|Musical Style: Neo-classical metal||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Liljegren||Country Of Origin: Sweden|
|Year Released: 2011||Artist Website: Golden Resurrection|
|Tracks: 12||Rating: 85%|
|Running Time: 52:50|
Having finally cemented its place in the upper echelon of the Christian metal scene, Sweden’s Golden Resurrection shows no signs of letter its guard down. The group got off to a strong start in 2010 with the neo-classical power metal of its Liljegren Records debut Glory To My King and maintains the momentum by presenting with more of the same on its fall of 2011 Liljegren sophomore outing Man With A Mission. Now, do not be daunted by the “more of the same” suggestion in that Golden Resurrection, a joining of guitarist Tommy ReinXeed (formerly Johansson) and vocalist Christian Liljegren, have, for a lack of better words, written the textbook on how neo-classical metal should be performed. In other words, Man With A Mission is the way it is supposed to be done!
Imagine the best aspects of early Narnia (Awakening and Long Live The King) and Yngwie Malmsteen but joined with the symphonic, epic and melodic metal sensibilities of Divinefire, Theocracy and Rob Rock, respectively. Further mix in notable melodies, bombastic vocal arrangements, classically influenced keyboards, incessant double bass and virtuoso guitar work and it adds up to the neo-classical metal that is Golden Resurrection.
Man With A Mission comes with nine full length tracks (eight vocal and one instrumental) and a short introductory piece. Those downloading the album will be treated to bonus material in the form of covers from Gary Moore (“The End Of The World”) and Kansas (“Point Of Know Return”). At this point it must be noted that one of the constructive comments I offered in my Glory To My King review is how it “is a bit short in featuring just eight full length songs”. Not so with Man With A Mission in that it features eleven full length songs when factoring in the download material.
The new Golden Resurrection vocal tracks are right up there with Glory To My King. The band still knows how to set a furious tempo, as it does on “Identity In Christ” and non-stop catchiness of “Standing On The Rock” and “Flaming Youth”, but it can also slows things to a mid-paced romp for the majestically driven “Man With A Mission” and heavier direction to arena rocker “Are You Ready For The Power”. “Finally Free”, with its technical intricacies, and “Generation Of The Brave”, as a result of its moving emotion, represent the Golden Resurrection songwriting abilities at their best. The band can even shift gears and deliver some AOR touches on the lushly done “Golden Times”.
The Kansas and Gary Moore covers make going the download route highly recommended. Kansas fans, of course, will delight in the accurate rendering of “Point Of Know Return” while “The End Of The World” proves nothing less than seven minutes of muscle laden metal (and guitar virtuosos delight!). The quality of the two is such that I would be interested in hearing Tommy ReinXeed and Christian Liljegren record an all secular covers album (in a manner similar to Stryper’s The Covering).
So how does Man With A Mission cement Golden Resurrection’s place in the upper echelon of the Christian metal scene? It comes down to consistency in that the group has delivered back to back quality albums characterized by not only choice songwriting but strong production and performance as well. So I think we can all rest assured knowing that Golden Resurrection will not be letting its guard down anytime in the near future!
It starts with vocalist Christian Liljegren who embodies that consistency in question as a result of always putting in the same steady performance, whether it be with his previous groups Narnia and Audiovision or newer such as Divinefire and Golden Resurrection, with a soaring vocal style touched with passion and zeal. It also deserves mention that Tommy ReinXeed helps out vocally in adding some backing vocals to “Golden Times’ and “Finally Free” in addition to handling lead vocal duties on “Point Of Know Return”.
Speaking of Tommy ReinXeed, he continues to inspire in the guitar department. Similar to Glory To My King, neo-classical metal finds him in his natural element in delivering a style heavily influenced by Malmsteen, Impellitteri and Vinnie Moore. Yes, very good company indeed, but you can also hear some fluid emotion along the lines of Tony Palacios in his playing along with some fiery grit not unlike Oz Fox.
The classically influenced instrumental “Metal Opus 1 In C# Minor” and open air soloing at the start to “The End Of The World”, obviously, best embody his abilities. Otherwise, the guy is all over the place with his pyrotechnical playing, contributing lightning fast and razor sharp riffs and lead guitar that ranges from the slow and emotional (“Golden Days”) to neo-classical shred (“Finally Free”) to borderline bluesy (“Are You Ready For The Power”).
I would also like to point out the quality keyboard work of Kenneth Lillqvist, who helps give Man With A Mission a slightly heavier keyboard emphasis in comparison to Glory To My King (observation and not critique). Check out the albums title track and “Finally Free” to understand my point.
