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Narnia - S/T

2016 marks the return of the Swedish metal powerhouse Narnia. Born as the neo-classical power metal brainchild of singer Christian Liljegren and guitarist Carljohan Grimmark 20 years ago, and borrowing heavily from C.S. Lewis' literary classic The Chronicles of Narnia, the band had a great run with 5 albums, a live disc, and a best of—before Liljegren decided to leave Narnia to concentrate on his other bands and record label in 2008. The band recruited Brazilian born German Pascual to fill Liljegren's shoes for album #6 Course of a Generation, before calling it quits in 2010.

A couple years ago, Carljohan and Christian reunited and Narnia was reborn. The self titled album #7 shows a return to form for the melodic power metal juggernaut. The album cover is a bit of a letdown compared to some of the band's previous stunning artwork, but the music is in high form, punching out the best work of the band's career.

Narnia - Reaching for the Top

Christian sounds as if he has been studying under Jorn Lande, his already impressive melodic vocals showcasing a diversity not seen before. Carljohan gives fellow Swede Yngwie Malmsteen a run for his money, burning up the strings on his axe. The band shows less of the neo-classical proclivity it's been known for, especially with less emphasis on keyboards, and more of a modern Euro metal sound, while still sounding distinctly like the Narnia we all know and love, and with the same gospel-centric lyrics we've come to depend on them for. The band released a lyric video for the song "Messengers" before the CD release with a cool animated version of the band playing live. Run time is short, but there are no fillers. Faith- affirming songs like the celtic influenced "I Still Believe," or the only ballad "Thank You"—which crescendos into some serious bluesy soloing—set the theme for the album: "Soon the day will come. Awaiting the Lion's return." from "Who Do You Follow?" Narnia have returned with a near flawless metal worship album that promises to "Set the World on Fire." 4.5 stars out of 5. (indie) - Chris Gatto

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