SABATON

Power Metal • Sweden
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Sabaton is a Swedish power metal band, formed in 1999 by vocalist Joakim Brodén and bassist Pär Sundström. They play a very epic brand of power metal, which often includes symphonic elements and most of their albums contain heavy metal elements on a few songs. All their albums contain lyrics that deal with themes of war, and particularly stories about historic battles, especially WWII.

They soon brought in Rikard Sundén (guitars), Oskar Montelius (guitars) and Richard Larsson (drums), though Larsson was replaced by Daniel Mullback early on. In 2000 and 2001 they recorded two demo tapes, that ended up being released together in a compilation titled Fist for Fight. They were quickly signed by Underground Symphony, who released a digipak version of Fist for Fight in 2002. Shortly after, they began work on what was meant to be their first full length album, titled Metalizer. Due to complications with the
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The Last StandThe Last Stand
Nuclear Blast America 2016
$5.84
$5.06 (used)
HeroesHeroes
Nuclear Blast America 2014
$7.04
$7.98 (used)
Primo Victoria (Re-Armed)Primo Victoria (Re-Armed)
Extra tracks
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$9.34
$11.66 (used)
The Art Of War (Re-Armed)The Art Of War (Re-Armed)
Extra tracks
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$8.91
$7.98 (used)
Coat Of ArmsCoat Of Arms
Nuclear Blast 2012
$9.71
$29.10 (used)
Attero Dominatus (Re-Armed)Attero Dominatus (Re-Armed)
Extra tracks
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$10.22
$12.06 (used)
Metalizer (Re-Armed) (2CD)Metalizer (Re-Armed) (2CD)
Extra tracks
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$12.40
$13.66 (used)
World War Live - Battle Of The Baltic Sea (2CD)World War Live - Battle Of The Baltic Sea (2CD)
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$12.75
Swedish Empire Live [Blu-ray]Swedish Empire Live [Blu-ray]
Multiple Formats · Blu-ray
Imports 2013
$52.08
$41.38 (used)
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SABATON - Coat Of Arms - VINYL LP (Nuclear Blast 2010) SABATON - Coat Of Arms - VINYL LP (Nuclear Blast 2010) USD $25.19 Buy It Now 4h
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SABATON - The Last Stand - VINYL 2LP (Nuclear Blast 2016) SABATON - The Last Stand - VINYL 2LP (Nuclear Blast 2016) USD $31.49 Buy It Now 4h
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SABATON - Heroes - VINYL LP (Nuclear Blast 2014) SABATON - Heroes - VINYL LP (Nuclear Blast 2014) USD $25.19 Buy It Now 4h
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SABATON Metalizer-Re-Armed Edition + 4 JAPAN 2CD Stormwind Nocturnal Rites SABATON Metalizer-Re-Armed Edition + 4 JAPAN 2CD Stormwind Nocturnal Rites USD $29.99 Buy It Now 19h
Music For Cruizin'- Those Were The Days by Sabaton Various 2 CD – New   Music For Cruizin'- Those Were The Days by Sabaton Various 2 CD – New USD $10.56 Buy It Now 20h
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USD $4.20 Buy It Now
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Sabaton ‘ Heroes Digi ’ Woven Patch Sabaton ‘ Heroes Digi ’ Woven Patch USD $3.85 (0 bids)
1 day
The Art of War by Sabaton (CD, Apr-2011, Nuclear Blast (USA)) The Art of War by Sabaton (CD, Apr-2011, Nuclear Blast (USA)) USD $18.74 Buy It Now 1 day
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Attero Dominatus: Re-Armed [Bonus Tracks] by Sabaton (CD, Apr-2011, Nuclear... Attero Dominatus: Re-Armed [Bonus Tracks] by Sabaton (CD, Apr-2011, Nuclear... USD $18.74 Buy It Now 1 day
HOLY CROSS-Under The Flag OMEN SABATON HOLY CROSS-Under The Flag OMEN SABATON USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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Sabaton - Primo Victoria [CD] Sabaton - Primo Victoria [CD] USD $14.69 Buy It Now 2 days
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Sabaton - Attero Dominatus [CD] Sabaton - Attero Dominatus [CD] USD $16.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Sabaton - The Art of War (Re-Armed) [CD] Sabaton - The Art of War (Re-Armed) [CD] USD $14.69 Buy It Now 2 days
Sabaton - The Last Stand [CD] Sabaton - The Last Stand [CD] USD $20.18 Buy It Now 2 days
Orphan Gypsy / Aftermath JAPAN+1 Sabaton B9 Orphan Gypsy / Aftermath JAPAN+1 Sabaton B9 USD $16.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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Sabaton - The Last Stand [CD] Sabaton - The Last Stand [CD] USD $17.07 Buy It Now 2 days
