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Narnia: Awakening

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
Hits: 2980
Language: english

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