JERUSALEM - Warrior (Legends Remastered)
We’ve Evolved In A Very Strange Way…
Warrior, Jerusalem’s iconic 3rd release, remains probably the most celebrated of the Jerusalem studio albums … and for good reason. While I would argue all of the albums have an incredible impact, Warrior showcased a much more musically intricate and entrancing entity. The vocals/lyrics had always been the emphasis of the music up to this time, but these songs transcended on an instrumental level as well. Oh the lyrics are plenty contagious and convicting, but there was this added element of performance that took the band to the next level. Ulf’s vocals, Tibell’s keys, Anderhell’s drums … it was all more intense. Peter Carlsohn took over on bass and everything fell in place - the formula for breakthrough was immediately evident. The album now appears in its entirety on CD (the final track “Farewell” included now) as part of the Retroactive Records Legends Remastered series. Like the others in the series, the CD is packaged in a clear case jewel with 12 page booklet.
The opener “Constantly Changing” set the tone right from the start. One thing that was immediately apparent was that these guys were bringing the music to life with plenty of aggressive chops. Anderhell added a lot more flourishes on the snare and toms to lend a much more progressive vibe. How many songs can you count in the history of Christian hard music that speak so well to the process of sanctification?
The title track “Warrior” introduced us to a whole new Jerusalem – one we had hints of on songs like “Gethsemane” and “Introduction” from Volume 2. There is all this dynamic contrast and the improvisational fills and experimentation on the drums and keys. This song builds in intensity right into the groove of the first verse where the message is delivered with clarity – “I never dreamed I’d be a fighter one day/now I’m enlisted in the heat of the fray/entrenched on the front line, fighting for God.”
The Clapton-esque “Pilgrim” followed with a dreamy, swirling organ call to “live as a Christian should live.”
Are you mad? The quirky “It’s Mad” was a bit hard to swallow at first. The pop 80’s new wavish synths and beats seemed a bit out of place on this 70’s prog rock album, but with repeated listens the song speaks well to the insanity of God’s plan to those who don’t believe.
“Man Of The World,” what are you doing? What are you doing? This song is no less impactful in 2018.
I need an album side to describe “Sodom.” A twelve-minute song in Christian rock? Really? The keyboards and synths just added walls of credibility to the Jerusalem story – yes, Christians can be creative in rock music and play more than a 4 on floor verse, verse, chorus, verse song. This song was huge, and it’s still huge! Not only did it contain all of the elements of 70’s greats like Kansas, Queen, Genesis and Led Zep, but the lyrics remain timeless. It may have been more than 3 decades ago, but are these words not more even more true today than in 1981?
“If it’s hard for you to believe it/Just switch on your TV screen/Reality looks like a nightmare/This Sodom is more than a dream.” – “Sodom”
I love how when the song hits the 7:30 mark you think it’s done, but Ulf, like a prophet, takes the message home – “For the message we preach is diluted…” and then this outrageous Lynyrd Skynyrd guitar solo follows. It is all hammered home with the proclamations that we are all basically “living in Sodom.” The anthem at the end the “Amen” icing on the cake.
Oh, but it’s not over. “Ashes In Our Hand” is the old-time Pentecostal worship blues rocker full of “hellfire and brimstone.” Where is the big tent revival, brothers and sisters? “The future lies with Jesus/Resting in his hand.”And if that finale wasn’t enough, “Farewell” closes things out with an epic ballad of hope and consolation. “Even if friends, they let you down/His love always remains/Farewell, Farewell/But, we’ll meet again.”
The world is constantly changing, we are constantly changing, the music is constantly changing, but some things remain the same – Jerusalem and Jesus. Selah.
1. Constantly Changing (5:42)
2. Warrior (6:13)
3. Pilgrim (4:15)
4. It’s Mad (5:39)
5. Man of the World (4:29)
6. Sodom (12:12)
7. Ashes In Our Hands (4:32)
8. Farewell (6:14)