
Well, there goes my first review of 2013...

In all seriousness, you covered everything I thought about the album and, whilst I think you did rate it a bit too high (the fact many of the songs are reminiscent of other Sabaton songs would have had me drop the rating down to a high 8), I agree overall with your review. Contender for power metal album of the year, in my book.

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