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 Symphonity - "King of Persia"

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Dynamis

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PostSubject: Symphonity - "King of Persia"   Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:09 pm

Symphonity is a new European power meets progressive metal that I recently discovered.  No, they are not a Christian band but rather might fall under the category of 'Christian friendly'.

The group includes a pair of vocalists that are well known within the Christian metal scene, Herbie Langhans and Olaf Hayer.  Langhans, of course, was lead vocalist of the German power metal band Seventh Avenue, while Hayer fronted the Christian metal tribute project Treasure Seeker.

So I am guessing the best way to describe Symphonity might be a mainstream band but with a pair of believing vocalists?  I read through the lyrics and they seem to be fine.  Albums title tracks seems to be about ancient history and "In The Name of God" about false teachers/false prophets.  I attached a link of a lyric video to one of the albums catchier tracks, "The Choice".

Lone song to potentially come into question is "Unwelcome", which is a tribute to the poem "The Grand Inquisitor" by F.M. Dostoyevsky.  Per Wiki, this is what "The Grand Inquisitor" is about:

"In the tale, Christ comes back to Earth in Seville at the time of the Inquisition. He performs a number of miracles (echoing miracles from the Gospels). The people recognize him and adore him, but he is arrested by Inquisition leaders and sentenced to be burnt to death the next day. The Grand Inquisitor visits him in his cell to tell him that the Church no longer needs him. The main portion of the text is devoted to the Inquisitor explaining to Jesus why his return would interfere with the mission of the Church."

I attempt to be discerning as possible, but anything to be concerned about here?  I am thinking about putting together a review because fans of the vocalists respective bands, obviously, might find Symphonity of interest.  What are your thoughts?
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alldatndensum
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PostSubject: Re: Symphonity - "King of Persia"   Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:46 am

Quote :
"In the tale, Christ comes back to Earth in Seville at the time of the Inquisition. He performs a number of miracles (echoing miracles from the Gospels). The people recognize him and adore him, but he is arrested by Inquisition leaders and sentenced to be burnt to death the next day. The Grand Inquisitor visits him in his cell to tell him that the Church no longer needs him. The main portion of the text is devoted to the Inquisitor explaining to Jesus why his return would interfere with the mission of the Church."

While it could be an interesting story, I would pray about it before I really promoted this.  Are they telling the story to tell the church that we need Jesus more than ever?  Are they writing it to just slam the church because it is socially cool to do so nowadays?  While those are extremes and the reality is probably in the middle, I would want to know that I was promoting something I could stand behind with my website if it were me.

I'd contact the band with a handful of questions and see how they respond.  If you feel good about it, then do the review.  If not, I'd respectfully pass.

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Dynamis

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PostSubject: Re: Symphonity - "King of Persia"   Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:53 am

Quote :
While it could be an interesting story, I would pray about it before I really promoted this.  Are they telling the story to tell the church that we need Jesus more than ever?  Are they writing it to just slam the church because it is socially cool to do so nowadays?  While those are extremes and the reality is probably in the middle, I would want to know that I was promoting something I could stand behind with my website if it were me.

I'd contact the band with a handful of questions and see how they respond.  If you feel good about it, then do the review.  If not, I'd respectfully pass.


Thanks for the feedback- this is good advise and plan to contact the band for further clarification.  I have faced similar circumstances in the past when I contact bands about lyrics to albums, specific songs, etc and usually they do not reply (and I do not publish the review as a result).


But I agree, I need more answers before promoting this.  Similar to the past two Sinbreed albums, which lyrically several people have questioned but have not been successful at getting answers from the band.
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BearDad



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PostSubject: Re: Symphonity - "King of Persia"   Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:12 am

OK, are you sitting down? Smile  Sorry this is so long, but I have a lot to say about this CD. I hope you find it helpful, and maybe even some of the answers you referred to above.

I have the CD and love it. In fact, I'm listening to it now; thanks! Smile The bass player is Ronnie König of the Christian power metal band Signum Regis, who took over for their original bass player when he died of cancer. (The song "A Farewell That Wasn't Meant To Be" is about him, and essentially dedicated to him.) Ronnie's brother Tommy, who is also a Christian, wrote the lyrics for four of the songs.

Musically it is an excellent album; great symphonic power metal. I especially enjoy the first song, "King of Persia", with the lead vocal being a trio between both leads and a guest mezzo-soprano vocalist for harmony. The album doesn't have the massive wall of sound caused by non-stop, double-bass like some power metal, and sometimes I think it's more melodic power metal than symphonic, but that's splitting hairs (what I like to call "over genre-sizing"). And I don't know if it's his accent or his tone, but Olaf doesn't click for me as well as Herbie does, and as such I find my favorite songs being the ones Herbie sings. That's not to say Olaf's singing is bad; a lot of people like him from what I hear (I've never heard of Treasure Seeker; I'll have to look them up). I just like Herbie better. Smile Overall, though, the entire CD is excellent musically.

