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To the Skies, See Carolus Rise - 84%

Brainded Binky, January 4th, 2014

Ah, Sabaton; one of the most tremendous power metal bands of the 21st century. They were one of the first power metal bands to write songs about World War I and World War II battles and created a massive fanbase in Europe. People on Poland are just crazy about them, cos they're heavily influenced by songs like "Uprising" and "40:1", which are about Poland's citizens giving everything they had to fight the Nazis. They made history more appealing to headbangers, by really putting out some truly epic stuff that they could relate to. But as their career went on, Sabaton felt the need to pump out a concept album. Being proud Swedes, they decided that it should be about Sweden's most famous ruler, King Charles I, or Carolus Rex. Thus, the album "Carolus Rex" was born, and it might not be as good as Sabaton's previous efforts, but at least it delivers the goods in some way.

There are some nice things to say about this album, but there are also some problems with it. The biggest flaw this album has is pretty much the biggest flaw Sabaton itself has; self-plagiarism. There are a few songs on this album that have VERY uncanny resemblances to songs on their previous albums. "1648", for example, sounds like a rehashed and recycled version of "40:1". The choruses to both songs sound like direct clones of each other, you'd think that it's the same song! It is also at the same tempo as "40:1", adding more to the similarities. And, what a shock, both songs are about really intense battles. Wow! How original! Now, consider "The Lion from the North". Hmmmmmmm..........that sounds so familiar, where have I heard that song before????..........Oh, YES! That synthesizer riff totally sounds like it's plucked straight from the title track from their "Coat of Arms" album! What's more, is that that synthesizer riff from "Coat of Arms" itself is also ripped off from the synthesizer solo on "Ghost Division"! Clearly they put some thought into making that one!

Don't let that self-plagiarism that plagues the band scare you away from the good stuff on "Carolus Rex", though. There's plenty of good things to be said about this album, one of which being "Killing Ground". It's a real epic song that with a tremendous galloping riff that I would say imitates the galloping horses that were used in the battles, and really puts you in the shoes (or should I say, "boots") of one of King Charles I's soldiers. Oh, and then there's also the title track. Oh, man, epic would not be the word to describe this song, worthy of any flag-waving Swedish patriot. It's one of those majestic fist-pump-inducing anthems that really puts you in a triumphant mood. It's got a chorus and a synthesizer/guitar riff that completely capture the might of Charles I when he was crowned King of Sweden. If there's anybody that does not feel the massive power of that song, please let me know, cos I'm really feeling it, man! It's so.....beautiful!! Another song that I must mention is "Poltava", a ripping, driving song with a tasty power metal-ish riff. Because of this, I have a feeling that if a biopic of Charles I was to be made,"Poltava" would be the song to be played in its trailer, or even better, the movie itself! Wouldn't that make a perfect soundtrack!

I can understand that some people might not appreciate Sabaton that much because of their self-plagiarism problem, but with that aside, the band never fails to deliver. It's great power metal album that, in my opinion, was just one step short of being completely magnificent. The recycling of Sabaton's older songs to create new ones really isn't a good idea, cos I'm certainly hearing those older songs rather than the new ones. Oh well, I can't let that ruin a good album, can I? There's more good things to be said about this album than bad, so I must say, I'd totally recommend it.