12.11.16

Freedom Call - Master of Light (2016)

They were described as flower metal, happy metal by audiences. Freedom Call had been in this territory ever since their first debut in 1999. Since then, the band had released nine albums, Master of Light is their latest in 2016. Master Of Light falls right between this category as well. Songs are as pompous as ever. In the meantime, Chris Bay and friends try to insert fresh elements also.

In mastering the flower metal, the album first track "Metal is for Everyone" is really  for every (flower) metal lover. The song is grander with their bold opening chorus. This tune can be line up to any Freedom Call catalog and fans will not divided between Trump or Hillary to called this their trademark. As mentioned before, the band try their best to bring new ideas. The percussion-like interlude in the middle is kind of strong idea in this effort. "Hammer of Gods" started with melodic intro, typical to their arsenal. The formula with catchy chorus line is the best way to start another boastful tune, as in "A World Beyond". For the title song "Masters of Light", the band decided to start calmly. Yet they always find a way in bringing the storm to the daylight. Another melodic intro is for "Kings Rise and Fall". "Cradle of Angels" is acoustic ballad in spirit. The remaining of the song notable to mentioned is in "Ghost Ballet". "Rock the Nation" is a flower-ed rock tune.

Master Of Light is another flowery delivery from Freedom Call. The whole package can be sing together with good old friends and beers, as all songs are design to be enjoyed in this situation. Chris Bay sings as epic as before. The guitar works is more simple compared to their "younger" years, yet sufficient to metalized everything. We still enjoy the works of two long-time friends of Freedom Call, Lars Rettkowitz in guitars and Ramy Ali in drum. Compared to their two last albums,  Master of Light is unchanged in their retorika will full of "for everyone..." words. Talking about band consistency, Freedom Call is one of that band that happy with their direction. In short, Master of Light is another touchdown continuation in Freedom Call world.

Metal Harem class : ******** eight stars out of ten

Freedom Call - Master Of Light  (2016)
Buy it Here - Amazon

1. Metal is for Everyone
2. Hammer of Gods
3. A World Beyond
4. Masters of Light
5. Kings Rise and Fall
6. Cradle of Angels
7. Emerald Skies
8. Hail the Legend
9. Ghost Ballet
10. Rock the Nation
11. Riders in the Sky
12. High Up

Chris Bay (vocals, guitars)
Ilker Ersin (bass)
Lars Rettkowitz (guitars )
Ramy Ali (drums)

5.11.16

Narnia - Narnia (2016) Album Review

There was a moment in Christian metal world where several bands co-exist together. The bands that storming this area included, Rob Rock, Impellitteri, Golden Resurrection, Divinefire, ReinXeed (although they are not really a christian metal band), further to German Pascua band. Along this cross breeding cage, there are two musicians Carl Johann Grimmark and vocalist Christian Liljegren. Both had been around the Christian metal realm with those bands mentioned above.. Taken a name from the famous C.S.Lewis novel, they found  Narnia and wanted this band to be at least three styles in their veins: progressive , neo-classical and christian metal altogether. History seen them as successful collaboration, releasing several albums that considered ground breaking in the genre : Awakening (1998) up to The Great Fall (2003). The band suddenly disbanded after T.G.F. which considered their best. A quick reunion was found in 2009 and thus born Course of a Generation (2009), but the band taking a step diverted from their previous styles and also Christian step aside as vocalist replaced by German Pascua.

For seven years later, in today 2016, Narnia reunited the two founders, C.J. Grimmark and Christian Liljegren to released their new, seventh studio album self titled Narnia. Narnia 2016 is a returned to their root, progressive christian metal full of shred guitar works. For example the first song "Reaching for the Top" the drum intro almost mimicking their song "Nothing to Lose" from T.G.F. Reaching for the Top  started up with classic four bars guitar riffs then we greet by Christian voices. The song surely set up the elements of Narnia musics : sustained string layers in background, harmony choruses and many muscular progressive power chords. "I Still Believe" is simple melodic metal that easily remember by first time listener and it is, well, very melodic. On "Thank You" the band downgrade the locomotive gears to middle tempo and allowed passenger to enjoy a solemn song that really shine Christian's vocal quality. We also have music video for "Messengers", which a strong song with creative structure, inventive guitar chords and demiurgic song writing.


