Reviewed: May, 2021
Released: 2021, Melodic Passion
Reviewer: Jack Merry
With 35 years as a hard rock/metal singer and nearly 40 albums worth of experience, Christian Liljegren has established himself as one of the most productive metal musicians on the metal scene. His debut solo project, released under his own name and titled Melodic Passion, is available now and is a love letter to melodic and slightly theatrical heavy metal.
Opening with a surprisingly ‘by-the-numbers’ melodic rock title track, the album is full of cliches and there isn’t much here that would surprise anyone. The vast majority of the chord changes are entirely predictable, and what it lacks in originality, it makes up for in sheer conviction and delivery. Liljegren is clearly well suited to music like this, and he has more than enough experience in the genre that his passion and gusto are hard to ignore.
The second track ‘Salute for the King’ is very reminiscent of Rainbow’s ‘Starstruck’ from their phenomenal Rising album in nearly every way; from the bouncing hard rock riff to the vocal melody and tone being so close to Dio. It’s so off-putting and honestly just makes me want to listen to ‘Starstruck’ instead. The next track ‘The Rock’ fairs a little better, with a more original and powerful guitar riff and soaring vocals, and ‘This is my Love Song’ is an almost sickeningly sweet ballad that will tear at your heartstrings, especially after we’ve all been dealing with a global pandemic, separated from our loved ones for over a year.
‘The Victory’ opens with a triumphant charging riff followed by a glass-shattering battle cry from Liljegren, while the drums give off a hint of Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrain, and ‘I Breathe’ seems to borrow a small amount from Dream Theater’s songbook with lush prog-rock style instrumental passages and heavy guitar riffs that appear during the latter half of this lengthy track. There’s so much here that seems heavily influenced by other bands and more often than not, it just makes me want to go and listen to them instead.
‘History’ wouldn’t be out of place on a Sabaton album, and ‘My King’ is a fantastic way to close the album. When the album works, it really works well; but a few missteps stop it from being a great album. It is a solid enough record, it just needed a few more original ideas and a few risks here and there. Melodic Passion is a very safe yet enjoyable enough album that will please many fans who have followed Liljegren over the years, but I’m sad to say it didn’t do a lot for me outside of being just ‘fine.’