Artwork: Jani Stefanovic
Layout: Jonatan Samuelsson
Twenty-seven years into a career that continues to grow, Swedish 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 a masterpiece with this melodic metal future classic.
On the ninth studio album, ‘Ghost Town‘, Narnia has picked the icing on the cake from its vast catalog. You can‘t simply label this album a neoclassic metal album or a power metal album, even though these elements are present. 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 its 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.
The 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 set list 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 gem, ‘Rebel‘, with a nod to the band‘s earliest influences, should appeal to longtime 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 burnout.
– Different songs will appeal to different people lyrically, but we cover a variety of topics throughout the album, and I‘m sure people will be able to relate to them, both musically and spiritually. Some of these songs stand out a bit from our previous repertoire, but without abandoning our historical influences. Liljegren explains and continues:
– 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. Liljegren 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.
Photo: Mats Vassfjord
Narnia, left to right: Martin Härenstam (keyboards), Andreas “Habo” Johansson (drums), Christian Liljegren (vocals), Jonatan Samuelsson (bass), CJ Grimmark (guitars)
If the latest studio album ’From Darkness to Light’ from 2019 marked the way, ’Ghost Town’ is a more than worthy sequel with a life of its own.
“Ghost Town” is a well-crafted piece of classic and melodic metal, produced by CJ Grimmark, mixed by the band”s sound engineer Viktor Stenquist, and mastered by Thomas Piec Johansson. It will be available on all digital platforms, CD, and vinyl on March 17th, 2023, in collaboration with Sound Pollution Distribution.