Album Review: Narnia — Narnia

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So…it’s been HOW long since the last Narnia studio album with Christian Liljegren on lead vocals? Ten years, you say? Has it really been that long? It has been a long time but this album, dare I say, is worth the wait. I’m not even really sure where to start with this review, but, here goes.

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The Narnia faithful will not be disappointed with this record. With this self-titled effort, Narnia returns to it’s neoclassical power metal roots. There is something on this album for fans of all of Narnia’s various sound/style iterations (sans Course of a Generation). There’s a little Long Live the King here, and a little Enter the Gate there. But although the band stays true to it’s sonic roots, there’s plenty of musical evolution to keep this effort sounding fresh. CJ Grimmark would probably disagree, but I find the album to be about half classic Narnia and half a progression towards a newer sound. Let’s break it down track by track:

The opener, Reaching for the Top, is a high energy track in the tradition of Inner Sanctum from the Desert Land album. I think it’s pretty much the perfect opening track for a comeback album. The catchy riff coupled with a tasty guitar solo is sure to please.

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Next, we’re hit with I Still Believe, the new People of the Blood Red Cross, if you will. This tune should have you doing a jig with it’s Irish-sounding intro. It then kicks into an up-tempo rhythm leading to a catchy chorus and then into possibly the fastest guitar solo ever recorded by Grimmark. I find the solo break to be particularly satisfying in it’s entirety. CJ’s use of an entirely different rhythm behind the guitar solo is brilliant. I haven’t noticed that with most other artists. This is one of the best tracks on the album.

In spot number three, we find On the Highest Mountain (possibly my favorite song, well, because…you’ll just have to read the liner notes). This song sounds like it would fit nicely in the LLTK era, yet still feels fresh with it’s time changes and booming chorus. Clearly, the last half of the song is my favorite (liner notes…). CJ solos through the last third of the song, a la Star Over Bethlehem from the Japanese version of LLTK. In a word, it’s down right SHREDTASTIC!

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Things really slow down with Thank You. The first time I heard it, it seemed out of place. Let’s just say it’s not your typical Narnia tune. After several listens, I really started to like it. It’s actually quite refreshing. A quiet beginning builds to some fine soloing by mister Grimmark. All in all, a somewhat experimental track that actually works.

Up next, One Way to the Promised Land kicks things back up to full-rocking mode. This one is a fave for sure, with it’s driving rhythm and fascinating keyboard/guitar solo. Probably among my top three favorite songs on the album.

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We now arrive at Messengers. The second of two singles released just a few days ago (Reaching for the Top being the first), this is my pick for the best radio song on the record. The animated video for this tune is pretty darn cool. Be sure to check it out at the link below. Solid track in the best Narnia tradition.

Who do You Follow? is another rockin’ gem with some interesting time changes. “Priesthood of Sweden your castles are burning…” is the stand-out lyric. There’s another rippin’ guitar solo, as expected. overall a great tune.

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In the eighth spot we find Moving On, another high-tempo scorcher to crank up until just before it’s painful. I really dig the chord progression on the verse — it’s fresh and tasty. Yet another impressive guitar solo from my favorite shred-master is here to enjoy. Another great track.

Last, and certainly not least, is Set the World on Fire. This is my favorite song, without a doubt. Artists often bury the weakest tracks deep on the B side, but that’s not the case here. In my opinion, this is one of the most killer tunes on the album, especially riff-wise. The snare and bass drums kick it off like a gun at a sprint event. Grimmark is doing so much with the rhythm guitar that you have to pay very close attention to catch it all. The guitar solo and solo break are the best on the album, especially the harmony solo portion. This track ends the album with an even bigger bang than RFTT opens it with.

The bottom line: This is arguably the BEST Narnia album to date. It’s a monumental task to attempt to topple the likes of LLTK and DL, but the boys from Sweden just may have done it. From top-notch mixing and mastering to CJ Grimmark’s masterful production skills, this may in fact be the perfect Narnia record.

Score: 9.5/10

The album is available worldwide on September 16th.

Check out the band here: http://www.narniatheband.com

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EXCLUSIVE: Rex Carroll Set to Record Two New Rock Albums

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EXCLUSIVE: Rex Carroll Set to Record Two New Rock Albums — by Martin Simson, Editor

Rex Carroll tells The Pure Metal Fan he’s had material for up to five albums for several years and is embarking on a journey to record and release two of them.

“…my studio is growing to the point we could probably register on the Richter scale. Or at least, it’s the loudest studio in my neighborhood…ha!”, says Rex.

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Girder Mode Studios outside Chicago

“I’ve had much of this material since about 2006”

Rex Carroll

According to Rex, “…I have enough material for 2 or 3 rock albums, each with a different singer, a texas blues album, and an all-instrumental acoustic guitar album.”