Production comes across crisp and clean with a polished and professional feel. The only thing constructive to offer, and this is a point I made in my Glory To My King review, is that the bass could have been placed a bit more forward in the mix. See HB”s The Battle Of God for how a bass mix should be properly done.
Lyrics maintain the same bold and forthright direction to Glory To My King. Look for more detail in this area once I am able to obtain a physical CD copy.
Track By Track
Opener “The Light Overture” moves its short (1:24) distance to cinematic keyboards and orchestration.
Things kick into high gear with the albums majestic title track, five inspirational minutes that run the gamut from the epic to the symphonic to the dramatic. The song starts slowly to keyboards and piano before turning into a full blown rocker as guitars lead the way through a grand and stately chorus and slower passages that decelerate in calmly moving fashion.
Impetus picks up for “Identity In Christ”. This one proves rollicking from the get go, aligning hyper double bass drumming and relentless riffing (for its staunch verses) with a plethora of polished vocal melodies (during its exquisite chorus). A harpsichord and classical keyboards trading off with guitars sustain the song during its instrumental moments.
“Golden Times” introduces some AOR touches. While melodic guitar harmonies woven with piano define the song, it is the bands huge backing vocals (almost Stryper-like in form) that put things over the top. Interestingly, things taper gently for an instrumental stretch carried by an emotionally played lead guitar.
“Finally Free” brings technical intricacies galore. The song starts to classically done keyboards before taking off at a near speed metal clip. Tempo briefly wavers to a near standstill, but it is regained as full on guitars take the song through its decisive verses and overpowering momentum that is its chorus. Of note is how Tommy trades off with Liljegren vocally in order to add another dimension to the groups sound.
“Generation Of The Brave” represents this reviewer’s choice track. Poignantly charged, inspired and full of emotion, the song almost brings a semi-ballad feel with its quieter and gentler moments and the bands pristine polish in abundance. But when the guitar rhythm kicks in, a driving environs prevails as a choir-like chorus that borders on the palatial is obtained. Further defining things are the neo-classical elements to the instrumental moments here.
“Standing On The Rock” is the first of the group’s two commercial based pieces. The song starts to a big falsetto from Liljegren before taking off in upbeat fashion, unremitting riff assaults carrying the day along with the abounding catchiness that is its hook driven chorus. Soloing wise, this one starts slowly before building to a blistering assault.
“Metal Opus 1 In C# Minor” is a classically influenced instrumental allowing Tommy ReinXeed to showcase his licks and chops. With magnificent guitar harmonies, breathtaking melodies and expeditious soloing, the song maneuvers between slower moments (carried by orchestral overtures) and faster passages (in which galloping riffs prevail). In the end it is encouraging to see the artist stretching in such a manner.
“Flaming Youth”, the second commercial based number, opens swiftly and maintains the upbeat disposition throughout. While harpsichord can be found along with baritone backing vocals, it is the double bass driven chorus (with quite the hook you will be challenged to forget) and lengthy instrumental section (sounding as if an extension of “Metal Opus 1 In C# Minor”) that allows things to stand out. Nothing less than quintessential Golden Resurrection.
“Are You Ready For The Power” is as heavy as it gets for Golden Resurrection. Starting to an accompanying live audience track, the song takes a mid-paced arena rock approach with its unwavering rhythm guitar walls and every bit as staunch low-end. Chorus almost gives rise to a metal anthem feel. The gritty and blues driven feel to the soloing matches the music to perfection.
The “Point Of Know Return” cover finds Tommy ReinXeed taking on lead vocal duties and singing in a lower register to match that of Kansas vocalist Steve Walsh. The song, otherwise, stays true to the original with complementary keyboards and semi-progressiveness as a result of its creative time and tempo changes.
The seven minute “The End Of The World” cover is a monster track. The first two minutes are instrumental in featuring some deftly done open air lead guitar (sort of like Rex Carroll). As impetus picks up, the song takes off to a catchy as it gets riff as the force is maintained through an aggressively done chorus (heavy hitting but catchy at the same time) and another incredible lead guitar run. Tommy and Liljegren trade off vocally throughout this one.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “The Light Overture” (1:24), “Man With A Mission” (5:01), “Identity In Christ” (4:49), “Golden Times” (4:39), “Finally Free” (4:21), “Generation Of The Brave” (4:50), “Standing On The Rock” (4:58), “Metal Opus 1 In C# Minor” (4:23), “Flaming Youth” (4:28), “Are You Ready For The Power” (4:15), “Point Of Know Return” (2:56), “The End Of The World” (6:49)
Christian Liljegren - Lead Vocals
Tommy ReinXeed - Guitars, Lead Vocals, Keyboards & Orchestration
Kenneth Lillqvist - Keyboards
Steven K - Bass
Rickard Gustafsson - Drums