NARNIA – Ghost Town (2023)
Twenty-seven years into a career that continues to grow, Swedish melodic metal band NARNIA takes huge steps into an exciting chapter with the new album ‘Ghost Town‘. The seasoned five-some once again shows how to shape an album which sounds old-school and at the same time relevant to current standards.
There are also parts that are progressive, modern, heavy or just creatively different. But you can summarize by saying this is well-crafted piece of classic and melodic metal.
Co-founder, guitarist and producer CJ Grimmark is the crucial architect of the band’s sound and also the primary songwriter along with co-founder and lead singer Christian Liljegren and bassist Jonatan ‘Jono’ Samuelsson. Through well-formulated lyrics and melodies created to enhance the music, the songwriting team has explored new modes of expression that are well represented in songs such as “Thief”, with its dramatic arrangement, anxiety-laden, expressive imagery and the progressive “Modern Day Pharisees”, a song dealing with the subject of hypocrisy.
Title track “Ghost Town” was first introduced to the cheering live-audience at Sweden Rock Festival 2022 and is now an obvious part of the setlist with its bombastic four on the floor-pulse and sing-along chorus. The heartbeat of Narnia, Andreas ‘Habo’ Johansson, does a tremendous job behind the drums and spares no energy. Martin Härenstam and his keyboards have been given a large but tasteful space on the record and range in sound from vintage synths to grand piano.
The record’s neo-classical gem, “Rebel”, with a nod to the band’s earliest influences, should appeal to long-time fans, but also more immediate songs like the soon-to-be crowd pleasers “Hold On”, “Wake Up Call” and “Alive”.
“Descension”, on the other hand, is more progressive, but there is a constant and clear common thread throughout the entire production that ties it together brilliantly. “Out Of The Silence” picks up where 2019’s “The War That Tore The Land” left off as the album’s only ballad. Featured by Saviour Machine’s frontman Eric Clayton, who reads the Lord’s prayer with his deep baritone operatic voice.
“Glory Daze” is perhaps the album’s heaviest song, which also addresses one of today’s biggest problems: stress and chasing the wind. Something that Liljegren himself experienced during a burn-out.
Liljegren explains: “This is an album with a positive message combined with bombastic music. You can’t have one without the other when it comes to Narnia”, concludes.
Lyrics that make you reflect combined with the broad musical breadth the band possesses, along with a solid production, is Narnia’s musical trademark which runs throughout the entire album.
01 – Rebel
02 – Thief
03 – Hold On
04 – Glory Daze
05 – Descension
06 – Ghost Town
07 – Alive
08 – Modern Day Pharisees
09 – Out of the Silence
10 – Wake up Call
Christian Liljegren (v)
CJ Grimmark (g, bv)
Martin Härenstam (k)
Jonatan Samuelsson (b, bv)
Andreas ‘Habo’ Johansson (d)