Narnia – “Ghost Town”


Narnia is back and stronger than ever with their latest release “Ghost Town.” Powerful melodic vocals, epic guitar solos, driving drums and thought-provoking, inspirational lyrics are delivered flawlessly on this latest release easily landing as one of the best albums the band has released.

For many readers, Narnia needs no introduction, however for the sake of newcomers I’ll give a quick run-down. Narnia began back in 1996 when singer Christian Liljegren(Divinefire, Golden Resurrection, The Waymaker) and guitarist CJ Grimmark(Saviour Machine, Sanctifica, Audiovision)wanted to do a melodic hard rock project. They pulled together like-minded musicians to round out the band and released their debut album “Awakening” in 1998. From 1998 through 2010 they released six studio albums, a live album and a compilation album. In 2010 they broke up only to reform in 2014. Since the reformed line-up they have released three studio albums: “Narnia” (2016), “From Darkness to Light” (2019) and “Ghost Town” (2023).

“Ghost Town” showcases how Narnia has matured over the decades and can execute brilliantly in their craft. It is very melodic with catchy choruses, grooving riffs, and ripping solos. There is a wide variety of influences present that make it easy to listen to over and over again. The lyrics are uplifting and great reminders of faith in this fallen world, which is a prevailing theme through the album.

I think other reviewers may be more nuanced than I on what genre Narnia plays, but I say this is power metal with neoclassical tendencies. “Rebel” starts the album out with a guitar screaming like an air raid siren, instantly grabbing attention with this high-energy power metal song. “Thief” is a great example of how they use vocal drama and slightly Middle-Eastern tinged musicality to paint the picture of the good thief on the cross. Although I don’t usually think of Narnia as progressive metal, the 7-minute “Descension” beautifully demonstrates their progressive chops from a lone piano building into the final chorus. The jazz-inspired chord progressions underlying the solo in “Modern Day Pharisees” was a pleasant surprise and “Out of Silence” has Narnia moving into gothic territory with Eric Clayton’s (Saviour Machine) recitation of the Lord’s prayerinto an epic choral “Amen.” The album finishes off with “Wake-up Call” which flourishes off the album similar to how it began with high energy power metal.

Vocals are on the gruffer side for power metal (which is preferable to me) and demonstrate great dynamic range. The melodies are singable which makes the songs more approachable. Guitar work is well executed with precise guitar riffs and neoclassically inspired solos and leads. The rhythm section is very solid with a few bass runs and drum fills to keep things interesting, but usually don’t take the spotlight from the vocals and guitars. The keyboards play mostly a support role, but every now and then they -come above the fray. I found the synth solo in “Glory Daze” especially refreshing.

Aside from the melodic metal mantle, Narnia is also known for uncompromising and uplifting lyrics. Having listened through this album a few times, I can tell that my mood is lifted and I feel encouraged. Lines such as Out of repentance comes healing and peace from “Rebel” and You forgive us even though we don’t deserve it from “Thief” gives inspiration and meditation. The chorus in “Modern Day Pharisees” gets stuck in my head often and guides me on how to handle people who glorify sin in this fallen world.

Although the songs are catchy and very listenable, there isn’t a single standout track that I crave. It’s excellent music played by a great band with good chemistry, but I think it misses an element of musical risk-taking to make it an over the top album.

In short, Narnia has produced a stellar album with enough turns and variety to make for an enjoyable listening experience time and time again. The high point for me is the overwhelmingly positive truths in the lyrics that are wrapped in perfectly executed melodic, progressive metal. For believers that like to head bang – this is manna from heaven. For non-believers, this will show that being Christian can mean making bad-ass metal. Definitely recommend!

Rating: 9.5/10

Written by Sean Bailey

1 – Rebel
2 – Thief
3 – Hold On
4 – Glory Daze
5 – Descension
6 – Ghost Town
7 – Alive
8 – Modern Day Pharisees
9 – Out of the Silence
10 – Wake Up Call

Narnia is:Lyric video for
Christian Liljegren – Vocals
Carl Johan Grimmark – Guitars and backing vocals
Jonatan “Jojo” Samuelsson – Bass and backing vocals
Martin Harenstam – Keyboards
Andreas Habo Johansson – Drums

Guest: Eric Clayton on “Out of the Silence”

Release Date: March 17, 2023

Record Label: Independent

“Awakening” (1998)
“Long Live The King” (1999)
“Desert Land” (2001)
“The Great Fall” (2003)
“At Short Notice… Live In Germany” (2004)
“Enter The Gate” (2006)
“Decade of Confession” (compilation 2007)
“Course of a Generation” (2009)
“Narnia” (2016) [review]
“From Darkness to Light” (2019) [review]
“Soli Deo Gloria” (compilation 2021)

Social Media: Youtube | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | Bandcamp | JonoMusic

Video for ‘Ghost Town’

Video for ‘Wake Up Call’

Lyric video for ‘Rebel’

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