Interview with Christian Liljegren

Christian Liljegren Logo

Interview with Christian Liljegren
The Passion Within
By Chris Galea

While I consider myself to have a very eclectic taste in music, I’ve always had a soft spot for melodic White Metal bands, particularly Stryper. So, when bands such as Narnia and Golden Resurrection came along, I lapped them all up with the eagerness of an overexcited puppy. Swedish singer Christian Liljegren has been at the helm of many of these bands but it was only a few months ago that he released his first solo album, the excellent “Melodic Passion”.

Curious to find out more about this album and about what makes Christian tick, I fired a few questions in his direction. Here’s what came back…

CG: Who were the singers that inspired you to sing?

Christian: My biggest vocal influences are Brian Connolly (The Sweet), Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow, Dio, Black Sabbath), David Byron (Uriah Heep) and Joey Tempest (Europe).

CG: “Melodic Passion” is your first solo album. In what ways was the approach to writing and recording this album different from others you’ve done before?

Christian: This is the first solo album where I am involved in all aspects of the songs both music and lyrics and as one of the producers.

CG: The promotional video for ‘Salute For The King’ seems to be autobiographical…it contains footage taken from throughout your career. How did this idea come about?

Christian: The idea for this album is really go back to my roots where it all started both as a listener and as performer so the video was perfect to include the different phases of my music career.

‘Salute For The King’ (Official Video)

CG: The line-up for your solo album is a very strong one so it’s no surprise that “Melodic Passion” sounds quite tight. How easy was it to get Stephen, Per, Habo and Olov on board?

Christian: I have been close to these guys for many years so I know what I got. Stephen and I have only known each other for a couple of years but it seems like a lifetime as we clicked so perfect in music and I am very proud of the songs and how my dear friends delivered on the album.

CG: There’s an obvious thematic thread linking “Melodic Passion” to albums you’ve recorded with bands such as Narnia and Golden Resurrection. How important is Christianity in the music you make? Would you consider exploring entirely different or darker themes in future?

Christian: In my perspective, my faith has always been a natural thing for me in my lyrics as I breathe the air and I share different lyrics on both lighter and heavier subjects. For example, the song ‘History’ is a very serious and heavy matter on how we deal and have learned from our history.

CG: Do you view the Black Metal genre as your antagonist?

Christian: I don´t see it that way. Every person has a personal choice, what they take in or not, in their lives.

CG: What do you remember of the time you supported Stryper on tour?

Christian: It was a fantastic tour, to really get to know these people personally, and at the same time hear these wonderful songs. I am a huge fan, since 1985, and they are also the reason I wanted to form a band with a Christian message in the lyrics.

The tour was the 2nd time I supported Stryper. I did it with Audiovision in 2010 as well.

CG: How challenging was it to sing The Waymaker’s version of ‘Soldiers Under Command’?

Christian: It was a musical vision I have had for a long time, as this song started it all for me, so it was very emotional to do it but I am very happy with the result and I am happy how our vocals worked out and Jani Stefanovic did a marvelous production.

CG: What is the situation with Narnia? Are you hoping to tour or record a successor to “From Darkness To Light” (2019 album)?

Christian: Everything is fine with Narnia and we are working on the next studio album. We have two shows booked in November in Netherlands and Belgium and we hope it will happen. All depends on the pandemic situation with Covid-19.

The album is planned to be out springtime 2022.

CG: How optimistic are you about the live scene emerging from the Coronavirus pandemic?

Christian: I hope and pray all will be better and I am optimistic the live scene will open in autumn 2021.

CG: I’ve read interviews with you where you mention Children of Bodom and Uriah Heep. Two musicians who have passed away in recent months are Alexi Laiho and Ken Hensley…what memories do you have of them and their music?

Christian: I have done concerts with both bands and met Ken Hensley several times. Uriah Heep have a special place in my heart. One of my favourite bands ever. Regarding Alexi it is sad he passed away too early. I had only met him once.

CG: How do you keep your voice in shape?

Christian: I am working out my voice with a voice pipe, an invention from Sweden, that strengthens my vocals chords and I sing nearly 3-4 times a week to keep my voice in good condition. I also keep my body in good condition and run 15-30 kms per week.

CG: From all the albums you have recorded (“Melodic Passion” aside) which one is closest to your heart? Why?