As for reviewing it on your site, I would recommend against it. First of all, your site is about reviewing Christian metal, and even if you stretch that to say metal made by Christians, this doesn't really qualify. Granted, you've veered from that a time or two, such as your review of Sinbreed's When Worlds Collide and Amaseffer's Slaves for Life, but in the latter case at least it can be argued that their subject material, while part of the Hebrew faith, is also part of the Christian faith. With Symphonity your only real tie to Christianity is more like what it was for the Sinbreed album, which is some of the people involved being Christian or formerly involved with Christian bands. Lyrically, there is only one song that might be considered a Christian song, thanks to Tommy having written it: "Children of the Light" (here are the lyrics). The rest are relatively safe to listen to, but there are a couple that I would not recommend for new believers as they could cause doubt, and IMO could even keep someone from coming to Christ. Case in point, "The Choice". The full lyrics are here, but here's the chorus:

You've got the choice
your inner voice
just do whatever you need to
Don't have no fear
future is clear
you have that strength
and the will to go on

The lyrics are right; we can survive by sheer will, and many people do. We can even find success in life that way. But IMO the song is unsafe because ultimately we need Jesus, sometimes just to survive, but always to get to Heaven and to find true peace and joy. I should also point out that Herbie wrote the lyrics for that song, and he is currently the lead singer for Sinbreed, a band that has emphatically denied being a Christian band, and he wrote all the lyrics for that band's album Shadows, some of which were very anti-Christian; not satanic, just "you don't need Jesus". In fact, that album disturbed me so much I got rid of it (I think I traded it to Jim on this forum). Don't take my word for it though; read the lyrics for "Reborn" and decide for yourself: "Reborn" lyrics. Herbie also wrote the lyrics for "Flying" on the Symphonity album we are discussing, lyrics that IMO are very much like those of "Reborn" from Shadows. ("Flying" lyrics)

One other note about Herbie. I don't have documented proof, but I was told by someone in the Facebook group Christian Metalheads International that he has publicly stated he is tired of people always asking him about his faith. That doesn't say he has chosen to turn his back on God (as the lyrics to "Reborn" and "Flying" seem to suggest), but assuming it is true it is disturbing. One should never be ashamed of the Gospel (Matthew 10:33) or tired of sharing it.

The other song that I think tends to point away from Christ is, ironically, "In the Name of God". This one was written by Olaf (the other member that was once in a Christian band). Here are the full lyrics, but note the chorus:

All in the name of god
And all under the sign of the cross
For their might they will never stop
Until the last unbeliever is gone

Some would argue the song is about the crusades, considering it starts with the line "Legions of knights riding for God". However, note the second stanza:

Look at the priest in his holy robe
Preaching on us from above
But behind the walls, when everyone´s gone
He's beating and raping a boy

As long as there's nobody telling the truth
He will go on with this mess
And after the “Amen” he's smiling to him
Telling him: “You're forgiven”

While not exactly anti-Christian, definitely anti-Catholic church. And there is no distinction made to suggest that other denominations, or even other Catholics, are not like the priest mentioned in the song. IMO it is a broad stroke interpretation of Christianity in general. 

Another thing to consider before deciding to review the album: in the liner notes someone (I think it was Libor Křivák, the guitar player, but it's hard to tell because there is a space between his "thank you" notes and this statement) stated "since I personally don't believe in Heaven." Just something to consider.

My final thought: I bought this album because Ronnie mentioned it in a Facebook post. However, before doing so I discussed it with him, as I had never heard of the band. He told me about Tommy writing some of the lyrics, but he warned that I might be offended by some of the lyrics to some of the songs Tommy didn't write. I'm not offended by them, but I now understand his concern; after all, based on some of his other posts he is Catholic. And from what I know of him via Signum Regis and other Facebook posts he is a true Believer. So even though he's in the band, if he was concerned enough about the lyrics to warn another Believer then maybe it's not something that should be reviewed on a "Christian metal" site.

