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
$4.84 (used)
Primo Victoria (Re-Armed)Primo Victoria (Re-Armed)
Extra tracks
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$8.96
$7.01 (used)
The Art Of War (Re-Armed)The Art Of War (Re-Armed)
Extra tracks
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$8.99
$8.60 (used)
HeroesHeroes
Nuclear Blast America 2014
$9.26
$9.25 (used)
Coat Of ArmsCoat Of Arms
Nuclear Blast 2012
$10.15
$8.44 (used)
Attero Dominatus (Re-Armed)Attero Dominatus (Re-Armed)
Extra tracks
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$10.27
$10.26 (used)
Heroes Deluxe CDHeroes Deluxe CD
Nuclear Blast America 2015
$16.99
Metalizer (Re-Armed) (2CD)Metalizer (Re-Armed) (2CD)
Extra tracks
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$12.72
$12.71 (used)
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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 4h
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SABATON - The Art Of War RE-ARMED - CD (Nuclear Blast 2010) SABATON - The Art Of War RE-ARMED - CD (Nuclear Blast 2010) USD $16.14 Buy It Now 1 day
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Sabaton - The last stand SIGNED ltd gold vinyl, excellent condition Sabaton - The last stand SIGNED ltd gold vinyl, excellent condition USD $9.42 (6 bids)
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SABATON - Carolus Rex - 2CD (Nuclear Blast 2012) SABATON - Carolus Rex - 2CD (Nuclear Blast 2012) USD $16.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Sealed Sabaton Heroes CD Sealed Sabaton Heroes CD USD $5.26 (0 bids)
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Swedish Empire Live SABATON CD ( FREE SHIPPING) Swedish Empire Live SABATON CD ( FREE SHIPPING) USD $9.85 Buy It Now 2 days
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Crystal Viper-The Curse Zed Yago, Velvet Viper, Jutta,WASP, Sabaton,Warlock,Doro Crystal Viper-The Curse Zed Yago, Velvet Viper, Jutta,WASP, Sabaton,Warlock,Doro USD $14.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Sabaton - Carolus Rex (Swedish Version) [CD] Sabaton - Carolus Rex (Swedish Version) [CD] USD $15.61 Buy It Now 3 days
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Sabaton-Attero Dominatus  (UK IMPORT)  CD NEW Sabaton-Attero Dominatus (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $15.63 Buy It Now 3 days
Sabaton-Carolus Rex  (UK IMPORT)  CD NEW Sabaton-Carolus Rex (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $14.64 Buy It Now 3 days
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SABATON-HEROES ON TOUR  (UK IMPORT)  Blu-Ray NEW SABATON-HEROES ON TOUR (UK IMPORT) Blu-Ray NEW USD $23.37 Buy It Now 3 days
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Sabaton - Metalizer (Re-Armed) - Double CD - New Sabaton - Metalizer (Re-Armed) - Double CD - New USD $18.19 Buy It Now 4 days
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Sabaton - Primo Victoria (Re-Armed) - CD - New Sabaton - Primo Victoria (Re-Armed) - CD - New USD $17.12 Buy It Now 4 days
Sabaton - Heroes - CD - New Sabaton - Heroes - CD - New USD $16.67 Buy It Now 4 days
Sabaton - The Art Of War (Re-Armed) - CD - New Sabaton - The Art Of War (Re-Armed) - CD - New USD $17.12 Buy It Now 4 days
Sabaton - The Last Stand - CD/DVD - New Sabaton - The Last Stand - CD/DVD - New USD $18.19 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 4.70 | 6 ratings
Heroes
Power Metal 2014
SABATON The Last Stand album cover 4.08 | 2 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 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
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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.

SABATON The Art Of War

Album · 2008 · Power Metal
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DippoMagoo
There are some albums that take a long time to fully open up and show themselves to be amazing. And then there are albums like The Art of War, the third full length album from Swedish power metal band Sabaton, that just completely blow your mind right on the first listen, immediately proving themselves to be masterpieces, with subsequent listens only managing to somehow impress you even further. During my early days of exploring Sabaton's discography, I found myself largely impressed by most of their material, but the one album that always impressed me the most and left me blown away every time, was The Art of War, both because of how well it takes its over arching concept and connects it so perfectly to the music, and because of how damn catchy and impressive every single song on the album is. In short, while their later album Heroes may be their most addictive album as well as my most played album in quite some time, this one is probably their most impressive and most consistently awesome release to date.