Christian: I think “Melodic Passion” is the closest as it really shows the passion and the musical roots but I am deeply proud of Narnia´s album Long Live The King & From Darkness To Light, The Waymaker, Audiovision – Focus, Modest Attraction albums and Flagship as I am a man who loves to sing different and I am trying to separate the albums and I am blessed to have been doing 40+ releases until this day.

CG: Thank you for your time in answering these questions!!

Christian: Thank you so much for your support and I wish you a great year. Let the musical passion run your life!!! Long Live The King!

‘History’ (Official Video)

SELECTED ALBUM DISCOGRAPHY:
Christian Liljegren – “Melodic Passion” (2021)
The Waymaker – “The Waymaker” (2020)
Narnia – “From Darkness To Light” (2019)
Narnia – “Enter The Gate” (2006)
Narnia – “The Great Fall” (2003)
Narnia – “Desert Land “ (2000)
Narnia – “Long Live The King” (1998)
Narnia – “Awakening” (1997)
7days – “Into Forever” (2010)
Wisdom Call – “Wisdom Call” (2001)
Golden Resurrection – “One Voice For The Kingdom” (2013)
Golden Resurrection – “Man With A Mission” (2011)
Golden Resurrection – “Glory To My King” (2010)
Audiovision – “Focus” (2010)
Audiovision – “The Calling” (2005)
DivineFire – “Eye Of The Storm” (2011)
DivineFire – “Farewell” (2008)
DivineFire – “Into A New Dimension” (2006)
DivineFire – “Hero” (2005)
DivineFire – “Glory Thy Name” (2004)

LINKS:
Christian Liljegren:

The Waymaker:

Narnia:

Audiovision:

Original Review of Christian Liljegren – “Melodic Passion”

Christian_Liljegren Promo Pic (Credit Mats Vassfjord)
Photo by Mats Vassfjord

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Christian Liljegren – Melodic Passion

Melodic Passion Album Cover Art

Christian Liljegren – Melodic Passion
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/03/2021
Running Time: 49:27
Review by Chris Galea
9/10

Christian Liljegren must be the most prolific and hardworking person in Metal…I counted more than 30 albums – released in the last 25 years – that have him as lead vocalist. One is tempted to speculate that the quality of his material would consequentially be diluted. Sometimes, perhaps, but certainly not as far as this album is concerned.

“Melodic Passion” is being touted as a solo album but if you’ve heard Christian’s previous bands…such as Narnia or Golden Resurrection…then “Melodic Passion” is something along those very lines. The lyrics are blatantly religious (e.g. ‘I trust in the Lord to show me the way’…a line from ‘I Breathe’) and I’d concede that the album abounds in clichés. But none of that bothers me because the songwriting quality is superb and Christian Liljegren’s voice has never sounded better…powerful, melodic and unfaltering. Of course, it helps that I have a soft spot for neo-classical melodies, of which “Melodic Passion” has many.

‘History’ reminds me of “Trilogy” era Malmsteen; I sensed a strong influence from early Dio in ‘Salute For The King’ and ‘The Victory’. And a lot of the guitar solos feel directly inspired by Rainbow and Alcatrazz. Stryper is another obvious comparison, both lyrically and musically.

With Liljegren are the cream of the crop of Scandinavian Melodic Metal, including drummer Andreas ‘Habo’ Johansson and bassist Per Schelander, both with Royal Hunt at one point. Completing the line-up are two ex-bandmates of Liljegren: Stephen Carlson on guitars and Olov Andersson on keyboards.

The songs tend to be anthemic and loaded with hooks. All this makes them eminently suitable to be performed live. One example is ‘The Rock’, which, in addition to a catchy chorus has some impressive high-end screams and great guitar harmonies.

The title says it all…so if you check out one Melodic Metal album this year, let it be this one.

‘Salute For The King’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Melodic Passion
02. Salute For The King
03. The Rock
04. This Is My Love Song
05. The Victory
06. Dead Or Alive
07. I Breathe
08. History
09. Third Day
10. My King

LINE-UP:
Christian Liljegren – Vocals (Narnia, The Waymaker, Audiovision, Modest Attraction)
Stephen Carlson – Guitars (Brotthog, Tales, The Rise, Gil Edwards)
Per Schelander – Bass (Astrakhan, House of Shakira, Pain of Salvation, Royal Hunt)
Andreas ‘Habo’ Johansson – Drums (Narnia, Royal Hunt, Avatarium, The Doomsday Kingdom)
Olov Andersson – Keyboards (Audiovision, Grand Stand, Veni Domine)

LINKS:

Christian Liljegren Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.