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Carolus Rex by Sabaton (Vinyl, Jun-2015, Nuclear Blast) **PRE-OWNED** Carolus Rex by Sabaton (Vinyl, Jun-2015, Nuclear Blast) **PRE-OWNED** USD $12.99 Buy It Now 3 days
SABATON - PRIMO VICTORIA: RE-ARMED [BONUS TRACKS] USED - VERY GOOD CD SABATON - PRIMO VICTORIA: RE-ARMED [BONUS TRACKS] USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $13.46 Buy It Now 3 days
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Sabaton - Heroes On Tour (2016) Multipage Booklet Sabaton - Heroes On Tour (2016) Multipage Booklet USD $9.00 Buy It Now 3 days
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Heroes - Sabaton CD-JEWEL CASE Free Shipping! Heroes - Sabaton CD-JEWEL CASE Free Shipping! USD $17.06 Buy It Now 3 days
SABATON 2016 CD/DVD - The Last Stand +2 (Ltd. Digibook) Civil War/HammerFall NEW SABATON 2016 CD/DVD - The Last Stand +2 (Ltd. Digibook) Civil War/HammerFall NEW USD $19.99 Buy It Now 3 days
@ 2CD THOBBE ENGLUND - BEFORE THE STORM / METALVILLE 2017 SS / DIGIPACK SABATON @ 2CD THOBBE ENGLUND - BEFORE THE STORM / METALVILLE 2017 SS / DIGIPACK SABATON USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Primo Victoria Sabaton Audio CD Primo Victoria Sabaton Audio CD USD $20.23 Buy It Now 3 days
Heroes [VINYL] Sabaton Audio CD Heroes [VINYL] Sabaton Audio CD USD $26.75 Buy It Now 3 days
Heroes On Tour (Bonus Blu-ray) Sabaton Audio CD Heroes On Tour (Bonus Blu-ray) Sabaton Audio CD USD $38.21 Buy It Now 3 days
SABATON-METALIZER: RE-ARMED EDITION-JAPAN 2 CD BONUS TRACK G35 SABATON-METALIZER: RE-ARMED EDITION-JAPAN 2 CD BONUS TRACK G35 USD $29.50 Buy It Now 3 days
SABATON-ATTERO DOMINATUS: RE-ARMED EDITION-JAPAN CD BONUS TRACK F04 SABATON-ATTERO DOMINATUS: RE-ARMED EDITION-JAPAN CD BONUS TRACK F04 USD $23.50 Buy It Now 3 days
SABATON-THE LAST STAND -JAPAN CD Bonus Track F56 SABATON-THE LAST STAND -JAPAN CD Bonus Track F56 USD $24.50 Buy It Now 4 days
Sabaton ‎– Heroes Vinyl LP Nuclear Blast ‎2014 NEW/SEALED Sabaton ‎– Heroes Vinyl LP Nuclear Blast ‎2014 NEW/SEALED USD $25.59 Buy It Now 4 days
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SABATON - ATTERO DOMINATUS: RE-ARMED [BONUS TRACKS] USED - VERY GOOD CD SABATON - ATTERO DOMINATUS: RE-ARMED [BONUS TRACKS] USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $10.58 Buy It Now 4 days
Sabaton - Carolus Rex (NEW 12 Sabaton - Carolus Rex (NEW 12" VINYL LP) USD $20.53 Buy It Now 4 days
SABATON - METALIZER USED - VERY GOOD CD SABATON - METALIZER USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $14.40 Buy It Now 4 days
SABATON-THE LAST STAND-2016 2xLP GOLD VINYL-LIMITED TO 300-NEW & SEALED SABATON-THE LAST STAND-2016 2xLP GOLD VINYL-LIMITED TO 300-NEW & SEALED USD $53.91 Buy It Now 4 days
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SABATON-ATTERO DOMINATUS RE-ARMED-2013 2xLP ORANGE VINYL-150 ONLY-NEW SABATON-ATTERO DOMINATUS RE-ARMED-2013 2xLP ORANGE VINYL-150 ONLY-NEW USD $115.53 Buy It Now 4 days
SABATON-COAT OF ARMS-2011 LP+7 SABATON-COAT OF ARMS-2011 LP+7" RED VINYL-LIMITED TO 100-NEW+SEALED USD $61.61 Buy It Now 4 days
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Sabaton - Carolus Rex NEW 12 Sabaton - Carolus Rex NEW 12" USD $13.17 Buy It Now 4 days
LONEWOLF THE DARK CRUSADE GREEN LP running wild powerwolf grave digger sabaton LONEWOLF THE DARK CRUSADE GREEN LP running wild powerwolf grave digger sabaton USD $19.99 (0 bids)
4 days
LONEWOLF ARMY OF THE DAMNED LP running wild powerwolf grave digger sabaton LONEWOLF ARMY OF THE DAMNED LP running wild powerwolf grave digger sabaton USD $19.99 (0 bids)
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LONEWOLF MADE IN HELL LP + POSTER running wild powerwolf grave digger sabaton LONEWOLF MADE IN HELL LP + POSTER running wild powerwolf grave digger sabaton USD $19.99 (0 bids)
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LONEWOLF RAISED ON METAL SEALED LP running wild powerwolf grave digger sabaton LONEWOLF RAISED ON METAL SEALED LP running wild powerwolf grave digger sabaton USD $19.99 (0 bids)
4 days
Sabaton - Metalizer (Re-Armed) [New CD] Bonus Tracks Sabaton - Metalizer (Re-Armed) [New CD] Bonus Tracks USD $13.94 Buy It Now 4 days
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SABATON-PRIMO VICTORIA: RE-ARMED EDITION-JAPAN CD BONUS TRACK F04 SABATON-PRIMO VICTORIA: RE-ARMED EDITION-JAPAN CD BONUS TRACK F04 USD $23.00 Buy It Now 4 days
Sabaton - The Art Of War (Re-Armed) - CD - New Sabaton - The Art Of War (Re-Armed) - CD - New USD $16.70 Buy It Now 4 days
Sabaton - The Last Stand - CD - New Sabaton - The Last Stand - CD - New USD $16.27 Buy It Now 4 days
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SABATON Discography