While their first two albums laid the foundation for the band's sound, The Art of War is the album where they really broke through and where their formula was fully unleashed in all its glory, with future albums trying to match it, and not quite getting there. Everything from the speedier tracks to the more mid paced affairs, all feel like the beginnings of tracks the bands would make on later albums, but here they're all executed to perfection. Gone is the darker tone of the previous release, as while the album does have some heavier sections, it's a more melodic and much more triumphant and heroic sounding album on the whole, with even the songs dealing with sad situations sounding lighter and more epic than most tracks on their first two releases. This album felt like the perfect middle ground between the speedier sound of their debut and the slower sound found on Carolus Rex and both albums they've done since, with a nice variety to the tracks, and everything is done perfectly. The album is based around an ancient Chinese military treatise titled The Art of War, written by Sun Tzu, with each track being focused on a particular chapter from the book. In between songs, a woman briefly narrates quotes from the book, which gives extra context to the tracks and I find this to be quite cool, as it adds an extra layer to the songs, and I think these quotes fit in perfectly with the lyrics of the songs, making the already epic and at times emotional lyrics of the album all the more powerful. In fact, while Sabaton has always had some epic lyrics, I find this album to be their best in that area, as some of the tracks are surprisingly very emotional and touching, and they do a great job of showing the effects war can have on people.

Of course, one area where the band always delivers is the vocals, and Joakim Brodén is in top form here, sounding very smooth and very powerful at the same time. His signature deep and powerful vocals are in full force and his delivery is even smoother than on Attero Dominatus, with his vocals on the more melodic sections being absolutely perfect and really adding some extra power to melodies and choruses that are already fantastic. He truly is the star of the band, and this album definitely proves that, once again.

While some Sabaton albums took a bit of time to grow on me, The Art of War is definitely not one of them, as it blew me away right from the first listen and hasn't let up in the least ever since. It's their one album where every song already impressed me on first listen, and I always enjoyed the narrations, as they're brief, effective and add a bit of extra context to the tracks, without ever getting in the way, so it was always a perfect album for me in every way possible. The album starts off with a brief narration track that introduces the concept, before launching into the first full song “Ghost Division”, which is an absolute killer. Opening with an awesome drum roll, the track quickly speeds up, with its triumphant sounding keyboards and heavy riffs at the front of the mix, and it charges along with some great melodies and an excellent performance from Joakim. The verses and keyboard solo are certainly awesome, but the best part is the chorus, which is not only catchy, but also super heroic and just plain badass, opening with the excellent line “We are the panzer elite, born to compete, never retreat, Ghost Division.” It's extremely hard to write lyrics that cool and awesome, but someone Sabaton always manages to do it again and again, though even by their standards, this track is one of their absolute best.

Next is the title track, which again has some nice narrations, before the keyboards take over and it turns into the kind of mid pace track the band has excelled at since “Wolfpack” on their debut, though here it's more polished and fully fleshed out, with some nice rhythms during the verses and the chorus is absolutely fantastic. It's definitely a song they've attempted to outdo on future albums, but this is one of their best mid paced tracks, for sure. After that is the super speedy “40:1”, which briefly teases at its chorus before quickly speeding up and turning into one of the heavier, speedier and more guitar driven songs on the album, definitely having more of a classic power metal feel to it, though the keyboards are still very much present, Joakim sounds very energetic throughout the track, and the chorus is super addictive, super badass and super catchy, once again. The closest thing the album has to a slow burn is “Unbreakable”, which starts out fairly slowly, with some nice guitar melodies and moves at a slow pace throughout most of its duration, with Joakim dominating on vocals, and it has a great chorus, of course, bu then in the second half the pace suddenly speeds up dramatically and from there the music gets intense and super epic, and it becomes the kind of super fun and epic track Sabaton are best at, though it's more complicated than anything they've done since, and is also a clear highlight. After another brief narration track, we get “Cliffs of Gallipoli”, which has a slightly playful sound to it, with some theatrical sounding piano sounds used throughout the verses, and it's actually one of the more emotional songs here, with Joakim sounding very powerful and talking about the death of war heroes and people mourning their loss, and its sung with such passion, it's hard not to feel it. Easily one of the best on the album, with an incredible chorus, despite also being quite sad. Even the guitar solo in the middle is very emotional, and again it reaches heights the band, or any band really, can rarely ever manage to reach.

