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JERUSALEM - In His Majesty's Service (Legends Remastered)

Live In U.S.A.

By 1985, Jerusalem’s sound had changed. The classic/progressive 70’s rock from the early years had transitioned into a more melodic/pop direction with 1983’s Can’t Stop Us Now. By the mid-decade they were a full-on arena rock band. Furthermore, with every studio release the band had endured a shake-up in the line-up. But in 1985, after years of touring in Europe, Jerusalem would finally lavish the U.S. with the fruits of all that live experience at the hands of a seasoned unit of Christian rockers. The Christiansson/Tibell/Carlsohn/Ulvsgard line-up was dynamic and powerful, and all of those qualities were displayed with splendor on this recording.

Live In U.S.A. – In His Majesty’s Service – is special in many regards. It was the only live performance the band ever recorded on U.S. soil, and it was the band’s only release that was never released with a Swedish version (unlike all of the studio albums up to this point). More importantly, 4 of the songs appearing here were never released on any of the band’s studio releases! (“Live In His Majesty’s Service,” “From The Bottom Of Our Heart,” The Tide” and “Time.”) Finally, this performance has never been properly released with all of the original tracks included (mid 90’s Fruit Records version left off 2 tracks). Retroactive Records, as part of the Legends Remastered series, have delivered a great sounding version here with a nice low-end bass fullness and plenty of punch. Like the others released in this series, the CD (album cover photo on the disc) comes in clear case with a nicely reconfigured 12-page booklet with photos and credits.

The opening intro sets the stage for the show that is to follow as the boys rip right into “In His Majesty's Service” a fast and hard tune with lots of vocal intensity. The second track has more of a late 80’s vibe ala Dancing On the Head of the Serpent, but still retains a lot of busy drumming and those very audible keys. There is a nice breakout section in the middle where the bass line carries the band under Ulf's vocals and then this flows into a nice guitar solo. You can hardly tell this is live because the band just sounds so tight and clean. “I’m Waiting For You” (originally “The Waiting”) is next up, and I have to say this version is much more powerful than the studio version of the song – the aggressive tempo and jam session during the “ride-out” section very impressive. Things then slow down for “Read Between the Lines” – one of the better songs from Can't Stop Us Now. The interplay between the keys and the guitar in the middle section is nicely done and creates a very emotional ambiance. “The Tide” is an excellent mid-tempo rocker with a very Euro sounding chorus section. It’s not the same song as “High Tide” from the debut album, but does share some lyrical themes.

“Some ships sails under a false flag/A closer look can always tell/But in my heart I recognize/There is no darkness when there's light …” – “The Tide”

“Ashes In Our Hands” has always had that huge big-tent church vibe, but the song comes even more to life in this live setting. This is followed by a ripping version of “Can't Stop Us Now,” which sounds way more powerful than the studio version. “Time” has a very metal sounding intro with some very heavy bass and excellent keyboard work – probably my favorite of the 4 “new” tracks presented here. I love the breakout section and spoken/sung words by Ulf, a trademark of Jerusalem’s style. The recording closes out with a great version of “Man of the World” which sounds as if it is played as an encore. Who can forget the charismatic “wake-up call” Ulf delivers at the end of the set…

“Mr. Christian, there’s not much time, Mr. Christian, there’s not much time. There’s not much time … What are you doing Mr. Christian…?”

If you have never previously heard this recording, then you don’t want to miss out now – this contains some of the band’s best songs ever, and it is arguably the best sounding mix in the Jerusalem series up to this point (although I do like those analog sounding/organic tones on the first on Volumes I & II.) Fans shouldn't hesitate to pick this up for the sound quality and the completeness make it an essential piece of Christian rock history.

Track Listing:

1. In His Majesty’s Service (4:38)

2. From The Bottom Of Our Heart (3:32)

3. I’m Waiting For You (4:23)

4. Read Between The Lines (5:33)

5. The Tide (6:03)

6. Ashes In Our Hands (3:48)

7. Can’t Stop Us Now (4:00)

8. Time (6:20)

9. Man Of The World (4:18)

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