SABATON albums / top albums

SABATON Primo Victoria album cover 3.35 | 11 ratings
Primo Victoria
Power Metal 2005
SABATON Attero Dominatus album cover 4.50 | 6 ratings
Attero Dominatus
Power Metal 2006
SABATON The Art Of War album cover 4.42 | 9 ratings
The Art Of War
Power Metal 2008
SABATON Coat Of Arms album cover 4.34 | 8 ratings
Coat Of Arms
Power Metal 2010
SABATON Carolus Rex album cover 4.30 | 15 ratings
Carolus Rex
Power Metal 2012
SABATON Heroes album cover 4.80 | 7 ratings
Heroes
Power Metal 2014
SABATON The Last Stand album cover 4.50 | 3 ratings
The Last Stand
Power Metal 2016

SABATON EPs & splits

SABATON live albums

SABATON World War Live: Battle of the Baltic Sea album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
World War Live: Battle of the Baltic Sea
Power Metal 2011
SABATON SWEDISH EMPIRE LIVE album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
SWEDISH EMPIRE LIVE
Power Metal 2013
SABATON Live on the Sabaton Cruise 2014 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live on the Sabaton Cruise 2014
Power Metal 2015

SABATON demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SABATON re-issues & compilations

SABATON Fist For Fight album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Fist For Fight
Power Metal 2000
SABATON Metalizer album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Metalizer
Power Metal 2007
SABATON Metalus Hammerus Rex album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metalus Hammerus Rex
Power Metal 2012

SABATON singles (10)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Masters of the World
Power Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cliffs Of Gallipoli
Power Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Coat of Arms
Power Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Screaming Eagles
Power Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
A Lifetime of War
Power Metal 2012
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Lion from the North
Power Metal 2012
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Carolus Rex
Power Metal 2012
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
40:1
Power Metal 2013
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
To Hell and Back
Power Metal 2014
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Resist and Bite
Power Metal 2014

SABATON movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Swedish Empire Live
Power Metal 2013
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Heroes on Tour
Power Metal 2016

SABATON Reviews

SABATON The Last Stand

Album · 2016 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kev Rowland
Just two years after their last studio album, Sabaton were back in 2016 with ‘The Last Stand’. Although not a concept album per se, all of the songs take inspiration from “last stand” military battles. The title song is about the Stand of the Swiss Guard , which took place during the sacking of Rome on May 6th, 1527, when the Pope's Swiss guards held off troops loyal to the Habsburgs long enough for Pope Clement to escape. “Rorke’s Drift” is, surprisingly enough, about the Battle for Rorke’s Drift while “Last Dying Breath” is about the Serbian defence of Belgrade. The album starts off as solidly as one would expect from Sabaton – there are rarely going to be many surprises, this band is Ronseal, they do exctaly what it says on the tin.

But, third track in, and I was just blown away by “Blood of Bannockburn”, as this is not only at a faster pace than quite a few Sabaton songs, but it is incredibly commercial with hooks aplenty. They are renowned for writing songs for fans to sing along with, but this is insane, and I love it! This high energy and pitch is then thrown into disarray with the next song being a spoken piece from an unknown soldier in World War II, with some music behind. This really throws the album into stark relief, almost as if Sabaton are saying that they know that the previous song was fairly light-hearted in its approach, yet war and battle is always something to be taken seriously, and puts the listener back down quite hard. Overall, this is yet another incredibly epic album from Sabaton, one that hits absolutely every single mark. This was the final release to feature Thobbe Englund, who left after its completion, but he departed after yet another amazing release. These guys are at the very top, and show no sign of falling.

