Album Review: Sabaton – Carolus Rex Platinum Edition

News may already have reached you that Sabaton’s 2012 classic Carolus Rex hit quadruple platinum in their home country of Sweden recently. To celebrate, they’re releasing a special edition of the album on November 30th – 300 years to the day since Charles XII of Sweden (“Carolus Rex” himself, whose life was the inspiration for the album) was killed in Norway.

For those who already own the album this may be worth getting hold of for the bonus tracks, which were available on an earlier special edition, compilation albums or just dropped as singles over the intervening years. If you don’t already own Carolus Rex (and you should), then wait till the end of the month and get this version.

The main album hasn’t been remixed, remastered, remodelled or otherwise messed with. I mean, come on, it’s only six years old – it doesn’t need to be. Firmly in place are favourites and live regulars “Gott Mit Uns”, “A Lifetime of War”, “The Lion From The North” and the title track. Mind, they’re only a handful of great tracks in a very strong album. If you’ve not been in a field in Sweden while the band pump out the version of “Lifetime” in their native tongue, then you’ve not experienced the song in its finest incarnation. Absolutely hair-on-back-of-neck raising.

Speaking of which, as far as I’m aware, this Platinum Edition is only of the English language edition of the album. Perhaps a chance lost given the Swedish theme and Swedish album sales which prompted its release?

What many people will be here for are the bonus tracks. One, “In The Army Now”, was originally recorded by Bolland & Bolland though more famously covered by Status Quo. It’s an obvious target for Sabaton with its military theme and they do it justice. Faithful to the original, but very much with that Sabaton sound added to it.

Amon Amarth’s “Twilight of the Thunder God” gets the Sabaton treatment and it’s bloody brilliant. The first time I have heard this version, it’s sold me on checking out the Viking metal band again. It’s been a while since I delved into their back catalogue. We also have “Feuer Frei” by insane German pyromaniacs Rammstein and, again, Sabaton pay tribute in suitable fashion.

The final track, “Harley From Hell” was originally on a compilation album, Metalus Hammerus Rex, here getting its first release elsewhere.

So a simple re-release, then, and there’s no shame in trying to squeeze a few more sales out of an album that’s already done so well… especially when it’s one of the bands strongest albums anyway. Hopefully we’ll get to hear a couple of numbers off it when they headline Bloodstock next year!

Carolus Rex Platinum Edition is out on November 30th

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