|Musical Style: Melodic Rock||Produced By: Hasse Engstrom & Charizma|
|Record Label: United Rock||Country Of Origin: Sweden|
|Year Released: 1985||Artist Website: Charizma|
|Tracks: 11||Rating: 65%|
|Running Time: 50:46|
The roots of the Swedish melodic rock band Charizma dates back to the late seventies when brothers Bosse, Goran and Janne Nikolausson formed a punk band called High Voltage. In time, as the brothers matured and came into their own musically, their sound gradually transitioned to a commercial based combination of melodic hard rock and guitar driven melodic rock. With a change in musical direction a new name was chosen for the band in Charizma, the name in question influenced by the Kiss song "Charisma" (from Dynasty). It was only later that the three discovered Charizma means Holy Spirit in Swedish. By 1984 Charizma had gained a significant following from touring Sweden, and when a Swedish bank loaned the band $15,000 in 1985, it entered the studio and recorded its full length debut Rock The World. (One interesting point of trivia worth noting: The bank acted as a guarantor for the loan. So at least somebody believed in the group!)
Goran may not be the fastest or flashiest of guitar players, but he does a commendable job complementing each song with his melodic flavored lead guitar work. Bosse brings a solid mid-octave ranged voice to the project, and, despite putting in an adequate performance, is not quite in the same league with the likes of Michael Sweet (Stryper), Les Carlson (Bloodgood) or Stephen Patrick (Holy Soldier). Bosse also handles bass and combines with Janne to round out the rhythm section.
Rock The World is held back by a thin and muddy sounding production job. The rhythm guitar often sounds weak and transparent. Neither the drums nor bass stand out in the mix as they should. A great deal of improvement is needed here.
Rock The World was initially released on vinyl in 1985 but was not re-issued on CD until 1999 by Magdalene Records with bonus tracks in "Turn Me On" and "Guardian Angels". Please note that the CD packaging is limited to a single page insert featuring the album cover on the front and an advertisement listing other releases from the label on the back. No lyrics, band photos, liner notes or artist commentary are included. Packaging gets an "F".
A fast paced blend of rhythm guitar and organ conveys "The Knights" forward from the start, the two carrying the song at an upbeat tempo to a chorus with a catchy radio friendly hook. An instrumental passage limited to several seconds of distorted lead guitar is to be found wanting. As its title suggests, "The Knights" deals with spiritual warfare:
Light cracks through the darkness, the battle will begin
Trained as super warriors, we are gonna win...
We are the knights, lift your sword in the air
Introduced to several seconds of open air rhythm guitar, “Free From The World” advances at a steady mid-tempo pace until it transitions to a melodic flavored chorus that will pull you in and refuse to let go. Goran cuts loose with a minute of very well done lead guitar work.
After keyboards propel the ballad "Make Up Your Mind" through its second verse, an acoustic guitar enters the mix at the start of the third and leads the way to a strong chorus with an abundance of commercial appeal. A tastefully done blues based guitar solo closes out the songs last minute. While quite solid from a musical standpoint, I cannot help but think "Make Up Your Mind" would have stood out even further if a crisp rhythm guitar had been added to the mix.
A punchy bass line underscores the rhythm guitar and organ that quickly drives the albums hard rocking title track to an energetic chorus carried at an anthem-like upbeat tempo. Goran's fiery lead guitar work carries "Rock The World" over its last fifty seconds.
Set in motion by a drum solo and several seconds of vocal harmonies, “God Bless Rock N’ Roll” is evenly driven by a crisp rhythm guitar to a catchy non-stop hook filled chorus. It gets somewhat monotonous during the songs last half, on the other hand, as Bosse continually repeats the songs title- over and over and over again...
