Friday, April 9, 2010

ULF- ENTERTAINERS & SOLDIERS


Ulf Christiansson has been around Christian music longer than most. Being the front man for hard rock stalwarts Jerusalem the name of Ulf has been synonymous with some great driving rock n roll. The songs he’s written are some of the most classic in Jesus rock, 'Man of the World,' 'Dancing on the Head of Serpent,' 'Sodom,' 'Time'; the lineage is long.

Well Entertainers & Soldiers apparently was going to be a new Jerusalem album, but instead it became a solo release. Using just his first name ULF has released a solid rock album. One will immediately hear the influence of U2 on many of the tracks. Not always as obvious as on prior releases, but the specter of Bono and company still looms large.

Yet my favorite song doesn’t strike me as being U2 influenced, Kings & Spears has a great soothing chorus melody that reminds me of some of Phil Keaggys songs. It rocks but doesn’t shake the roof. “It’s Not Easy” opens the album in fine fashion, yet even tho the guitar is there it seems to go off into some pop explorations. ‘Rip my Heart Out,’ ‘Godspeed to You’ and ‘Die to Myself’ fall into a mix of rock with overly melodic choruses. There is a great mix of rock and well crafted pop sensibilities as well.

As strange as it is to say, there are many times that Ulf sounds like Phil Keaggy as far as vocal delivery. Smooth and melodious, is not always something that is associated with Ulf’s vocal style. Usually he brings a much harsher delivery but here his vocal really blends well with the material.

The production is clean, not over produced but it sounds right. Lyrically topics of self sacrifice, dying to self, Wisdom, and being the same on the inside as out are given the Ulf treatment. Always biblical, but done in a way that is tasteful and not clich├ęd.

Fans of Jerusalem should dig this release. It was originally released in 2003, but Retroactive took it on which will allow this album to see fresh light. Ulf has crafted a disc that is exceptional and memorable. He allows the songs to breathe and grow instead of just shoving them into some pre-made sleeve. Album oriented Rock it’s called, AOR, which moves the heart and soul with a message of perseverance and hope.

7 axes
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