SABATON Heroes

Album · 2014 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kev Rowland
This 2014 release was the first since the stunning ‘Swedish Empire Live’ set the previous year. For me that was Sabaton at their stunning and pummelling best, so I was always intrigued to understand if they had managed to keep up the pace and power when back in the studio, but I needn’t had worried. In some ways Sabaton have a very simple formula, research battles or wars and use that as a basis for the lyrics, pit that against crunching power metal with a few keyboards and an over the top choir to provide backing vocals and that’s it. Simple, eh? Well, if it was that simple then they would have been copied for years, but as it is the Swedes are a long way ahead of any pack that are daft enough to try to chase them. Hannes Van Dahl is as solid as a rock at the back, but also knows how to drive the band forward in a manner not too dissimilar to the mighty Gene Hoglan. He ties in with Pär Sundström to create the foundation of the sound, a driving rumble that allows guitarists Thobbe Englund and Chris Rörland to either keep on the riff, solo independently or together. They are sometimes just keeping it tight and piledriver Judas Priest heavy, and at others they are playing around the melodies. Added to that are the keyboards and incredible vocals of Joakim Brodén, whose voice seems to be as broad as it is deep, so that one feels that one can saddle the notes coming out of his throat and go for a ride. Add to that the choir providing the perfect backdrop, and yet again this album is a real thing of beauty.

Sabaton have proved to be incredibly consistent since they released their debut back in 2006, taking power metal, blending it with some symphonic elements, and then mixing it into a whole new level. Simply put, there is no-one else quite like Sabaton, and that in itself is quite a statement. It may have taken me too many years to get across this album, but I am so very glad that I did, and if you enjoy metal then you should too.

SABATON Heroes

Album · 2014 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
DippoMagoo
Some albums are challenging and complex, meant to force the listener to spend several hours of their time with them, before fully opening themselves up. On the other side of the spectrum are albums which immediately engage the listeners from the first play, but do little to keep them interested over a long period of time. And then there is the rare masterclass album that manages to instantly impress on first listen, while still proving to be just as addictive and mindblowing as ever some 30 listens later. Honestly, I don't usually get to the 20 listen mark with most modern albums, not because I don't enjoy them enough, but because I spend so much time listening to various new albums every year, finding the time to go beyond that point is tough, and yet one such album that has managed to not only pull that feat, but go further and approach the 35 listen mark in less than four years, is Heroes, the sixth full length album from Sabaton, which also happens to be the last of their albums I have left to review, at least until their inevitable next album is released (and as of the time of this review it's already said to be in the works.) While the band has always been one of my favorites, with The Art of War in particular standing out as an exceptional album, Heroes is by far my most played of all their albums, and is also by far my most played overall since I started tracking that stat back in 2013.

Following the comparatively more complex and ambitious Carolus Rex, Heroes is a very simple, very quick and to the point kind of album, clocking in at just under 37 minutes (excluding bonus tracks,) and it's definitely the kind of album that works best when played around 3-5 times in sitting, so the songs have enough time to pound their way into your head and never let up. I've always found Sabaton's music to be extremely fun and catchy, even as far as power metal goes, but Heroes is by far their catchiest and most addictive album ever, with only two songs going past the four minute mark, and every song on the album is designed to kick in, impress with their fun riffs, melodies and choruses, and then end before even beginning to drag on. This is an album that's all about the flow, as it moves seamlessly from highlight to highlight, with no less than amazing moments on the entire album, and not even a single second is wasted. It does somewhat continue trend Carolus Rex started, of Sabaton moving more towards slower songs, but unlike its immediate successor, The Last Stand, which reaches a point where I get a bit tired of all slower songs after a while, on this album the track placement is so perfect, I'm always getting exactly what I want at every point of the album, with the faster songs being spaced out enough and slower songs kicking in exactly when they should, with even “The Ballad of Bull” kicking in at the absolute perfect point just past the halfway mark. While it's not a full scale concept album like Carolus Rex or The Art of War, the album does have a over arching concept, with each track being focused less on battles and more on individuals and squads who performed some particularly heroic deeds in battle. This leads to a very cheery tone to the album overall, which fits the music perfectly, and when you combine these lyrics with the catchiness, epic melodies and pure fun of a Sabaton album, you know you have an instant classic on your hands. I don't even need to give a full paragraph for vocals at this point, as my thoughts are obvious, as once again Joakim Brodén is absolutely perfect and the accompanying choirs are also amazing and help makes the choruses even more than they already are.

Moving on to songwriting, then, and that's where this album absolutely knocks it out of the park, without a single less than perfect song to be found. I already mentioned the album having a perfect flow, so it's no surprise that things get off to an explosive start with the super hard hitting, incredibly addictive opener “Night Witches” quickly pounding its way into your head. This track is of course about an all women military squad, which is pretty cool. After a brief tease at its chorus, the riffs kick in quickly and the track speeds up, moving at a frantic pace, with Joakim and the choirs leading the way, bringing us to one of the catchiest and most pure fun choruses I've ever heard, and every time it appears throughout the track I just get more and more into it every time. There's a really nice guitar solo in the middle, and overall it's simply a super fast, heavy and just plain ass kicking opener, that ranks right up there with “Ghost Divsion” and “Lion from the North”.

