|Musical Style: Metal/Hard Rock||Produced By: Wisdom Call|
|Record Label: Rivel||Country Of Origin: Sweden|
|Year Released: 2001||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 65%|
|Running Time: 46:34|
Wisdom Call, a side project of Narnia lead vocalist Christian Liljegren, came about due to the backlog of material in his possession that did not quite fit the mold of the neo-classical influenced power metal characteristic of Narnia. Combining elements of straightforward hard rock and melodic metal, Wisdom Call's 2001 self-titled debut highlights an abundance of catchy, melodic based songwriting backed by the bands tight sounding display of musicianship. Stormwind bassist Andreas Olsson (who went on to join Narnia in time to record its fourth release The Great Fall) joins forces with drummer Andreas Johansson (Narnia) to comprise a rock solid rhythm section. The guitar team of Stefan Olsson (Bishop Garden) and Fredrick Aberg furnish a wealth of dual lead guitar work, while keyboardist Per Hallman (Stormwind) adds just the right amount of texture to the bands sound. Liljegren, as always, contributes a very fine smooth sounding performance on lead vocals.
Wisdom Call features a superlative production job giving prominence to warm and refined sounding sonics. The drums are produced to near perfection. A crisp rhythm guitar sound stands alongside a clean mix of lead guitar.
The album starts in a strong manner to the vibrant power metal of the aptly titled "Power From the Sky". Launching into a fast paced double bass driven riff, the song moves forward with a ton of energy as it progresses to a good hard hitting chorus. Olsson and Aberg punctuate one of the albums better tracks with thirty seconds of dual lead guitar work. While "Power From The Sky" can come across a bit redundant lyrically, it does not fail to get the point across:
We love to play power metal from the sky
See the audience is shouting and banging their heads tonight
Look to the sky
Believe what you see
This is the sign from above
"The Lost Generation" proceeds at a slower pace when compared to "Power From The Sky" but proves no less exemplary. A crisp rhythm guitar reinforced by double bass steadily drives the song ahead until it attains a catchy chorus resonating a perfect sublime feel. Olsson and Aberg again combine to top things off with another well done lead guitar trade off.
Opening to a drum solo, a crunchy riff takes the slow and driving hard rock of "I Believe" through its first verse before it evenly transitions to a chorus in which Liljegren makes a statement of faith:
Cause I believe in God almighty
He is my King
The keeper of the Light
A beautiful crystal clear sounding guitar solo helps carry the song through a minute long instrumental passage.
After beginning to a prominent mix of keyboards, "Never Satisfied" advances through its first verse hard and heavy to a double bass driven riff. The keyboards briefly return, however, just before the song picks up in pace for a sweeping chorus carried at an upbeat tempo. I like how "Never Satisfied" slows for a bluesy guitar solo only to regain its momentum for several seconds of fast paced lead guitar work. "Never Satisfied" talks about the true source of eternal life:
Feeling so unclean in front of You
Help me see the Way
Feeling so unclean in front of You
Turn my darkness into Light
The cover of Europe's classic melodic metal number "Wings Of Tomorrow" does not quite make the grade. As a result of lacking much of the inspiration and energy found on the albums better material, the song almost comes across pedestrian in feel. Robert Holmberg, on the other hand, fills in on lead guitar and contributes thirty seconds of impressive lead guitar work.
"Through Fire" is by far the albums strongest track. Commencing to an atmospheric blend of keyboards and female vocal harmonies, a crunchy rhythm guitar propels the song through its first verse at a stylish mid-tempo pace. As the rhythm guitar moves to the front of the mix, "Through Fire" picks up in pace and culminates for a chorus delivered in a superb emotionally charged manner. Forty-five seconds of the albums best lead guitar work tops off a song dealing with perseverance:
Through fire, like a long distance runner
Through fire, will I see the end?
Introduced by vocal harmonies that repeat its title, "One Way Out" moves ahead in a heavy guitar driven fashion before it moves on to a good upbeat chorus backed by more vocal harmonies. A minute of flashy lead guitar work flawlessly rises above the instrumentation.
The classy piano based ballad "Hold On To The Truth" gives prominence to a strong melody as it slowly proceeds to a chorus highlighting Liljegren's smooth sounding vocal delivery. "Hold On To The Truth" talks about literally doing that:
Listen to my words and list to your heart
And you'll find the Answer
I am the Way, the Truth and Life
Trust in me and you will find peace in your heart
So hold on to the Truth...
The album closes with two songs from Liljegren’s old band Modest Attraction. (Please note that both are the original versions as performed by Modest Attraction and not covers done by Wisdom Call.) "15 Years", appearing on the bands 1996 release Divine Luxury, moves in a 70's influenced hard rock direction. Taken from Modest Attraction's 1994 demo, "Time" can be categorized as straightforward hard rock not unlike Wisdom Call. While there is nothing wrong with "15 Years" or "Time" musically, neither is a Wisdom Call song, and, as a result, I feel no need to comment further.
Am I out of line to suggest that Wisdom Call might not have had enough original material ready at the time it entered the studio? Within the context that three of the albums tracks were written by other bands, Wisdom Call probably should have been an EP as opposed to a full length effort. Irregardless, the albums better material is outstanding, and when taking into consideration its excellent production values, it comes with a solid recommendation.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Power From The Sky” (3:40), “The Lost Generation” (3:43), “I Believe” (5:01), “Never Satisfied” (4:44), “Wings Of Tomorrow” (3:41), “Through Fire” (4:58), “One Way Out” (3:22), “Hold On To The Truth” (3:02), “15 Years” (6:45), “Time” (7:34)
Christian Liljegren – Lead Vocals
Stefan Olsson – Guitars
Fredrik Aberg – Guitars
Per Hallman – Keyboards
Andreas Olsson – Bass
Andreas Johansson – Drums
Magnus Ahlgren – Bass
Robert Holmberg – Guitars
Also Reviewed: Audiovision – The Calling, Divinefire – Glory Thy Name, Divinefire - Hero, Divinefire - Into A New Dimension, Divinefire - Farewell, Flagship – Maiden Voyage, Narnia – The Great Fall, Narnia - At Short Notice, Narnia - Enter The Gate, Narnia - Decade Of Confession