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Sweden's Sabaton deliver some sort of a shortened greatest hits compilation with the brand new latest title track "Carolus Rex" and an exclusive bonus song called "Harley From Hell" on this special release with the most stupid album title since Candlemass' "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus". This offering was part of the may edition of the German Metal Hammer version which generally offers a lot more than the English original but still can't mess with the brilliantly executed and written Rock Hard magazine in Germany.
The new title song "Carolus" Rex is a quite calm and slow trick that convinces with a very hymnic and catchy chorus which you won't get out of your mind once you have listened to this once. The special track "Harley From Hell" is not as bad as its title suggest that could rather come from Manowar. Musically, the track is quite catchy and would have made a good live track or single release. It has a slight eighties' touch with its dominating keyboards and can be interpreted as a nod to classic hard rock bands such as Deep Purple or Europe. The band played this song first in a biker club back in 2006 as an instrumental and now made something concrete out of it. These two tracks alone are worth the purchase of this compilation for any fan and very well done.
The other eight songs come from the records "Primo Victoria", "Attero Dominatus", "Metalizer", "The Art Of War" and "Coat Of Arms". The band mixes faster bangers such as "Hellrider" with catchy hymns such as "Primo Victoria" and also some more elaborated ans complex tracks such as the very strong highlight "Cliffs Of Galipolli" with its interesting structure including catchy piano melodies. For the occasional Sabaton fan that doesn't want to purchase all the band's records, this release is even more than just interesting but quite a great deal. There really isn't much to criticize concerning this compilation as even the chosen track list represents some of the strongest moments of the band.
On the other side, the chosen tracks prove that the band didn't develop a lot since its beginning. The lyrical topics and the songwriting approaches as well as the technical skills don't show any significiant progress in my humble opinion. The songs are very catchy and can mostly easily be classified as catchy fast tracks or epic mid tempo epic hymns. The same structures are repeated all the time and even though I really like this compilation it doesn't inspire me to purchase the band's full albums. I have listened to some of them in the past and they are all quite alike with more or less keyboard passages and this compilation hits right in the perfect middle with tracks from all past records and that's why I added some points to this rare release. The band is surely a great live act but on the studio records they start to get quite redundant after a while. For me, forty-two minutes with catchy tracks from the past seven years are definitely enough and this release may remain my only Sabaton record in the large metal collection I have collectioned in the past seven years.