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Narnia - From Darkness to Light Award winner

Narnia
From Darkness to Light
by Quinten Serna at 04 August 2019, 9:20 PM

Hailing from Jönköping, Sweden NARNIA has an interesting and slightly tumultuous history about themselves, with their first album being released before they even had a full line-up, their breakup in 2010, and their reunion in 2014 NARNIA continues to create music and defy expectation as evidenced by their latest album “From Darkness to Light.”

The LP starts with “a Crack in the Sky”—previously released as a single—a melodic and chug heavy ballad, the song features so many different sections and changes that it nears the classification of an opus yet never does it really sway from its rhythmic foundation; the song epitomizes the conceptualization of Power Metal affirming a sense of triumph and energy with every beat and every strum. The song is followed up with the even more melodic “You are the Air that I Breathe” a slow to start and synth driven piece comprising of elements more often associated with nocturnes and serenades carefully arranged between guitar, synth, and bass such that each instrument compliments one another and builds upon the strength of each other, with synth leads carefully redirecting the movement before the vocals come in and the instruments quiet in solemnity leaving Christian’s clear-cut vocals to fill in the hollowed niche before the full band joins in for the chorus and the efforts repeat in grandeur.

The album as a whole is crafted in expert precision and performance wherein no instrument topples upon one another; the vocals are crisp, clear, and cutting; the guitars are dirty and gritty but defined and punchy; the bass is sharp and heavy without detracting from the soundscape; and the drums are atmospheric yet clearly define the shape of each voicing without an obtrusive cymbal crash or unbalanced snare.

The album features a wide array of different stylings and approaches, one of the most dynamic of which is most likely “the War That Tore the Land.” The song commences with a clean guitar and synth atmosphere completely detracting itself from the rest of the album immediately, the vocals are cathartic and expressive quieted by the solemnity of the music—yet still perfectly audible being mixed with exception—the song quickly changes its approach adjoining its predecessors within the realms of heavy as the guitar’s distortion comes in and the drums break down the sullen and somber walls of the composition with crashing cymbals and pounding snare. Both part 1 and 2 of “From Darkness to Light” also sustain this odd sense of dynamics changing the dynamics of the song on a fly from loud and heavy to sullen and sweet.

Named after the lore and writings of C.S. Lewis NARNIA exhibits the best traits of his sullen, somber, and—at times—whimsical nature traversing the realms of Christendom, the Chronicles of Narnia, and much more all through the vehicle of synth-laden increasingly dynamic Power Metal, and whilst the Christian themes or usage of 70s and 80s synth may not be an eager invitation for everyone the music is—without question—unique, defined, and virtuous.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. A Crack in the Sky
2. You are the Air That I Breathe
3. Has the River Run Dry
4. The Armor of God
5. MNFST
6. The War That Tore the Land
7. Sail On
8. I Will Follow
9. From Darkness to Light (Part 1)
10. From Darkness to Light (Part 2)
Lineup:
Jonatan Samuelsson - Bass
Andreas Johansson - Drums
Martin Härenstam - Keyboards
Carl Johan Grimmark - Guitars and backing vocals
Christian Rivel-Lijergren - Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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