After that incredible opening, “No Bullets Fly” keeps the momentum going, moving at a reasonably fast, though slightly more relaxed pace, with some excellent melodic leads. This album on the whole strikes a nice balance between the heavier sound of their earlier albums and the really light, keyboard driven sound of The Last Stand, and this track is a perfect example of that, as it's not as heavy or intense as some of the band's work, but it still has some excellent guitar work, including an excellent solo and some nice riffs during the chorus, and it certainly has more speed and energy to it than most tracks on the latter album, while still having some excellent melodies and of course an absolutely epic and unforgettable chorus. Next is the unbelievably cheery and upbeat track “Smoking Snakes”, one of the most triumphant sounding metal songs I've ever heard, with some incredibly happy sounding melodies, while still hitting pretty hard with its riffs. It moves at a slightly faster pace than “No Bullets Fly”, though still not quite as fast as “Night Witches” and it's another super addictive track, with Joakim and the choirs completely stealing show during the chorus, where the title of the album appears, and it's possibly the very best chorus on the entire album, while the bridge section is only even more epic. This is a case where the song would easily be my favorite even on the absolute best albums by just about any other band, and yet here it's just one among ten masterpieces, which are pretty much all impossible for me to rank.

The pace slows down a bit with “Inmate 4859”, the darkest track on the album. It's a slower paced, more keyboard driven track, though keyboards take a more atmospheric sound to them than on most Sabaton tracks, and even the choirs are used to add a bit of a haunting feel to the song, with Joakim singing in an even lower pitch than normal. The track is very subdued, but still has some pretty heavy riffs as well some awesome melodies, especially during the instrumental section in the middle, and of course the chorus, while more laid back than usual, is still absolutely incredible. After that is the lead single “To Hell and Back”, which has a pretty upbeat and playful sound at the start, before settling into a nice groove, settling into a mid paced rhythm, with some fun verses where Joakim steals the show, before opening up for a huge, unforgettable chorus that stands as another one of the album's best. It's certainly energetic, fun and super catchy, making it the perfect choice for a single, and it only gets better during the final run through at the end.

Perhaps the most controversial track on the album is “The Ballad of Bull”, a track I've seen many people criticize, but it's actually one of my absolute favorites. It's a beautiful piano ballad, where Joakim's voice gets to shine throughout, and while the melodies, vocals, piano sounds and chorus already make it epic, the lyrics also help make it a big highlight. The track is about Australian Corporal Leslie “Bull Allen”, who saved twelve Americans during World War II, and hearing this amazing tale set to music and being sung so amazing by Joakim just makes all the more inspiring and epic. Plus, anyone who says it's out of place on the album clearly needs to look at the album name,“Heroes”, read the lyrics, and then understand exactly why the track fits in perfectly.

The pace picks up again after that, with “Resist and Bite” being another mid paced track that has a ton of energy to it, opening with a light intro with just Joakim and some lead guitars, before everything else kicks in over time. The verses are fun enough, but again it's the chorus that stands out for being super addictive, melodic and catchy, with an amazing use of choral vocals. It's a track like the title track of Carolus Rex, which uses minimalism in very effective ways, and is definitely another great pick for a single. The last speedy track on the album is “Soldier of 3 Armies”, a typically hard hitting speedy track from Sabaton, with a great mix of keyboards, lead guitars and vocals. The riffs hit hard, the melodies are great and the chorus is amazing, super melodic and catchy as always, making it another instant winner. After that is the slower paced but super epic “Far from the Fame”, which opens up with some nice drum rhythms, before settling into a nice groove. It again has some nice lead guitars, while also being one of the lighter, more melodic and more keyboard driven tracks on the album, with of course another stunning chorus, an amazing guitar solo in the second half. Lastly, we have “Hearts of Iron”, which opens up with a huge choral section that briefly teases at its chorus, before slowing down and settling into a nice groove, with some great drum work and awesome vocals from Joakim. It's another surprisingly laid back track for being the closing track, but then the chorus hits and is absolutely gigantic, with some incredible choir vocals, some insanely catchy vocal lines and an incredible performance from Joakim. In the middle of the track is an unbelievably epic choral section that brings the epic factor to its absolute maximum, and overall the track is the perfect ending to a perfect album.

While The Art of War stands as the best, most cohesive and possibly the most varied Sabaton album to date, Heroes has overtaken it to become my favorite, due to its super addictive, quick and to the point tracks, which strike the perfect balance between immediately engaging and still holding up perfectly after 30+ listens. It's by far the most addictive album I've heard since I've been actively listening to metal, and it offers a perfect mix of speed, energy, heavy riffs, great melodies and incredibly catchy and epic choruses, while also taking it to the next level with some inspiring and uplifting lyrics. I doubt Sabaton will ever top this album for me, but that's okay, because it would take a Timeless Miracle for any power metal band to pull that off again, I think.