The pace picks up again on “Talvisota”, another speedier, heavier and more classic power metal feeling song, with epic choirs during the verses, and it has a very heroic sound to it, like a typical Sabaton track. After what comes before it, the track definitely gives off a burst of energy and is yet another highlight. After that is “Panzerkampf”, one of the slower and heavier songs on the album and has a slightly darker tone than most tracks here, though it's still more melodic than most songs on Attero Dominatus, and it has another excellent chorus, with slightly harder hitting vocals and rhtyhms than normal. Another highlight is next in “Union (Slopes of Benedict”, a fairly upbeat and slightly folk infused track, which sounds happy and triumphant compared to some tracks on the album, with an extremely epic and super catchy chorus. It manages to fit the bands sound perfectly, while still sounding unique, and is definitely another easy favorite, with the folk melodies adding an extra layer to an already amazing track.

Nearing the end of the album, my favorite and perhaps the single most powerful song the band has ever done is next in “The Price of a Mile”, a slow but very hard hitting track, with some of the heaviest riffs on the album. It has a similar sound to the title track, except its riffs hit harder and it just feels all the more epic, with Joakim again delivering some very emotional vocals, and the lyrics are again very sad and a bit tough to take, but they're delivered so damn well. The line where the song's name showed up in particular is just amazing, while the chorus is absolutely incredible and probably their best to date. Overall it's simply a stunning, powerful track that the band has tried to recreate many times, but not quite managed to match it. After such a somber track, it makes sense that the band would speed things up one more time before ending the album, with “Firestorm” being an absolute scorcher of a track, moving at a frantic pace and having more heavy riffs, great melodies and a super intense and addictive chorus, making it the perfect way to end the album,before one last bit of narration come in to officially end it.

Overall, The Art of War is an absolute masterpiece, which simultaneously moves the band closer towards the more melodic and super catchy war anthems the band has become famous for, while also being their most cohesive work to date, thanks to an over arching concept that is executed perfectly. It has a perfect mix of speedy, instantly catchy tracks as well as some slower, more powerful tracks with some surprisingly emotional lyrics, and overall it's tough to argue against it being the band's greatest album to date. It's tough to say which I prefer between it and Heroes, but both are absolutely incredible, and this one probably is better from a technical standpoint.

SABATON Attero Dominatus

Album · 2006 · Power Metal
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DippoMagoo
Sometimes I'll find an album by a long time favorite band, where initially I was disappointed with it and considered it to be among their weakest releases, if not their absolute weakest, only for it to suddenly grow on me and become one of my favorites over time. Such is the case with Swedish power metal band Sabaton's second full length release, Attero Dominatus, which follows their excellent debut, Primo Victoria, though it takes things in a darker direction at times, presenting one of their most ambitious and experimental song to date, while of course also providing some fan favorites, as well as one absolutely lyrical masterpiece, which I'll examine near the end of the review. Suffice to say, the first couple times I heard the album there were some tracks that just didn't quite grab me the way Sabaton songs usually do, but after several more plays I suddenly found myself blown away by it, and I now think of it as a masterpiece that rivals some of the band's absolute best works.

Compared to other Sabaton albums, Attero Dominatus is definitely one of their heaviest, as well as being an album that deals with some pretty dark subject matter at times, with themes of religious terrorism and the rise of Nazi Germany popping up on different tracks. As a result, the music has a darker tone then normal on some tracks, and quite a few of the songs are on the slower side of the band's music, though there's still a few more fun and upbeat tracks, as always. I find even the speedy tracks on this album hit quite hard, though, with some very heavy riffs throughout, and this album has some of the most most complex and most interesting guitar work of any Sabaton album to date, with a couple tracks in particular coming as close to being progressive as the band is likely to ever come. Obviously, there's still some fun and catchy tracks, as well as plenty of super catchy choruses, but this is definitely the band's most challenging album to date, as well as one of their most rewarding.

After establishing himself as an excellent vocalist on Primo Victoria, Joakim Brodén really hit his stride on this album, sounding smoother than on the previous album, while still singing with a ton of power and intensity, as always. His signature super deep and powerful voice is again in full effect here, and he gets to shine during some huge choruses, while just generally being the best part of the music as usual, even on the more complex tracks.

