Released: 2012, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
So, another release from battle metal veterans Sabaton, it doesn’t seem that long since Coat Of Arms last graced our ears in 2010 and if you’re expecting drastic change since that album – I suggest you looks elsewhere! Sabaton have never been a band to change up a winning formula, they’ve honed their cheesy/feel good/bouncy sound to exactly what it needs to be over the last few releases – how long they can pump out albums with that in mind remains to be seen, but for the moment it’s still entertaining on many levels!
Kicking things off with “The Lion from the North” after a brief intro it’s clear what to expect from its speedy riffs and Joakim’s defined vocal style, adding in some choir elements to spice up the breakdown. An interesting fact to note is that instead of the usual WW1/WW2 themes we’ve come to expect of Sabaton over most of the back catalogue, the entire album is based on King Charles XII and the Northern War of 1700-1721AD – bringing in a mixture of English and Swedish languages as well as German for “Gott Mit Uns” with it’s almost highland jig tune, some might fear they’ll be going pirate metal after hearing this track.
But no worries there as the band continue to fire through a slew of strong tracks such as epic sing-along track “A Lifetime of War” & “Carolus Rex” however on some tracks there is an air of familiarity, 1648 is quite similar to previous song “We Burn” from “Attero Dominatus” but with a back catalogue of their size, I’m sure this would happen at some point. Besides, with tracks like the excellent “Poltava” who worries about such things?
My only other criticism is that the album seems to drag on a bit as it reaches the end, personally I feel it could have used another fast paced number to close out the album as I lost interest by the halfway mark of “Long Live The King”
Other than that, the production as usual is excellent – Joakim’s unique voice is always a stand out as well as the keyboard sounds that are always so prominent. It would be quite interesting to hear a stripped down Sabaton album that’s for sure!
Review by: Paul James