SABATON Carolus Rex

Album · 2012 · Power Metal
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DippoMagoo
There are some albums by my favorite bands that I respect as much, if not more so, than I personally enjoy them. While it's hard to say that about a band I love as much as Sabaton, where all their albums entertain me greatly, that is somewhat the case with their fifth full length album Carolus Rex, which many of their fans consider to be their all time best. Obviously, I love the album as well, and definitely understand why some folks would think of it as a masterpiece. However, as much as I enjoy the album, I have to admit that personally, I find it doesn't quite entertain me as much as most other Sabaton albums, with even its predecessor, Coat of Arms, ranking slightly ahead of it for me. It's hard to talk negatively about a band as great as Sabaton, though, so don't get me wrong: There's definitely quite a few incredible tracks here, including three of my all time favorites, and overall it's certainly an album I'd take over the majority of all other power metal bands, as well as being miles ahead of the band's own weakest effort, The Last Stand.

In terms of ambition, Carolus Rex is certainly an impressive release, as while the band had done a concept album before in The Art of War, this one is a full scale narrative concept, chronicling the rise and fall of the Swedish Empire, specifically focusing on King Charles XII, from whom the album gets its title. Lyrically, I find the album quite interesting, as instead of focusing on different themes or on one particular theme but scattered across different battles, this release tells a full story and does quite a great job of it, with some very emotional moments, and it even has the first ballad the band released since their demo days, which unsurprisingly manages to be one of the best and most powerful tracks on the album. Another interesting thing about this album is that the band actually recorded two separate versions of it, with a “full” English version and a full Swedish version. It's not too surprising when bands do multiple versions of one or two tracks, but to have two “full” versions of one album in different languages is pretty awesome (and yes, those quotation marks are deliberate and I will explain their presence much further into the review.) Musically, the album continued where Coat of Arms left off, except it feels even more epic, with the symphonic keys being more dominant than ever, giving quite a few tracks a symphonic feel, and the band uses choir vocals quite a bit, to excellent effect. It's also quite the varied release, having a good mix of speedy tracks and slower tracks, as well a few of the most unique tracks the band has done in quite some time. For the most part, the songwriting is amazing as always, but I find this release has two weaker tracks which stick out just a bit, and help prevent the album from reaching the heights it could have. One last thing that must be noted, is that this was the last album for the band in its original form, with everyone except vocalist Joakim Brodén and bassist Pär Sundström leaving to form Civil War. As a swan song for them, it's an excellent album and a great way to go out, even if I don't consider it to be one of my personal favorites by the band.

Obviously, the vocals are not a problem, as Joakim Brodén sounds amazing as always, delivering his epic, deep, powerful and melodic vocals as smoothly as ever. The use of choir vocals is quite prominent and comes in many forms throughout the album, but these are always used to great effect and help enhance the choruses, which are of course outstanding as always.

One area that's almost never a problem for Sabaton is the songwriting, and as expected, that's largely the case with Carolus Rex as well, with the majority of the tracks offering up the same mix of heavy riffs, epic keyboard melodies, incredible vocals and huge choruses as always. The album certainly comes firing out of the gates, with a brief but nice orchestral intro giving way to “The Lion From the North”, one of the band's most symphonic influenced songs ever, with some pretty epic choral arrangements during the chorus. It charges along at a blazing fast pace, with heavy guitars and epic keys, and has a super fun and catchy chorus, further enhanced by those choirs, as well as an absolutely stunning section in the middle where the choirs fully take over, until Joakim briefly appears near the end to steal the show again. Overall, it's an explosive and stunning opening track that certainly sets the bar high for the rest of the album, and I'd even go as far as to say it ranks up there with “Ghost Divison” as one of my two favorite Sabaton openers ever.

The quality doesn't drop from there, though, with “Gott Mitt Uns”, being one of the band's most unique tracks to date, moving at a nice pace with some very smooth rhythms, while the guitars have a very folk feeling to them, which enhances the melodies and makes it more epic than it already is. Even Joakim attempts some slightly higher notes than normal and of course nails it, as always. The chorus is spectacularly catchy, and overall the track is another instant winner. Next is “A Lifetime of War”, an epic ballad enhanced by some symphonic elements, and of course dominated by an incredible, very emotional and powerful vocal performance from Joakim, with the chorus in particular being absolutely stunning. It's a beautiful track that really shows the potential in the concept of the album, and it only gets more and more epic and stunning as it goes along. it's definitely one of my all time favorites by the band, along with “Lion From the North”. Surprisingly, the quality still doesn't drop off much from there, with “1648” being the kind of super fast, hard hitting yet melodic and super addictive track the band specializes in, with energetic riffs and a very powerful, super catchy chorus.

Unfortunately, the quality does drop off a little bit on the next track, “The Carolean's Prayer”, the longest track on the album. It has an epic opening and it definitely has some great melodies and a pretty awesome chorus, as usual, but I find it to be one of the times where they tried so hard to recreate something like “Wolfpack” or “The Art of War” and came up just a tad short, with verses being a little bit on the boring side, at least by Sabaton standards. It's still a great track overall, with the symphonic elements enhancing it and the chorus really is amazing, but overall I find it to be just a bit below the usual Sabaton quality. One track that sure doesn't come up short is the title track, which starts off with some pretty epic drums, and only gets better from there. It's a bit unique, as it is one of their slower songs, but it has a more minimalist approach, throughout, dominated by vocals, drums and somewhat by keys in the background, but it doesn't have the full sound one would expect from a Sabaton track, instead slowing building up tension until chorus comes and completely blows your mind with how awesome and incredibly epic and badass it is. The vocal section near the end is also stunning, and overall it's a really awesome track, that stands as my third and last personal favorite on this album.

