|Musical Style: Hard Rock||Produced By: Andy Kidd|
|Record Label: Lamb & Lion||Country Of Origin: Sweden|
|Year Released: 1983||Artist Website: Jerusalem|
|Tracks: 8||Rating: 70%|
|Running Time: 49:15|
Swedish Christian hard rock pioneers Jerusalem came together in 1975 and toured for three years before signing with Prim Records and releasing its self-titled debut in 1978 and the follow-up effort Volume 2 in 1980. After Glenn Kaiser (Resurrection Band) obtained a copy of Volume 2 when he caught Jerusalem's performance at the Greenbelt festival in England, he gave the record to Lamb & Lion Record owner Pat Boone upon returning to the states. Boone subsequently released English versions of the bands first two albums. (The title to the English version of the debut was changed to Volume 1.)
While Volume 1 and Volume 2 both suffer from production problems and inconsistencies in the areas of songwriting and performance, Jerusalem came into its own with the blues based seventies influenced hard rock of its third effort Warrior. Lead vocalist Ulf Christiansson might not posses the talent of fellow Swedes Sonny Larsson and Peo Pettersson, but he holds his own with a solid gut level and mid-octave ranged vocal style. Christiansson also capably handles all rhythm and lead guitar duties. Drummer Klas Anderhell and bassist Peter Carlsohn combine to form a tight sounding rhythm section. The talented Dan Tibell (Heartcry) adds just the right amount of texture on keyboards.
Warrior features a solid production job characterized by a crisp rhythm guitar sound and a clean mix of lead guitar. Keyboards, with "It's Mad" being the lone exception, accentuate the bands sound without coming across overbearing. While the drums project the needed snap and pop, the bass could have been mixed a bit more prominently.
After a strong and steady guitar riff backed by an organ introduces "Constantly Changing", the song moves forward at a mid-tempo clip until it culminates for a good melodic flavored chorus. Christiansson displays his abilities on lead guitar throughout a minute and a half long instrumental passage.
Getting underway to a militant style drum solo, the albums title track advances to a catchy riff that after a minute transitions to an ethereal flavored guitar solo. Building and gaining momentum, "Warrior" moves past the three minute mark as a blend of rhythm guitar and organ carries its verse at an upbeat tempo as Christiansson expounds upon the issue of spiritual warfare:
I never dreamed I'd be a fighter one day
Now I'm enlisted in the heat of the fray
Entrenched on the front line, fighting for God
He's the commander, we move at His word
The catchy riff opening the song briefly returns just before "Warrior" reaches an aggressively delivered hard hitting chorus.
"Pilgrim" is a slower melodic rock number that requires several listens in order for it to grow on you. Progressing through its first verse in an acoustic laced fashion to a punchy bass line, the song slows to a near standstill for a chorus backed by a prominent mix of keyboards. Christiansson adds a nice lengthy guitar solo to a track dealing with perseverance in the life of a Christian:
Don't take your hand from the plow
Don't stray from the path
Beware of distractions
And you will make it at last
The syrupy keyboards at the start of "It's Mad" take the song through the majority of its first verse until it stops dead in its tracks as the keyboards drop from the mix. As "It's Mad" regains its impetus, the rhythm guitar drives it to a quirky pop flavored chorus. The keyboards opening the song make a cameo appearance to dominate its instrumental passage. "It's Mad" is based around the Israelites siege of Jericho but its lyrics could have been written better:
The children of Israel gazing up at Jericho's walls
They just couldn't see how this city ever could fall
But the Lord said, don't you know
For seven days you must go
A walking 'round Jericho
But don't make a sound
Keep on going 'round
The children of Israel knew
What God promised He would do
And when the trumpets blew
The walls fell down
Razed to the ground
The heavy duty hard rocker "Man Of The World" proceeds through all three of its verses at a driving mid-tempo pace to an edgy rhythm guitar perfectly accentuated by an organ. Christiansson cuts loose with a sharp sounding guitar solo after the first verse, while following the second the song breaks for a pounding riff underlined by eerie sounding keyboards.
"Sodom" is a fantastic twelve minute progressive rock masterpiece that stands the test of time as nothing less than a classic. The keyboard solo opening the song transitions to a piano that slowly carries its first and second verse as Christiansson delivers a no-nonsense message:
The Lord's looking down on the earth
Waiting for you and for me
Just one man who wants above all
To speak the truth that sets people free
An incredibly catchy guitar riff kicks in and propels "Sodom" through a minute long instrumental passage. Slowing to a near standstill, the song picks up in pace as a combination of rhythm guitar and organ bolsters its third verse and the strong hard hitting chorus that follows. During its fourth verse Christiansson invites a comparison to Sodom and society today:
If it's hard for you to believe it
Just switch on your TV-screen
Reality looks like a nightmare
This Sodom is more than a dream
A keyboard solo takes "Sodom" past its halfway point before its chorus is repeated three straight times, Christiansson following by presenting a challenge to the songs listeners during its fifth verse:
But you, who would follow Jesus
Stop and think who's been betrayed
For the message we preach is diluted
No one benefits from one word that's said
Continuing to repeat its chorus, "Sodom" tapers off to an acoustic guitar only to pick up in pace as Christiansson follows with a minute of mean sounding lead guitar work. When "Sodom" stops dead in its tracks, he shouts, "We're livin' in Sodom!" four straight times over a pounding riff prior to the song ending as he compares Sodom to various countries throughout the world.
"Ashes In Our Hands" slowly fades in over its first minute as the rhythm guitar and organ incrementally increase their place in the mix. Moving through its first verse in a hard and heavy guitar driven manner, the organ gradually plays a more prominent role as the songs gains momentum and reaches a good catchy chorus. As "Ashes In Our Hands" passes its three minute mark, the guitar drops from the mix leaving pounding drums to back Christiansson as he delivers a message of hope:
All things were created
Through Jesus Christ God's Son
And everything can be made new
When His reign has begun
The album ends in an uninspired manner to the pedestrian six minute acoustic based ballad "Farewell".
Warrior is by far Jerusalem's strongest effort musically out of its first three albums; nevertheless, it is somewhat inconsistent in that I find myself hitting the skip button several times. The album includes the two best songs ever recorded by the band in "Warrior" and "Sodom", while "Constantly Changing", "Man Of The World" and "Ashes In Our Hands" are all quite good. When factoring in its solid production job and the bands capable musicianship, Warrior would prove a very fine addition to your collection.
Warrior was not released on CD until 1998 when it was combined with the bands follow up effort Can’t Stop Us Now onto one disc under the title Classics 2. Due to time limitations the albums final track, “Farewell”, was left off. It is long overdue for Warrior to be re-issued in its entirety on CD and with better packaging as well.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Constantly Changing" (5:48), "Warrior" (6:17), "Pilgrim" (4:14), "It’s Mad" (5:36), "Man Of The World" (4:26), "Sodom" (12:10), "Ashes In Our Hands" (4:36), "Farewell" (6:08)
Ulf Christiansson – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Dan Tibell – Keyboards
Peter Carlsson – Bass
Klas Anderhell - Drums
Van Pelt, Doug. "Ten Years After review." Heaven's Metal 19 (1989).