FLAMES OF FIRE – Our Blessed Hope (2023)

FLAMES OF FIRE - Our Blessed Hope (2023) - full

Last year’s FLAMES OF FIRE self-titled debut got very good feedback for their classic hard rock sound and now they are back with 2nd album titled ”Our Blessed Hope”. Founder Christian Liljegren (Narnia, Audiovision) and Mats Åke Andersson states that they love artists and bands like Dio, Iron Maiden, Stryper, Rainbow, Sweet, Queen, Petra, Kayak, Kansas, Uriah Heep and Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force to name a few… and you know what? in one way or another you’ll hear these influences on this album.
One of the advantages of the close-knit and co-operative Scandinavian scene is that all work together and band members come and go. In this case Flames Of Fire really is a super-group of sorts with past and present members of Narnia, Audiovision, House Of Shakira, Royal Hunt and more.
This is very melodic classic stuff written and executed with passion for good hard n’ heavy rock n’ roll.

Flames of Fire was formed in the spring of 2021, but the story goes back to 1987.
In their hometown, Jönköping, Christian Liljegren and Mats-Åke Andersson met for the first time outside a burger chain called O’Briens. Christian was then 16 years old and fronted the band Venture and Mats-Åke was 21, guitarist and composer in legendary local band called Zaragon.
Zaragon was active between 1984-1988 style-wise strongly influenced by Rainbow, MSG, Iron Maiden and early Europe. They were close to a record deal but bad decisions and bad management made nothing happen.
Zaragon did some fine recordings with Ragne and Styrbjörn Wahlqvist from Heavy Load.

That meeting in 1987 had a great impact on both. It was the passion, fire and energy for the music, that really connected these hard rock & heavy metal lovers. Both watched the concerts in 1986-1987 with Europe and Madison – two bands they both loved, as well as Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Michael Schenker, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Iron Maiden and Alcatrazz.
The meeting developed into a friendship that lasts until this day, even though the years went by and a lot happened along the way.

The debut album sounded great and now for the second studio ”Our Blessed Hope” album, guitarist Jani Stefanovic has an important role as producer and graphic designer and have worked out the whole production for ”Our Blessed Hope” together closely with Liljegren who has recorded all his vocals both lead and backing vocals in Melodic Passion studios in Eskilstuna Sweden.
The style of the new material is heavier and more diverse in sound and a great step and development from the debut. Very organic classic hard rock and heavy metal sound.

This band is very strong. We got the amazing twin guitar sound between Jani and Stephen Carlson, who worked closely with Christian on his solo album Melodic Passion, as Stephen also is a good co-writer.
The bass is fantastic on this new album by Per Schelander in the style of Phil Lynnot and Steve Harris. He is also involved in House of Shakira, Astrakhan, ex-Royal Hunt, and Pain of Salvation, and Per has worked with Christian on the Melodic Passion album as well, so now they have a killer team and this album takes it to the next level.
Finally there’s Alfred Fridhagen on drums who has done work with Christian and Jani in The Waymaker and Golden Resurrection.

I can’t help but get the feeling that many of these bands Swedish bands keep swapping members and reinventing themselves but staying true to the core style of classic melodic metal / hard rock. The assembly of world-class talent have produced an extremely strong and highly enjoyable collection of songs here.
Highly Recommended


01 – Second Advent of Jesus Christ
02 – This is the One
03 – Battlefield of Souls
04 – Prayer Warriors
05 – In Dark Times – Shelter Me
06 – Alpha and Omega
07 – Rest In Me
08 – The King will Return
09 – Our Blessed Hope
10 – Vila i mig

Christian Liljegren – Vocals (Narnia, The Waymaker, Audiovision)
Mats-Ake Andersson – Guitar (Zaragon)
Jani Stefanovic – Guitar, keyboards, drums (The Waymaker, Solution .45)
Per Schelander – Bass (House of Shakira, ex- Royal Hunt)
Stephen Carlson – Guitar (Peter Carlsohns The Rise, Tales, Viva)
Alfred Fridhagen – Drums (The Waymaker, Golden Resurrection)


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