With so many heavy metal bands traipsing off to Tolkien's Middle Earth for mystical yarns with which to inspire their music, Sweden's Narnia chose the significantly less referenced -- but nearly as timeless -- works of C.S. Lewis. Sharing the same Christian faith as Lewis, Narnia's musical quest consists of delivering a speedy and highly melodic style of heavy rock, adorned with progressive, neoclassical, and power metal tendencies. This sound was introduced to fans via 1998's Awakening album. Recorded by the founding duo of vocalist Christian Liljegren (ex-Borderline) and guitarist Carljohan Grimmark (ex-Sentinel) with the help of session musicians, the LP achieved a surprising popularity that quickly convinced the two men that they should flesh out Narnia into a proper working band. So they added keyboardist Martin Claésson, bassist Jakob Persson, and drummer Fredrik Junhammar for subsequent LPs like 1999's Long Live the King, 2001's Desert Land, and 2003's The Great Fall -- all of which were released through Nuclear Blast Records and featured a lion on their covers, in reference to the Aslan character in Lewis' books.
All the while, the band steadily built its following on the road, despite having to share time with Liljegren and Grimmark's multiple side projects. However, the years would nevertheless stretch out until Narnia's next album, Enter the Gate, which saw them transferring to Massacre Records. Making do without the services of a full-time keyboard player and armed with a new bassist in Andreas Olsson, Narnia once again headed out on the road, including an all-Christian package also featuring Rob Rock, Mortification, and Exousia that toured South and Central America in November 2006. But when Narnia embarked on yet another extended break prior to recording their next album, their wandering eyes for side projects would finally come back to haunt them, when founding vocalist Liljegren decided it was time to leave the group in 2008. The remaining bandmembers chose to carry on, connecting with singer Germán Pascual (also of Mind's Eye) for the recording of 2009's Course of a Generation album. Their sixth overall and first without a lion on the cover, Course represented a new era for the group, although its Christian-based fantasy themes remained intact. Pascual's stint with the band was short-lived, however, as the group disbanded in 2010.
Four years later, the band re-formed to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Long Live the King. Liljegren also returned as frontman and the band started work on their seventh album. Narnia was released in 2016, featuring typically inspirational head-banging singles like "Reaching for the Top" and "I Still Believe." ~ Eduardo Rivadavia