One of the rock albums may in fact be an all-new Fierce Heart album.

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“…I’ve had much of this material since about 2006.”, adds Rex.

Rex continues, “I’m not sure how the albums will be released. Either we’ll get them signed on a label or put ’em out ourselves. We might do a crowd fund campaign, or not. I really don’t know yet.”

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Girder Mode Studios

Regardless of what type of “rock” (or under which band name, for that matter) Rex is working on, you can be assured it’s going to rock your socks off!

#rexcarroll #fierceheart #hardrock #rock #shred #shredguitar #thepuremetalfan #tpmf

Get Exclusive Lance King Merch Before It’s Too Late

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There are only 19 days left to secure awesome pre-order packages for Lance King’s new studio album.

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Based on a teaser track he released earlier today, this is a power/prog metal album you’re not going to want to miss.

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“…there are only 19 days left to get exclusive limited edition, CD’s, T’s, Caps, downloads, concert streams, jewelry and more on my crowdfunding PledgeMusic page.”, says Lance.

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After listening to the entire teaser track, I’m simply blown away! The mix is unbeliveable and Lance’s vocals are stunning. This is now my most anticipated release of 2018.

We’ll be doing a full review soon, so stay tuned.

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RUN and order your exclusive package now!

https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/lance-king

#lanceking #metal #heavymetal #hardrock #rock #powermetal #progressivemetal #progpower #thepuremetalfan #tpmf

 

 

JONATHAN JOHNSON Shares About The DENY THE FALLEN Debut

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The Deny The Fallen debut ‘Symptoms of Eternity’ is available now via digital download.

The much anticipated album is the brainchild of vocal master Rey Parra (Sacred Warrior, Worldview) and guitaritst Jonathan Johnson (Sacred Warrior, Zeal), and does not disappoint.

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We caught up with Jonathan recently, and he has a lot to say about the record.

“It’s been a labor of love getting this record completed. I started writing for it in 2014. As an artist and a producer I feel this is the best thing Rey and I have ever done. Not to say that what we’ve done before wasn’t special, but I think that this production is a step above our previous work.

I believe this band has something rare. A completely unique sound. As loved as Sacred Warrior is, there were always the Queensryche, Maiden, Dio comparisons. When Rey and I envisioned this we wanted to do something that had definite influences but couldn’t be directly compared to any other band. I feel like we accomplished that goal.

We’re so excited to be doing this in this season of our lives. Plus, it really feels like family. My son Josh obviously holding down the drum duties and having Rey’s super talented son Dylan singing with his dad in the song ‘Shelter’. Erik and I are like brothers and having Harbor and his incredible family in the fold has been just a natural fit.”

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Jonathan continues, “I was working and mixing around 18 hrs a day all the way up to the digital release day so I didn’t get much of an opportunity to say much that last several weeks.”

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“It was a massive undertaking. I broke every conventional rule making this album. Very few artists are successful producing their own work. And as Jimmy Brown warned me, ‘you know mastering your own music is a no no?’

But I had a clear vision about what I wanted this album to sound like from the beginning, and I knew I could get it there. So I took it from the start to completion. I think it was the right choice.”, says Jonathan.

The album is available for download through Google Play, Amazon and iTunes, or from the band’s website at denythefallenband.com/store

The songs are available to stream from the band’s website, on the store page, as well.

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Narnia’s ‘We Still Believe’ Vinyl Shipping Today

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The LP version of Narnia’s We Still Believe — Made in Brazil is in stock and all preorders are shipping today.

“The vinyl has FINALLY arrived! We are shipping all orders from today! Thanks for your patience, friends! 🙂 /Narnia #westillbelieve #narniatheband”

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Les Carlsen to Front Tourniquet at Brainstorm Fest

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Les Carlsen will be handling lead vocal duties for Tourniquet at the Brainstorm Festival this November.

Les says, “I am looking forward to singing with Tourniquet at the 25th Anniversary of their recording of BLOODGOOD’s classic song, “The Messiah”. Hoping to see some BLOODGOOD fans as well!”

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Statement from Tourniquet:

“Tourniquet — live in The Netherlands at Brainstorm Fest — Saturday, Nov. 10! It’s the 25th Anniversary of our 1993 release “Tourniquet Recorded Live”, where our friend and iconic singer Les Carlsen graciously stepped in and nailed the vocals. So we thought what a great time to celebrate by doing a show together. Also excited to have Andy Robbins back on bass, and phenomenal player Max Dible on guitar. We can’t wait to see you all! Get your tickets here: http://www.brainstormfestival.bigcartel.com”