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Narnia - 2003 The Great Fall


NARNIA - THE GREAT FALL (2003, NUCLEAR BLAST)
Christian Rivel - vocals
Carljohan Grimmark - guitars, keyboards, vocals
Andreas Johansson - drums, percussion
Martin Claesson - keyboards
Andreas Olsson - bass


Background
Swedish band Narnia return with album number 4 'The Great Fall'. A longstanding stalwart of the Nuclear Blast family, Narnia have been through many transitions since 1997's 'Awakening'. Since then, their reputation has been enhanced with subsequent albums 'Long Live The King' and 2001's 'Desert Land' - a milestone for them up to that point. They've gone one better, 'The Great Fall' taking on a theme-oriented basis, in much the same way as Kamelot's 'Epica'. Stylistically smiliar too, with a couple of spoken preludes. The album theme takes on the subject matter of the 'perceived' fall of mankind. Pretty bleak stuff, but made the more interesting by Narnia's brand of melodic metal.

The Songs
The atmospheric prelude 'War Preludium' lays the storyline foundation, kicking off with the urgent delivery of 'The Countdown Has Begun'. The mid-section slows up a bit (everyone catches their breath?), before taking off relentlessly to the end. Things get real exciting on 'Back From Hell' - opening in true HM guitar riffarama fashion, the verses are beautifully subtle, then they're offset by an angry bridge/chorus. For excellence, try listening to 'Judgement Day', chops and changes galore, keyboard layers, chugga-chugga guitars, and bullet-train drumming courtesy of guest Anders Johansson (Yngwie J Malmsteen, Hammerfall) Narnia know when to press the 'epic' button. Try the movable feast that is 'Innocent Blood', or better yet, the 14 minute 'The Great Fall Of Man', which has all the ingredients of musical theater. Complex and intricate, contrasting yet inviting, the band tackle a very heavy topic - the theme and lyrics a virtual call down through the generations of mankind.

In Summary
Not being that close to their music previously, from what I've heard so far it's very impressive. There are a few issues which I have, but comparison wise, they're not too far off the mark when you talk about the greats of the melodic metal genre. Just a note: though Martin Claesson plays keyboards on the album, he departed shortly after, and has since been replaced by Linus Ksse. Fans of Edguy, Kamelot et al should do some investigating with this lot.

Track Time: 54.06

Track Listing:
The Great Fall - Part I
01 War Preludium
02 The Countdown Has Begun
03 Back From Hell
04 No Time To Lose
05 Innocent Blood

The Great Fall - Part II
06 Ground Zero
07 Judgement Day
08 Desert Land
09 The Great Fall Of Man

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