Released: May 2012
Label: Nuclear Blast
Even for power-metal military history buffs, basing your classic lineup's final album on your 18th Century Swedish countryman King Charles XII is an imposing task. They largely buckle under the concept's weight, despite sundry operatic, symphonic, Celtic and cathedral-organ interludes, plus gang shouts, martial beats and choral interplay suitable for clanking of beer mugs. Only when they step out of the plot in the modern-day soldier's complaint "In the Army Now" do they give us a hook straightforward enough to stick. And then, on Disc Two, they tell Charles' tale all over again -- in Swedish.
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