While the title track is the last absolutely incredible song here, the album doesn't lose much steam afterward, with “Killing Ground” being another winner, moving at a pretty fast pace and having some epic melodies, though it has its own unique feel to it, being a bit more of a harder hitting, classic metal feeling track compared to usual. The chorus is awesome, as is the big vocal section towards the end, and it's definitely another excellent track that stands out quite a bit. Next is “Poltava”, another speedy track that has some heavy riffs, excellent vocals and a great use of keyboards, as well as another super addictive and extremely catchy chorus. It's probably my favorite of the last few songs on the album. After that is a slow but very epic track in “Long Live the King”, which is pretty close to being a ballad, though it has just enough heaviness to not quite be one, I think. Either way, it's a slow moving track with some awesome melodies and another extremely powerful and emotional performance from Joakim, with the chorus being one of the highlights of the album, and overall it's an amazing track, for sure. Lastly, we have “Ruina Imperii”, which sadly ends the album on a bit of a disappointing note. Musically it just never did much for me, being the one and only Sabaton track where I find the keyboards to be slightly annoying and overdone, and while Joakim sounds great as always, it reminds me of “Wehrmacht”, in that the vocal melodies simply lack the kind of hooks and epic moments I expect from the band. It also feels odd that this the one and only track on the album to not be recorded in English, which is disappointing, because as someone who doesn't understand a word of Swedish, I can follow the entire rest of the album and then have no clue how the story ends, which is quite the letdown, indeed. Honestly, I think I'd go as far as to say that outside of their demos, this is my least favorite Sabaton track ever and it really brings the album down a bit. I haven't really been mentioning bonus tracks in these reviews, but one rather amusing one is here in the form of “Twilight of the Thunder God”, a cover of the Amon Amarth track, which officially confirms the theory I've always had, that if Amon Amarth were to ditch their growls and only use clean vocals, they'd essentially be a very hard hitting power metal band. Which would of course be awesome!

Overall, Carolus Rex is Sabaton's most ambitious album to date, being a full scale concept album telling the story of the rise and fall of The Swedish Empire, released in two languages. While one particularly weak track keeps it from being among my favorites from the band, it's a very entertaining album overall, with all the great melodies, choruses and epic war anthems fans have come to expect from the band, as well as some as their most emotional and powerful tracks. It'll never be my favorite Sabaton album as it is for some people, but overall it's still a must hear for fans of the band and it's an excellent album with three of my all time favorites by the band.

SABATON Coat Of Arms

Album · 2010 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
DippoMagoo
One rule I find that applies to music is that the first album I hear by a band, no matter how its quality stacks up when compared against the rest of their discography, always ends up having a special place in my heart, if only because of the fact that it was my gateway for getting into the band. Sometimes, this can happen even with a fairly lackluster album, but thankfully in the case of Sabaton, the band has absolutely no weak albums (except arguably The Last Stand, though even that's very good when judged on its own merits,) so no matter what album I had started with, I definitely would have been impressed. So it Is with Coat of Arms, their fourth full length album, and one that can easily be overlooked by some, due to the fact that it comes in between their two most ambitious albums to date. I was of course greatly impressed the first time I heard it, and it immediately made me fell in love with the band, from the epic keys, to the speedy guitar driven power metal, to the epic choruses, war themed anthems and of course Joakim Brodén unique and awesome vocals. Over time, while other albums like The Art of War, Attero Dominatus and Heroes have overtaken it, I still consider it to be an excellent album, which I'd place roughly within the middle of the band's discography, and of course a middling album for Sabaton is an incredible album for basically any other band.

While Coat of Arms is far less ambitious and immediately surprising when compared against The Art of War and Carolus Rex, it still has its own feel to it at times, being the first time the keyboards started to give the music more of a symphonic feel, with the title track in particular being a perfect example of this. This album was around when the band's music started to get a bit softer, more melodic and more epic than ever before, though it still packed a serious punch at times, especially with tracks like “Midway” and “Screaming Eagles”, which hit as hard as ever. In some ways, this album feels like a bit of a precursor to the more simplified sound the band took with Heroes and The Last Stand. Obviously, their music has always been very catchy and vocal driven, but this album was their shortest at the time of its release, due to each track having a fairly short running time, and this leads to the album having an absolutely perfect flow, moving from one highlight to another, with only one track overstaying its welcome, and that's more because it's a slightly lackluster track compared to the rest, than it actually being overlong. Still, in comparison to many of the band's other albums, there aren't any obvious threads connecting the tracks, and instead it's simply a collection of fun, epic war themed power metal songs, with nine of the ten tracks being pretty much perfect, and so it's an album that breezes by quickly and is very easy to listen to over and over again.