In speaking about lyric, the Christianity theme is their main inspiration. However a lyrics :
".... man kinds who do you follow,
 maybe He comes tomorrow...."  - Who Do You Follow
is simple yet fit the music well.

In general, Narnia is a strong returned from the band. Song are in extremely high quality. Carl Johann is re-nown guitar virtuoso, his works in this album is in heavenly standard that will satisfy all guitar fans. Is anything, the album is also closely similar to Christian Liljgren other band, Golden Resurrection, just slightly less neo-classical compared to them. If you really into Christian melodic metal, Narnia 2016 is a definitely strong album to have. In short, this is the album for both prog metal, believers and non.

Metal Harem class ********** nine stars out of ten

Narnia - Narnia (2016)
Buy it Here - Amazon

1. Reaching for the Top
2. I Still Believe
3. On the Highest Mountain
4. Thank You
5. One Way to the Promised Land
6. Messengers
7. Who Do You Follow?
8. Moving On
9. Set the World On Fire
10. Miracle (bonus)

Christian Liljegren - lead vocals
Carl Johan Grimmark - guitars
Martine Harenstam - keyboards
Andreas Johansson - drums
Andreas Olsson - bass

2.11.16

Hammerfall - Built to Last (2016)

Not long ago as in 20 years ago, in the town of Gothenburg Hammerfall was born. They were built with tarnished catchy metal tunes. The storm of power metal had landed in the Nordic region in good form. Assembled by five grown up long haired dudes, the band invented Hector the Paladin as their band mascot and released their first album. The rest is history, HammerFall is one of band that stand the test of time, consistently delivering album in the spirit of power metal and catchy choruses. Built to Last is their tenth studio album. Almost twenty years ago when Glory to the Brave released. As I listen to this album, I find nothing differentiated them from two decades ago. Songs are full of blasting riffs, galloping beat, solitude ballads and of course the epic choruses.

Songs as "Bring It!", "Hammer High", "Dethrone And Defy" and "Stormbreaker" are extension of HammerFall collection tales about fantasy and battles. Almost every song started with newly acquired guitar riffs. Listen to "New Breed" where the power riff is just a simple pattern. As simple as that funky Japanese guy that combined Pen and Pineapple, a guitar riffs and drum's tom tom power accentuation is equal to awesome power metal catch. There are "The Sacred Vow" and "Twilight Princess" to allow some respiration time for listeners or in other word, the slower ballad tunes.

Built to Last is as ambitious as the title suggest. This album will last a long time because the construction is vigorously loud and HammerFall-ed since the first notes. An album that reflected twenty full year in hammering metal. The album resembled closely to their previous (r)Evolution album so you can got the tutti to imagine. Joacim Cans nailed this album with the same stamina we enjoyed before. His voice is unexampled in the vast universe of power metal that still last up to this album. Take a look at Hector in the front cover, he stands triumphantly on top of the keep. And that is the spirit captured in this album, ten awesome songs that will make you want to climb to the top of the roof and scream "Hammer High until I die!....."

Metal Harem class : ********** nine stars out of ten


Hammerfall - Built to Last (2016)
Buy it Here - Amazon

1. Bring It!
2. Hammer High
3. The Sacred Vow
4. Dethrone And Defy
5. Twilight Princess
6. Stormbreaker
7. Built to Last
8. The Star of Home
9. New Breed
10. Second to None

    Oscar Dronjak – rhythm guitar, lead guitar, backing vocals
    Fredrik Larsson – bass, backing vocals
    Joacim Cans – lead vocals
    Pontus Norgren – lead guitar, rhythm guitar, backing vocals
    David Wallin – drums



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