Released by: Self
Release Date: September 16th, 2016
Genre: Melodic Metal
CJ Grimmark – Guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
Christian Liljegren – Vocals
Andreas Passmark – Bass
Martin Härenstam – Keyboards
Andreas “Habo” Johansson – Drums
01. Reaching For The Top
02. I Still Believe
03. On The Highest Mountain
04. Thank You
05. One Way To The Promised Land
07. Who Do You Follow?
08. Moving On
09. Set The World On Fire
The Power-Melodic Metal act from Sweden Narnia is celebrating their twenty years of existence with the seventh studio self-titled album ‘Narnia.’ A follow-up from 2009’s ‘Course of a Generation’ where the group disbanded shortly after from 2010 and resurrected in 2014. Narnia was formed in 1996 by Christian Liljegren and guitarist CJ Grimmark and have been promoting their faith in Christianity ever since. For those that do not follow particular religion’s (myself included), one can easily continue to listen to Narnia as their music includes a well-crafted Power Metal style that we know and love.
The album kicks off with “Reaching for the Top” as the drums roll with a massive energy. It’s fun and upbeat from the get-go as it rings in with an optimistic and cheerful emotion. It is as though they are excited to have returned as it states in the lyrics, “here we are, we’re on the road again, we traveled far to see your smiling faces.” The title speaks for itself with the next tune, “I Still Believe” as it races in with an anthem-like sound as the instrumentals continue to march. It builds faster and heavier as a darkened guitar riff enters just when the vocals hit with, “Wake me up where are we going? We’re far away from home.” At first, I liked the uplifting direction after hearing, “leave the worries behind.” However, the religious preaching began where at a first listen it’s a bit difficult to digest for a none or even a questionable believer in this particular faith. After a few listens, the song does tend to grow on you and the belief can easily be interpreted to something else for anyone’s choosing. The righteous path continues with “On The Highest Mountain,” however, you easily move past it as the melody remains entertaining. The lyrics such as “we’re not afraid to fall,” and “must declare freedom,” moves in a direction as one is climbing high in search for their own freedom as the guitars flood with vigorous solos.
The tempo drops with “Thank You” as an electronic sound enters in with a swooping beat as a guitar riff soon follows. A whomping sound hits just before the vocals announces with gratitude on being thankful for their beliefs. It moves in a steady rhythm as the lyrics appear to be the focal point. As the song reaches its three-minute mark, a guitar solo erupts, and that’s where the music intensifies until its conclusion. Heaviness prevails once again in “One Way To the Promised Land” as it moves with aggressive riffs and energy. “Messengers” comes indifferently as though it is speaking about being watched, deceived or perhaps death is looking for someone. It’s a catchy tune but not as compelling as the beginning of the album. There is a crunchy, yes crunchy guitar solo that grows heavier as the bass rumbles in alongside with it.
I pictured the next track as one questioning their faith with the title “Who Do You Follow.” It starts off slow as the keyboard moves with a few beats until the drums plunder in to help the tune persist to a powerful medley. As the lyrics continue with, “Many will fall asleep to the warning signs,” I began to realize it was moving as though the rapture or end of the world was near. Musically, it held an aggressive edge until its smashing fade out. As the album comes to a near end, “Moving On” continues the belligerent and determination steam as it is a song about looking ahead. The fortitude devotion continues with the final song, “Set The World On Fire.” There is an impressive interlude during the vocals as the chorus remains catchy. A Progressive guitar solo enters during the final leg of the track as the instrumentals move together for the initial conclusion.
For those that do not believe in the band’s faith, ‘Narnia’ again can be interpreted to a different meaning of your choosing. I mean music is supposed to be explored in many different ways, it can be done. However, musically, aside from a few slow moments, it speaks heavier than other Power Metal acts that are currently out there. Give it a spin; it is worth a listen.
Reviewer: Zenae Zukowski