|Musical Style: Hard Rock||Produced By: Andy Johnson|
|Record Label: Rivel||Country Of Origin: Sweden|
|Year Released: 2005||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 55%|
|Running Time: 49:02|
On its fourth full length album entitled Lightmaker, Sweden's Heartcry plays a bluesy seventies influenced blend of hard rock and metal certain to appeal to fans of early nineties Bride, Intensity Shift and Glenn Kaiser Band. While founding member Anders Johansson brings a good raspy lead vocal style to the project, his delivery at times can come across on the strained and abrasive side. Johansson does, however, contribute an abundance of gritty lead guitar work with a decidedly blues based edge to it. Joining Johansson on keyboards is talented Christian rock veteran Dan Tibell (Jerusalem). Bassist Bjorn Klingvall and drummer Anders Kollerfors round out the rhythm section.
Lightmaker is held back by a thin and muffled sounding production job. The rhythm section can sound flat and buried, while the rhythm guitar lacks the needed polish and crispness.
Getting underway to several seconds of loud hammering, the energetic "Battle Ground" abruptly launches into a fast riff that drives it in hard hitting fashion to a superb non-stop hook filled chorus. A lengthy instrumental section gives Johansson the opportunity to show off his blues flavored lead guitar work. As its title implies, "Battle Ground" touches upon the issue of spiritual warfare:
I fight against the dark, no visual enemy
I got the sword of love, God's word will set man free
"Burn Out" moves at a slower and more subdued pace when compared to "Battle Ground". After beginning to a flavorful mix of rhythm guitar and organ, "Burn Out" slows at the start of its first verse before evenly advancing to a catchy chorus backed by a touch of vocal harmonies. Johansson brings out the best in the song with his fiery lead guitar work.
The rhythm guitar quickly fades in and out of the mix before "Runaway Train" suddenly takes off in a fast paced manner. Progressing through its first verse with a profusion of energetic momentum, the song culminates as it attains a strong grit flavored chorus. Several seconds of tight sounding rhythm guitar harmony opens an instrumental passage ending to an extended lead guitar run.
The keyboards at the start of "End Of Times" give way to a quickly moving riff that propels the song at a catchy groove-flavored tempo. Tapering off at the start of its first verse, "End Of Times" picks up in pace for an infectious chorus accentuated by just the right amount of keyboards. Johansson contributes thirty seconds of the albums best bluesy lead guitar work. "End Of Times" talks about God's faithfulness:
I still believe in you, even when you fail
I want to set you free, just call my name
These words I say to you will change your heart
I live inside of you, you can hear me call
The overbearing "Lightmaker" abruptly kicks in to a driving riff before just as suddenly slowing to a quietly played combination of organ and guitar for its first verse. Once the heavy hand riff opening the song returns, it reinforces a chorus that points to the person of Christ:
I'm the lightmaker, white as snow
I'm the peacemaker, Satan gonna bite the dust
I'm the lightmaker, walls gonna fall
I'm the peacemaker, grab the monster by the throat
Johansson's abrasive vocal performance further detracts from the songs appeal.
The groove flavored hard rock of "Get Ready" progresses from front to back at an upbeat tempo to a cool seventies influenced vibe. Keyboards accent the song as it reaches a laid back chorus buttressed by vocal harmonies. All the while Johansson decorates the scene with a good raspy lead vocal performance.
"Justice" commences to an epic flavored combination of keyboards and drums before transitioning to a heavy duty guitar riff underlined by an organ. Continuing through its verse in a slower paced but driving manner, the song attains a repetitious chorus held back by Johansson's strained vocal delivery.
Getting underway to a moody blend of keyboards and bass guitar, “Move” advances through its first verse at a mid-tempo pace to a combination of rhythm guitar and organ. The rhythm guitar takes a backseat in the mix as the song arrives at an ordinary sounding keyboard driven chorus.
A bluesy combination of rhythm guitar and keyboards carries "Dark Side" over its first forty-five seconds. While the rhythm guitar plays a reduced role in the mix during the songs slowly moving verse portions, it returns with just the right amount of edge to stand in support of a good hook filled chorus. “Dark Side” is a song of faith:
When you hit that wall, He’s there to pick you up
When you smash that floor, He’ll be there to take it all
When you are at the edge, His spirit fills you up
When you go that rage, yeah, His spirit gives You love
A thousand voices calls your name
But the Son of Man will stay the same
Subsequent to a quietly played guitar line taking "Child" through its first verse, the pace picks up as a blend of rhythm guitar and keyboards underscores its second in an emotionally charged fashion. The groove-flavored chorus that follows ranks among the albums best. Johansson's bluesy lead guitar work carries the song through a minute long instrumental passage.
Lightmaker opens to four of its best songs before moving on to four tracks in "Lightmaker", "Get Ready", "Justice" and "Move" that do not always hold up under repeated play. An inconsistent effort from front to back, Lightmaker is further held back by a low budget production job and an erratic lead vocal performance.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Battleground" (3:49), "Burn Out" (4:05), "Runaway Train" (5:10), "End Of Times" (5:53), "Lightmaker" (5:02), "Get Ready" (2:52), "Justice" (4:47), "Move" (6:06), "Dark Side" (4:56), "Child" (6:18)
Anders Johansson – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Dan Tibell – Keyboards & Hammond Organ
Bjorn Klingvail – Bass
Anders Kollerfors – Drums