My final, final thought Smile : If you review this one, where do you draw the line? I know you reviewed Sinbreed's first CD for similar reasons (as I indicated above), but were I in your place I would be wary of delving too far into the "not really Christian but ... " reviews. In fact, and this is just my opinion so don't be offended, but based on Sinbreed's last two albums I would even remove my review of their first one. It disturbs me when I see people refer to them as a Christian band. But that's another topic. Smile 

I hope this helps or at least creates some friendly, helpful discussion. Ultimately the choice is yours, and as Alldat states, definitely pray about it.
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Dynamis

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PostSubject: Re: Symphonity - "King of Persia"   Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:27 pm

BearDad,

Thank you for your well thought out and detailed post.  First, Angelic Warlord does not cover only Christian bands but also bands of Christians/Christians in a band but also mainstream bands with Christian members.  So that is why any band to include Hayer, Langhans and the König brothers would attract my interest.

That being said, I am going to follow your advice and not review "Kings of Persia".  There is too much ambiguity going on to the album, particularly from a lyric standpoint.  I do not want to promote any work that might potentially cause doubt (in new believers) or keep someone coming to the faith.  Obviously, that would go against the grain in terms of what I am attempting to do with the site.

Besides, I also would be setting a potential double standard by reviewing an album featuring a song with an anti-Catholic message, at least when factoring how I have several reviews at the site of Catholic bands- and am planning another of the group Hypnotic and its release "Existentia".  Hope I am not opening another can of worms here by mentioning Hypnotic.  LOL.  Perhaps I could go into more detail in another post.

When it comes to mainstream bands with Christian members I attempt to be discerning as possible.  For example, the optimal scenario is when the believing member writes all the lyrics, such as with Rob Rock fronted Impellitteri, the two Threshold albums with prose from Richard West, Warlord, the Meliah Rage thrash album from later 2009, etc.  I do make occasional exceptions and include mainstream releases in which the Christian members might not have had a say in terms of the lyrics.  An example might be the Fierce Heart album in which Rex Carroll participating prior to forming Whitecross or Adriangale fronted Jamie Rowe.  I often include a disclaimer stating something along the lines the album is not for every Angelic Warlord reader but do encourage the sites readers to be discerning in that regard.  But in the case of "King Of Persia" there are too many ambiguities at hand.

Over the years, however, I have received several CD submissions that I have had to pass on.  Many of these lyrically are way out on left field with New Age-ish lyrical themes or Eastern spiritual philosophy.  Last year I received a CD from a power metal band from Europe in which half the albums songs it was obvious the lyrics were talking about a band members faith; the other half, however, were laced with profanity.  I attempted to contact the band but received no response and subsequently passed. 

But I do agree that "King of Persia" is a very good album musically that will challenge for inclusion in my top ten albums of the year.  BTW, I was up this morning at 4:00 AM to begin work on an end of the year Angelic Warlord best of 2016 article.

Also, I did pray as Alldat stated and several minutes later your post appeared to point me in the correct direction.  Thanks again.
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PostSubject: Re: Symphonity - "King of Persia"   Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:45 pm

^^ I'm not so sure about your last statement there; you make me sound like an answer to prayer! Most folks I know consider my exiting the room an answer to prayer! LOL!

Thanks for setting me straight about your site, though. I confess I haven't "surfed" through it enough to have known about the other "sort of Christian" and "Christian sort of" releases; I guess I typically just go there looking for information on specific bands or CDs.

Your mention of a "can of worms" is ironic as I kind of feel this entire thread has the potential of being one! Very Happy I generally steer clear of any type of "is this band Christian" and "can a band be called Christian" discussion. It's kind-of like discussion politics and religion in general; it's just dangerous. That being said, having discussed this CD directly with Ronnie, and due to the similarities lyrically between this CD and the Sinbreed CD, at least with Herbie's writing, I felt it was important to share. It really saddens me about Herbie; I don't know where his walk is now -- only he and the Lord know that -- but he made such a huge impact with Seventh Avenue that so many people just naturally assume anything he is a part of is by definition Christian. And yet, scratching under the surface reveals doubt.
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PostSubject: Re: Symphonity - "King of Persia"   Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:59 pm

Perhaps they just need a better education on the Inquisitions...
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PostSubject: Re: Symphonity - "King of Persia"   Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:36 am


_________________




I might have decided, or maybe not, that I should or shouldn't, depending on the issue or non-issue, to possibly share or not share, any thoughts, opinions, or facts (that might not be deemed factual by some), due to possible fear of any misinterpretation or retribution.
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Candlemass

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PostSubject: Re: Symphonity - "King of Persia"   Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:35 am

Yea, something like that! Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Symphonity - "King of Persia"   Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:15 am

I must say that when I came into this thread I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition.
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Through The Dark Radio

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PostSubject: Re: Symphonity - "King of Persia"   Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:16 pm

messiaen77 wrote:
I must say that when I came into this thread I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition.
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