Recent months have proven to be unexpectedly turbulent times in Sabaton’s history. Having completed this album, “Carolus Rex”, 4/6ths of the band departed before its release; a huge bolt from the blue moment considering how the band had previously in interviews stated their undying unity for one another. Even more baffling considering that “Carolus Rex” is a very strong album and is barrels of fun.
Admittedly, Sabaton are not the most diverse of bands. Despite being one of the most purely enjoyable bands about, their albums and sound isn’t the most challenging and can prove to be pretty formulaic. Not necessarily a negative point, just an observation. On “Carolus Rex” however, whilst not drastically deviating from their blueprint as such, there are some added elements to the mix which increase the albums dynamic widely. A larger range of tempos sees a mixture of both mid tempo and faster songs present, showing the bands talents much more strongly. The inclusion of female choir parts, such as on the colossal “The Lion From The North” add a more grandiose feeling to proceedings as well.
The song writing on “Carolus Rex” as well has taken major leaps and bounds, and this album may just be the bands strongest collection of songs to date (in my humble opinion that is). Your more typical Sabaton numbers like “The Lion From The North”, the title track and “Gott Mit Uns” are so immediate and some of the bands most anthemic tunes to date. Album highlight has to be the impressive sounding “The Carolean’s Prayer” with it’s almost Black Sabbath meets Manowar riff and feeling of absolute grandeur. The cover of Amon Amarth’s “Twilight Of The Thunder God” is a curious inclusion as well but one that comes off rather well as well.
Once again, it does seem strange to see the band’s ranks change so quickly after the completion of such a triumphant effort, because “Carolus Rex” is impressively extravagant. Over the top as you’d expect from these Swedes and all the more enjoyable for it. If you were turned off by Sabaton before then this won’t change your mind, but for fans or those with a casual interest, “Carolus Rex” will have you grinning and headbanging like an idiot. Frankly, if you don’t find this album massively fun, then I fear for you.