"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Sabaton - "Carolus Rex (English Version)" (CD)

Sabaton - "Carolus Rex (English Version)" CD cover image

"Carolus Rex (English Version)" track listing:

1. Dominium Maris Baltici (0:29)
2. The Lion From The North (4:42)
3. God Mit Uns (3:15)
4. A Lifetime Of War (5:45)
5. 1 6 4 8 (3:54)
6. The Carolean's Prayer (6:14)
7. Carolus Rex (4:53)
8. Killing Ground (4:24)
9. Poltava (4:03)
10. Long Live The King (4:09)
11. Ruina Imperii (3:21)

Reviewed by on May 7, 2012

"[Sabaton] conveys pride and emotion that rallies a rabid base of glorious power metal fans to arms and brings them to tears."

Few bands convey the feeling of war through music as well as Sabaton (others include Iron Maiden, Manowar, and Accept). The band conveys pride and emotion that rallies a rabid base of glorious power metal fans to arms and brings them to tears. “Carolus Rex” represents the apogee of the band’s career, despite losing four out of six members prior to the official release date. The new release provides a soundtrack to the rise and fall of Sweden’s Golden Age. With help from historian Bengt Liljegren, Professors Sundstrom and Broden take listeners on a journey through the sounds of a virtually unknown battlefield. What follows is precisely the history, war, and emotion which the music and words bring to life (queue giant choruses, glorious tales of battle, thrilling production and a drawer of kitchen utensils which play the part of marching Caroleans):

Coronation day…October 30, 1611…seventeen year old Gustav Adolphus is crowned King of Sverige. The massive orchestra, flanked by cannon fire and chanting crowds, welcomes the “Lion of the North," this liberator from the House of Vasa who fights without fear nor armor and is protected by God. His military genius brings the country into the dawn of a Golden Age. By employing an early form of combined arms (cannon reinforced infantry with simultaneous cavalry attack) he brings the world into a frightening new age of warfare. With allies in France, Gustav begins his conquests in Germany with unceasing cannon fire, plundering and marauding in his wake.

September 7, 1631…Breitenfeld, North of Leipzig. Gustav orders a thundering two hour artillery strike on the Protestant infidels using copper-cast three pound guns, outnumbering the opposition 5-3. Through choruses of cherubs inspiring glory and unity, sons of Sweden shout “Got Mitt Uns” (“God With Us”) as cavalcades of the galloping Black Cuirassiers attack their lines seven times which are repelled equally. Swedish fighters aim for the mounts and the falling beasts burst gaping wide holes in opposing lines.

June 25, 1648….Prague, the Swedish army, under command of Hans Christoff von Konigsmarck, attempts to sack the city, but is repelled by a rag tag citizen’s army that meets it head on blocking the city gate. Over the course of months, the fighting continues on the Charles Bridge as Swedish cannon lays siege to the banks setting the city ablaze. Despite its best efforts, the Swedes never enter the city and are forced to retreat on news of the Treaty of “1 6 4 8,” this ending the longest contiguous “Lifetime of War” in modern history (the Thirty Years War).

The small but deadly Carolean army of Sweden is commanded by the greatest of Swedish kings “Carolus Rex” (Charles XII) and created by his predecessor. This divine leader has penchant for grandiose music, but also has a short temper and rabid obsession with conquering Russia. The Caroleans are governed by strict rules and unified by a strong faith with orders from heaven. Interrupting “The Carolean’s Prayer” was a crime punishable by death. They are a highly aggressive team employing the shock tactic of charging the enemy and only firing only when they would “see the whites of the enemy’s eyes.” In February 1706, with no supporting artillery and only a third of the forces of the opposing Russian and Saxon troops, they brutalize with pikes, bayonets and rapiers, leaving a “Killing Ground” during the Battle of Fraudstat.

June 27, 1709….”Poltava,” Cossack Hetmanate (Ukraine). In a final push to conquer Russia, Carolus personally leads a fateful attack to the heart of the Russian Empire. Within days, he is wounded and flees back to Sweden. The army, now led by lesser men, are dealt a decisive defeat effectively bringing the Empire to a slow demise. On November 30, 1718 in an assault on neighboring Norway, King Charles is struck by a “bullet in the dark,” penetrating the left side of his skull, obliterating his brain tissue and exiting out the right killing him instantly. Thus ended the reign of Carolus Rex, and he is brought back to Sweden in a chest ("Long Live the King").

As much as history is the focal point of nearly every Sabaton album, the band's previous efforts did not precisely convey as much feeling and majesty than here with “Carolus Rex.” These warriors of Sweden demand that you live history with them and remember those fallen.

Highs: The finest display of history shown through music.

Lows: Some will find Sabaton's approach as much the same.

Bottom line: Kids...gather around and let Sabaton tell you glorious tales of Swedish history.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)