NARNIA – Enter The Gate

NARNIA - Enter The Gate
  • 7.5/10
    NARNIA - Enter The Gate - 7.5/10


Release date: April 21, 2006

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It is safe to assume that the word Narnia is known to most people through the 2005 motion picture The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, maybe to some even through CS Lewis’ books. But, this may be news for most of you: There is a fine Scandinavian Melodic Metal Band with that name, and Enter The Gate is already their fifth album.

Their musical career began in 1998, when they released their debut on Nuclear Blast Records and supported Dio on his 1998 European Tour. After three more albums for Nuclear Blast, this current release is on Massacre Records, who have proven to be a good haven for Melodic Rock and Power Metal bands in the past, and their instincts were right again. Enter The Gate is Narnia’s best album to date.

The opening track “Into This Game” already gets you in the mood with vibrant guitars and strong keyboards, which are sometimes overly dominant. Guitarist Carl Johann Grimmark, who can be found on various albums of Savior Machine and Bob Rock, services the songs rather than his ego, something which cannot be said about every Scandinavian guitar player. But, the most distinctive feature of Narnia’s music is definitely Christian Rivel’s outstanding voice, which sets them positively apart from a lot of the genre’s current output. Memorable melodies and catchy choruses make you nod your head immediately, and don’t be surprised to find yourself unconsciously singing along …

The opener, the fastest song of the album, “People Of The Bloodred Cross,” and the mid-tempo “Another World,” make a winning trio that alone would make this album worth buying. Especially in “Another World,” it is striking how Grimmark sets a course with only a few well-placed notes and creates an atmosphere that makes it easily the strongest track on the whole album.

This would probably be a real masterpiece, if there were not a few songs in the middle of the album that fail to keep the overall level of excellence. Those are track 4, “Show All The World,” which is over-produced; track 6, “Take Me Home,” a ballad that is kitschy even for Melodic Metal; and track 7, “This Is My Life,” which is simply an average song.

But, amid these mediocre songs, the band has hidden the title track, “Enter The Gate,” in which Grimmark shows that he can come up with highly original, twisted riffs, placed over an unusual rhythm that sets this song apart from the rest of the album. It has only one little drawback: you might wish to take the triangle out of drummer Andreas Johansson’s hands. Somebody seems to have misunderstood the meaning of Metal.

When the album progresses towards the end, Narnia still has two great songs to come: “Aiming Higher,” the second tune after “People Of The Bloodred Cross” that you will involuntarily keep humming even after the music stopped. And finally, the longest track, “The Man From Nazareth,” which is positively epic and dramatic. Do not be surprised if you just hit the play button again after this one!

Comparing Enter The Gate to the first four albums, it is evident that the trend towards straighter songs, already apparent on Desert Land and The Great Fall, continues. The Neo-Classical elements and the Prog influences are almost gone. What remains are great songs that will do nicely in your car stereo.

This leaves only one question unanswered: Why did they choose the name Narnia? CS Lewis was contemporary to and friend of JRR Tolkien, and also wrote an epic fantasy story, but his conversion to Christianity and obvious Christian symbolism throughout his works made him less agreeable to the general public. Still, the idea of Jesus being reincarnated (the lion Aslan, which you can see an all five Narnia album covers, though on Enter The Gate, for the first time, it does not look like a close relative to the Elephant Man) to save the souls of the people of the magical land Narnia, is what inspired the Swedes to pick this name to transport their White Metal message. Every single song’s lyrics are strongly and obviously based on Christian believes. And although the message is always conveyed quite bluntly, it is a nice change from Heavy Metal bands’ habit of coquetting with Satanism. It is ironic that regularly Christian groups try to banish Rock music as a tool of the devil …

You will like this album if you like: Dio, Rising Force, Stratovarius, Thunderstone


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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