"Try It (Feel The Love)" is accentuated by a catchy guitar riff during its verse portions, the song not culminating until it reaches an equally infectious chorus bolstered by vocal harmonies. Goran tops things off with nearly a minute of stylish lead guitar work. The love in question, of course, is God’s love:
Try it, feel the love
Jesus will give you all that you need
Try it, feel the love
The rhythm guitar harmony at the start of "On Your Own" is followed by Bosse conveying by way of spoken word over a punchy bass line feelings of loneliness and isolation in today's world:
The city is asleep, waiting for dawn to break
You’re all alone as you walk the way home
And it feels like no one- and no one- cares at all
Once the rhythm guitar returns at the start of the songs first verse, vocal harmonies soon step forward and lead the way to a laid back chorus underscored by keyboards. "On Your Own" closes to just under a minute of melodic flavored lead guitar work.
The piano slowly carrying "He Is The Light" through its first verse gives way to a keyboard solo, the pace not picking up until the song moves on to a chorus with a catchy refuse to go away hook. Goran contributes several seconds of the albums best lead guitar work to an instrumental passage ending to another keyboard solo. "He Is The Light" talks about God's faithfulness:
In the valleys and on the mountains
And in the deserts, you'd be there
You're the light, You're the life
Inexplicably, "He Is The Light" is not included with the track listing on the back of the jewel case, while the song "Won't Let Me Down" - which did not make it onto the album - is listed in its place (As previously stated, packaging gets an "F".)
"Where Do You Stand", an uninspired keyboard based ballad with a weak melody line, is carried out past five redundant minutes. The songs lyrics, on the other hand, are quite good:
I hope you choose Jesus
He Died for you
So you would have the chance
To get eternal life
The crisp rhythm guitar opening "Turn Me On" takes a backseat in the mix as a punchy bass line supports the song during its first verse. The rhythm guitar returns, however, as "Turn Me On" picks up in pace for a hook laden chorus with a nice commercial feel. A fluid guitar solo tops off a song the band released as an EP in 1986 – with the track “Try It (Feel The Love) - and subsequently received significant airplay on Swedish radio.
Taking off to a near perfect mix of edgy metal-laced rhythm guitar and keyboards, “Guardian Angels” tapers off for its verse portions only to gain momentum for a chorus driven in a strong manner by vocal harmonies. A keyboard solo gives way to several seconds of blistering lead guitar work.
On Rock The World Charizma proves in no uncertain terms its ability to write a song with a good catchy hook, the album quite consistent in that I find myself hitting the skip button only once or twice. "Free From The World", "Try It (Feel The Love)" and "Turn Me On" all stand out with their catchy melodies; however, upbeat hard rockers such as "The Knights", "Rock The World" and "Guardian Angels" hold up equally well. It is worth pointing out that the weak production job proves a detracting factor, and while Goran's lead vocals are adequate, they potentially prevent the band from reaching greater acclaim.
Finally, for you history buffs, Rock The World was released in Poland in 1987 with different album artwork and a bonus track in “Turn Me On”. In 1991 a remake of the album – which went on to sell 40,000 copies - was released in the Soviet Union under the title Rockin' The World Together with different artwork and two new tracks in "Take You High" and "Join Hands" which initially appeared on the 1990 “maxi-single” Join Hands.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "The Knights" (4:48), "Free From The World" (4:57), "Make Up Your Mind" (5:04), "Rock The World" (4:44), "God Bless Rock N’ Roll" (3:08), "Try It (Feel The Love)" (4:23), "On Your Own" (4:27), "He Is The Light" (4:15), "Where Do You Stand" (5:05), "Turn Me On" (4:15), "Guardian Angels" (5:36)
Bosse Nikolausson – Lead Vocals & Bass
Goran Nikolausson – Guitars
Janne Nikolausson - Drums
Kristensson, Eric. "Charizma." White Throne 4 (1988): 10-11 & 14.
Rocker, Randy. 'Interview With Charizma." Take A Stand (February 1989): 1-2.
Rocker, Randy. "Swedish Import- Charizma." Heaven's Metal 22 (1989): 30-3