Review Summary: "This can't be Sabaton! is it?? Why aren't there WWII based lyrics? Those sellouts!"Keep in mind that the summary was just a joke.
For the people who don’t know about Sabaton. They’re a power metal outfit that hails from Sweden, and have a soaring popularity within the genre of power metal with a renowned style that they can call their own. What I mean is that they’re very unique within the genre by defying the clichés of dragon slaying lyrics with their replacement of actual historical based lyrics, mainly being about WWII. They also deny the use of high pitched vocals and center around more of a baritone range rather than a tenor range, and that mainly has to do with the actual vocalist’s skill as a singer. I’m not saying he’s a bad singer; he’s far from it and is a worthy highlight within the genre itself. This time around Sabaton shifts gears from their excessive admiration of WWII towards something based on their own country’s history of the once great Swedish Empire from start to finish in Carolus Rex
. Basically the lyrics mainly focus on highlights of the Swedish Empire’s main historical events, such as how great Gustavus Adolphus was, the crowning of other successors of the Empire, along with other major battles, and the downfall of the Empire itself.
After listening to the short little intro, the album soon bursts into the powerful starter of “The Lion from the North”, which showcases some great vocal arrangements with a stellar guitar solo followed by an electric keyboard solo as well; a worthy song indeed. Once the third song comes in (but really it’s the second song) the listener should realize that vocalist Joakim Brodén, starts singing in his native tongue of Swedish, if not we have a problem with your ability to sense your surroundings. Generally speaking, it’s quite refreshing to hear a band of their popularity to be singing in their own native language - it adds character, overall vibe, and different musical arrangements that one wouldn’t hear if it were in English (basically it deals with the rhythmic flow of the lyrics being in the language it’s in). The Swedish lyrics also appear in quite a few more songs such as “Poltava”, which also runs in the same vein as “The Lion from the North” by being an upbeat song with an enjoyable keyboard solo. While the self-titled track is purely epic as a whole and worth the listen (as the rest of the album is), the entire flow of the music seems to be in the general formula Sabaton incorporates: epic verse – epic chorus - decent/enjoyable solo – epic steroids injected into the music, however you describe the sound you have to include the word epic
within it. What I’m trying to say, is that Sabaton has always put off that epic vibe practically in every single song in their entire career, and Carolus Rex
only adds to the ongoing list of epic songs they have.
Like I was saying earlier about their lyrical theme being about history and not dragon slaying, they somehow manage to keep history geeks like me entertained. While the album isn’t re-shaping the power metal genre; Sabaton still shows the world that they are still coming up with fresh ideas that center around world history, and that means they’ll have endless inspiration of themes for upcoming albums. The best part of Carolus Rex
is that it isn’t overly cheesy, and maintains consistency. While the album itself can’t compete to the other metal releases in 2012, it sure does hold its own by being a solid release none the less. Yet, the formula Sabaton has been following in their music writing during their entire career will soon dry up if they don’t re-invent their sound in upcoming future albums.
Note: There is a Swedish version of the album where every single song is sung in Swedish, while the International Release has a mix of English and Swedish vocals, mainly English. The same rules apply with the English version as the International version does, except it includes a bonus track entitled “In the Army Now”.