"The Great Fall" is a fantastic melodic metalalbum by Sweden's Narnia. After "The Awakening"(1998), "Long Live The King"(1999) and "Desert Land"(2001) this is their heaviest album so far, an album that will appeal to all lovers of guitar- driven melodic rockmusic.
For you out there who do not know where the name Narnia comes from I can tell you that the name is derived from the books of the English writer C.S. Lewis. In his novels Lewis created a land called Narnia and the founder of that country is the lion Aslan. That is why there is a lion on all the covers of the Narnia albums. Now that you know this I can have a talk with Christian Rivel, the singer of Narnia.
I heard that recently Martin Claeson left the band, is that true?
"Yes, it is. He finished the new record with us and then he decided to leave Narnia. We are still close friends but he told me that he was away from home too much and therefore it was better if he left the band. Now that the album was finished he thought it was the right time to take this decision. Our new keyboard player is called Linus Kase, he is no stranger to our band so that made it easy to choose him."
Jakob Person, the bassplayer also left the band, what were his reasons?
"He wanted to go into another direction, musically speaking and I think that he is still playing music nowadays. Andreas Olsson replaces him and he played in Wisdom Call and Stormwind before, two bands that work under my label called Rivel records."
This album is the heaviest you have done so far.
"I could not agree more, "Desert Land" was already a heavier album but this one really rocks. Ofcourse we also tried to put in a lot of melody and progressive elements, but if you listen to the guitarriffs in "Back From Hell" you will be surprised. I really feel that with this album Narnia finally has its own identity; this cd proves that we are a dynamic band. You can also hear that I am a fan of melodic rockmusic from the seventies, I always loved Queen, Kansas and that sort of bands. Mix that with heavy metal and you have the music of Narnia in a nutshell."
Is it a conceptalbum?
"Yes it is, you are right about that. The story is about a soldier who returns from war and who cannot cope with his experiences and who has noboby to talk to about his war nightmares. He is confused, afraid and above all frustrated, but for the rest I will tell you no more, because I think the listener has to figure it out for himself. Some time ago I was in Israel myself and I experienced a bombing in Gaza and I can tell you that it was a terrible thing, it really frightened me. So that is how I got the soldier idea for this album. "The Great Fall" is symbolic, a lot of bad things are going on at this moment in the world and I as a human being am very concerned about all this. I am not into politics, that is nothing for me, but I believe that the human being is the heart of this matter; everybody should be more tolerant and down to earth."
The song "Ground Zero" is probably about the attack on the twin towers in New York?
"No, actually it is not. The song was already written in 2000, so before that terrible attack took place. It is an instrumental song written by Carljohann so if you would like to know more about it, you have to ask him, sorry.."
On the album there are two guest performances, can you tell a little bit more about that?
"Ofcourse, first of all there is a great performance by the fantastic drummer of Hammerfall, Anders Johansson. He is also a great fan of Malmsteen and he played the drums on the song "Judgement Day". And then on the long epic title track you can hear the voice of Eric Clayton of Saviour Machine. His vocals, which are completely different from mine, add an extra dimension to this track. Furthermore we used a complete choir (from Stockholm) on this song; our keyboard player Martin is a member of this choir, so it was easy to get hold of them. It will be difficult to take all these choirsingers along on tour, hahaha..., but we will use a tape, just like Queen did with "Bohemian Rhapsody".
Any tourplans already?
"Yes,we will be playing a lot in Scandinavia and on the 29th March Narnia will play in Germany. There are also plans for a "big" tour in Holland, Germany, Italy and Belgium and then we will be joined by 7th Avenue, if all goes well."
How did the last album do (in sales) by the way?
"We sold about 12 to 15,000 copies of "Desert Land" in Europe and I think 25,000 worldwide; so..."
That's not bad!
"No, it is not, but I think that Nuclear Blast has other bands like Stratovarius that have priority. Nothing against Nuclear Blast, but maybe a smaller label would be more suitable for us. As you know I have my own label called Rivel Records and we release some stuff like Stormwind or Wisdom Call, but the competition is very hard and sometimes you just have to wait and be patience till the right opportunity comes along."
I talked to you before and I know that you hate to be put into a musical box, why exactly is that?
"No, that is not quite right, I do understand that especially journalists have to put bands into musical boxes or into genres but I do not like it when they describe us as a white metal band. We are not that, we are a melodic hardrock band, and yes, we are christians, but that does not mean that we make white metal. That genre has a negative effect on listeners, if they think that you are a white metal band, you get compared to Stryper or something like that and we are nothing like Stryper, we are NARNIA and we kick ass!!"
You sure do. So people, check out the latest Narnia album called "The Great Fall"; releasedate is 7th of April.
by Martien Koolen,