NARNIA, as you probably know, is a Christian Power Metal band from Sweden. They have changed their vocalist and return now with the first album with their new singer Germán Pascual. In a time when Power Metal is a sinking ship and all the bands that once were front figures of this movement escape it like frightened rats searching for “a new, more sophisticated sound, with more Progressive Rock to it” or something equally silly, I appreciate that NARNIA stay true to the genre of Power Metal. What we have here is not exactly what I have heard earlier from this band, but fairly close to it.
What I have heard from NARNIA before has been close to the sound of FREEDOM CALL, with catchy melodic choruses as the main feature. That has not disappeared, even though the dominance of the choruses is not quite as evident. The new vocalist’s voice works well with a little rougher material. So, here we have a sound that lies between the FREEDOM CALL inspiration and the sound of ICED EARTH, with a Thrashier approach to the Power Metal. However, I still enjoy the older aspects more, most of the time. In the song “Armageddon”, though, NARNIA have really hit the right spot with the rougher sound. That is probably the best song on this album, but the two good choruses of “When The Stars Are Falling” and “Behind The Curtain” qualify them for high ratings, as well.
The new vocalist does a decent job, but his variation between melodic singing and rougher vocals (within the term Power Metal, mind you) makes NARNIA miss both trains in a way. They never really reach the “grab you by the balls feeling”, or find the “nodding the head along to the cosy tunes of the Dragonlord” sound, if you see what I mean. I would also have appreciated more bass, by which both the guitars and drums would have given a mightier impression. I do, however, appreciate the keyboard tunes that are spread here and there on the album. They are often relevant and provide a melodic alternative to the guitar-work, which is especially interesting when they are doing heavy riffing.
This album is not good enough to impress me especially; I shall be clear with that. I do, however, appreciate the attempt and here and there, the band finds the sound that I think they are aiming at. In those moments, they are worth hearing. If you already like NARNIA, you will probably enjoy “Course Of A Generation”. Others who like Power Metal in these starving times could always try this out – it is by no means worthless.
(Online October 30, 2009)