Review: Narnia

““Desert Land””
(Nuclear Blast)

Ah, power metal, so non-threatening, and so easily written off by most metal fans.  Not to say that the music lacks talent, as is the case with Narnia, who’s guitarist, Carljohan Grimmark, has been declared a guitar hero by Japanese press (which means what to you and me?) and tends to show off his young but healthy chops throughout out the album.  Now are you surprised to find that this band that got its claim to fame for opening for Dio’s comeback tour sounds like a vehicle for a guitarist?  A new term seems to be floating around because of this band, which describes there style as neo-classical metal.  Hmmm…not a fair thing to say about classical metal.  To these bias ears, there is a lot of talent going towards uninteresting ends.  “Revolution Of Mother Earth,” is the kind of ballad they make fun of in beer commercials and threaten to find the CD making a trip to Music Trader.  One thing is for sure, when you have a guitar virtuoso on the album, there had better be some DAMN good solo’s, and this album had some good ones.  Nothing great, nothing really showing the listener just how good the band/members can be.  “The Light at the End of the Tunnel” was pretty decent, displaying some of Grimmark’s better work, subtly.  His greatest sounds tend to come out when he’s a little slower and more expressive, leaving the fast licks to sound somewhat unimpressive despite speed.  Frankly, as with most power metal, its just better not to go in to the lyrics.  The best part of the album was the few moments when the singer was on the tracks.  Just because the lyrics are lame, and band doesn’’t seem to need a singer.  A lot of power metal would be better off just as instrumental.