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I've always been something of a critic when it comes to "satanic" bands who
can't seem to find anything to sing about except satanism - it just gets a
little tiresome when that's the topic of song after song.
Well, here's a parallel that is almost frightening: the same thing holds true
for Christian bands. It's every bit as tiresome when a Christian band chooses to
wear their beliefs on their sleeves.
While Narnia isn't nearly as tacky as many "mainstream Christian" bands, they
would do well to learn some lyrical restraint. Perhaps this musically talented
duo could look to one of the greatest metal bands of all time for some
inspiration - King's X, who just so happened to be devout Christians during
their first several albums. (For all I know, they still are - I am pretty sure
Ty is - but albums like Dogman showed a more retrospective, sometimes bleak
bunch of guys.) The mighty X was never trite or syrupy in their treatment of the
material. To the contrary, it was often possible to listen to them and not
realize at first that they were, in fact, Christians.
I'm sure that Christian Liljegren and Carljohan Grimmark, the members of Narnia,
would argue with me that this is exactly the point: they are proud of their
beliefs, and want the world to know. I respect that. And it's been done before,
and well. But Awakening doesn't always feel like praise - most of the
time, it feels like a mandatory string of verbal cliches that would sound more
at home on an Amy Grant record.
All of this is unfortunate, because it causes attention to be put in the wrong
places; for example, I'm five paragraphs into this article and have yet to begin
talking about the music, which is very good. For what is basically a one-man
musical outfit - Christian does the vocals, Carljohan does everything else -
Narnia sounds incredible. While most of the songs follow fairly basic meter - no
crazy syncopation or unexpected changes here - they are every bit as satisfying
as a power metal outing should be. Particularly noteworthy is the wonderful
instrumental "The Return of Aslan."
It's a testament to the power of metal that a band such as Narnia can coexist on
the same label as Dimmu Borgir, a band that has released songs such as
"Tormentor of Christian Souls" and "Spellbound (By The Devil)". Viva la
difference, I always say. (I would imagine that at the company picnic, these two
bands sit at different tables...and not to be mean, but Dimmu can probably whip
Narnia's ass at volleyball.)
All kidding aside, Awakening is a satisfying power metal trip,
particularly if you can handle the syrupy nature of the vocals. Here's hoping
that in time for their next release, these talented fellows learn how to express
their emotions without bludgeoning us with them.
Added: January 1st 2004
Reviewer: SoT Archives
Related Link: Web Site
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