I really can't say much else about Joakim Brodén that I haven't said already, but I was especially impressed by him on this album, due to the fact that it was my first time ever hearing him, and his deep, powerful yet melodic vocals instantly blew me away. Over time he has become one of my absolute favorite metal vocalists, and this album was the start of that. As always, he's in very fine form here, with some of the track really bringing out his accent and making perfect use of his super deep, yet smooth voice. It could be just because it was the first Sabaton album I heard, but I'd definitely consider this album to be one of his absolute best performances.

At this point, Sabaton was already on quite the hot streak, coming off of two consecutive masterpieces, with The Art of War in particular being one of my all time favorite power metal albums, so it wouldn't have been too surprising if this album had seen a drop off in the songwriting. Thankfully, though, that isn't really the case, as once again the majority of the tracks here are absolutely fantastic, with a few of them even ranking among my favorites by the band. First up is the title track, which begins with some super epic keyboards, that immediately give the music a slight symphonic feel, before the track picks up the pace and Joakim shows up to steal the show, as always. The verses are fast, driving and help get you ready for a big chorus, which the band is always happy to supply, and overall it's fast, fun and addictive track that gets the album off to a flying start. After that is the short, but very sweet “Midway”, the hardest hitting track on the album, which charges out of the gates with some pulverizing riffs, and instantly bulldozes its way into the listener's head with a brief tease at the chorus, before dialing up the epic factor to an eleven later, when the full version finally arrives. It's over too quickly, but aside from it's an incredible track, for sure.

Next is one of my personal favorites in “Uprising”, the first slower track on the album, but it's certainly a memorable one. It opens up with some nice keyboards before settling into a similar rhythm as tracks like “Wolfpack” and “The Art of War”, but I find the vocal melodies here to be some of the band's absolute most inspired and they really do an amazing job in taking advantage of Joakim's voice, with even the verses being incredible, while the chorus is one of the band's absolute best ever, and even a vocal section that shows up near the end, where choir vocals are added, is absolutely incredible. The pace picks up again for “Screaming Eagles”, one of the more traditional power metal tracks on the album, which charges away at a blazing fast pace, and has some energetic drums and riffs, being another one of the heavier tracks on the album. It has an amazing chorus, as always, and is a super addictive track. Speaking of tracks with super addictive choruses, next is “The Final Solution”, another slower, more keyboard driven track, with a nice rhythm to it, though it's the vocals and epic keys that drive the track throughout, giving way to yet another ridiculously catchy chorus, with some pretty epic lyrics. Towards the end all music fades away except drums, giving way to Joakim and some epic choir vocals, and the result is absolutely stunning, helping to make it another one of my personal favorites.

Things don't exactly go downhill from there, either, with the next track “Aces in Exile” being another hard hitter, being a bit slower than tracks like “Midway” and “Screaming Eagles”, though it still moves at a nice pace and has some great rhythm guitars, while the chorus is super addictive, as usual. It gets extra points for mentioning Canada towards the end, and lyrically it's a pretty great track. Next is “Saboteurs”, a speedy track with some nice melodic guitar work, and it's definitely another one of the more straight-forward power metal tracks on the album, with a speedy, super catchy chorus, fun verses and a nice solo section. The one weaker track is next, that being “Wehrmacht”, a darker, slower paced track with some nice keys, though I find the guitar sound to be a little too thick and off putting compared to most Sabaton tracks, and the song simply lacks the kind of melody and hooks I've come to expect from the band. It's actually a solid track musically, but vocally it lacks the spark all other tracks on the album have. Thankfully, though, that track is the one exception here, as “White Death” quickly gets things back on track, moving at a nice pace and having more driving guitar riffs, nice rhythms and an epic chorus where Joakim really shines. Lastly, we have “Metal Ripper”, the final part of the metal trilogy. This one seems to take random quotes from different songs, and I find I don't get most of the references here, unlike with the other two tracks in the trilogy, though there are references to tracks like “Highway to Hell” and “Mr. Crowley”, as well as an obvious nod to “Crazy Train” during the instrumental section. Musically, it's the slowest in the trilogy, though it still moves at a decent pace and has a nice mix of great riffs and keyboard melodies, as well as a super catchy and fun chorus, as always, with the last run through being especially awesome.

Overall, Coat of Arms in yet another amazing album from Sabaton, which kept the momentum going after arguably their best to date in The Art of War. While it doesn't quite reach the level of that album, and can easily be overshadowed due to coming in between two far more ambitious albums, it's still a must hear for fans of the band, offering up a ton of excellent war anthems, as always, and having a few of my personal favorites from the band. As my introduction to Sabaton, I definitely have a soft spot for it, though I do think I'd find it to be a very high quality release regardless of when I had heard it, as some of the songs are simply to amazing to not be impressed by.

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