Attero Dominatus is a strange album, in that initially I found it to be by far the band's least consistent release, with a couple huge standouts and then everything else let me down a bit, but over time it's grown on me to the point where I now actually think it's one of their most consistent releases to date, with no less than amazing tracks. It gets off to an excellent start with the title track, a rather upbeat track which feels similar to the title track of Primo Victoria, with keyboards being rather dominant, except it moves at a slightly faster pace and is a fair bit heavier and more intense. The verses are fun and move at a great pace, while the chorus is melodic, super catchy and incredibly epic, easily standing out as one of the band's better efforts. It must be noted, this track was always one of my absolute favorites, even when I was initially not too impressed by the album overall. Next is “Nuclear Assault”, a slightly speedier track, which again has some hard hitting riffs, and is a fairly traditional power metal track, by Sabaton standards. It has an excellent chorus, great riffs and an excellent guitar solo, and it was another one of my early favorites.

The first track I struggled with in the past was “Rise of Evil”, the band's longest and most ambitious track to date. In case anyone was wondering if it was possible for Sabaton to do anything even remotely progressive, they should give this song a listen and be surprised, as it's definitely more complex than anything else they've ever done. I initially found it to be a bit plodding, as it uses the same kind of sound they established on “Wolfpack” from the debut, except it goes on for a much longer time. However, over time I've come to love both the overall slightly heavier sound of the track, as well as some of the more experimental instrumental sections in the second half, where we get some very retro sounding keyboards at times, as well as some nice guitar solos. In fact, that entire instrumental section is much longer and more interesting than anything else Sabaton has ever done instrumentally, and it's quite surprising to hear it, when compared against the more catchy, often rushed feeling songd of their later albums. It has a dark feel to it, as it deals with the Nazis, and it's certainly not one of the bands catchier songs, but it's actually quite interesting and still very epic, as always.

Following that, the band returns to more standard fare with “In the Name of God”, a mid paced and quite heavy track, with some great melodies and an extremely epic, super catchy chorus that instantly steals the show and becomes one of the highlights of the album. After that is the brief but super speedy “We Burn”, which has an extended intro before quickly picking up the pace and becoming one of the band's fastest and heaviest songs to date, with super heavy and addictive verses, as well as a very catchy chorus. It's one of those brief but oh so awesome tracks the band specializes in. One other song I struggled with before is “Angels Calling”, which has a nice symphonic intro before the guitars kick in and it moves at a fairly slow pace, being another fairly dark and heavy track. It reminds me a bit of “Stalingrad” from their debut, with more complex rhythms and guitar work compared to normal, but here the band adds in some extra melody to make it work better with their overall sound, plus the instrumental section in the second half is incredible and helps bring the song up to their usual standards. It's another pretty complex track with some interesting instrumental work, and it definitely feels like the kind of thing they aren't likely to ever attempt again.

Moving towards the end, the pace picks up again with “Back in Control”, a speedy hard hitting classic power metal track, with very fun verses and yet another awesome, extremely catchy chorus where Joakim gets to steal the show. It's another one of those brief but super addictive tracks the band is so damn good at making. The pace slows down one last time with “Light in the Black”, which has a nice piano intro, before turning into one of the epic mid paced tracks the band has become famous for. It has some great guitar work throughout, and is slightly more intense compared to other similar tracks, while the chorus is of course absolutely brilliant as always, making it another easy highlight.

One track that really needs to be singled out is the absolute masterpiece “Metal Crüe”, another part of the metal trilogy, this time focusing on metal band names. Musically, it's the fastest song in the trilogy, with excellent rhythm guitars and it moves at an excellent pace and has a ton of energy to it, with excellent melodies throughout. That's all just icing though, as the real highlight of the track is the lyrics, with the band taking many different band names and trying their absolute best to from some kind of story out of them, resulting in something that can only be described as pure genius. Let's just look at the chorus, as an example: “When the priest killed a maiden in the metal church, armored saints and warlocks watched the slaughter. Rage of the slayer forced the pretty maids, to kiss the queen in crimson glory.” I mean, I really have nothing to add to those lyrics, except to say the song is an absolute masterpiece, and one of those timeless classics I could play a million times over and never get even remotely tired of it. The insanely epic final run through the chorus, where some crazy falsetto vocals are added in the background, just makes it even more awesome. Easily the best Sabaton song of all time, which is saying a lot.

Overall, Attero Dominatus is quite the grower, as at first I wasn't overly impressed with it, but over time it has become one of my absolute favorite Sabaton albums, thanks to its combination of instantly memorable fan favorite tracks, as well as some more complex and darker tracks that explore a side of the band that has largely gone unseen ever since. Plus, there's just no way any band could ever write better lyrics than “ Metal Crüe”. That one is just an untouchable masterpiece, any other band could only ever dream of writing.

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