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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Lana Lane

Lady Macbeth

Review by Gary Hill

Lana Lane has now been in the business for ten years, and in commemoration of that anniversary she has delivered her newest release - a rock opera based on the Shakespeare play "Macbeth." As always the disc is a joint effort between herself and husband Erik Norlander and brings with it the usual cast of characters in supporting roles. What is different this time, is that as good as the rest of the catalog is, this one is better. Yes, this is the best album Lane has ever done in the opinion of this reviewer, and a definite candidate for album of the year. They seem to have gotten the mix perfect this time, and Lane's voice sounds even stronger and more beautiful than it usually does. If you are a fan of Lane or of harder edged prog in general, this one is a must have. It just doesn't get much better than this.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Dream That Never Ends
Neo classical tones start this. Then the first verse is delivered in a piano/voice ballad style. A bass beat enters to drive it, then a pounding hard rock arrangement takes it. Then this shifts to a metallic crunch. This is a killer metallic prog number. Some killer crunch guitar lines are delivered as this one rages forward, and I don't think Lane has ever sounded better than she does here. This is a stellar first cut, one of the best ever from Lane. It has plenty of prog, lots of drama and enough metallic fury to please just about every one. It resolves out to a highly melodic prog section for a short time, then thunders back in fast and furious. This drops to piano and voice for a short reprise to end.
Someone To Believe
Keys start this and guitar joins shortly. The two work patterns around one another 'til acoustic guitar enters, then the cut kicks up as another hard edged prog rocker. This one is not as potent as the last cut, but that has more to do with the power of that track than it does with any weakness in this one.
Our Time Now
Starting in a very Beatlesesque fashion, this shifts into a pretty ballad that at times feels a bit like Pink Floyd. It gets rather anthemic, but the mellower approach is a well-needed breather after two smokers. This is quite powerful and pretty. It has a killer arrangement and once again finds Lane at her prime.
Summon the Devil
This one shows off the Rainbow influences that seem to show up a lot on Lane's work. Another stomper, this feels like a more prog orient Rainbow song, if Lane was singing for the band. This is more modern in texture, though and oh so meaty. The guitar solo is a pure smoker as is the keyboard presence. The chorus on this one is incredibly catchy.
No Tomorrow
Lane and Norlander once again know just when to give the listener a break. This beautiful ballad comes along at just the right time. It's another awesome track. After the first balladic section a cool transitionary segment takes it. Then they explode out in more hard-edged power for the chorus. They drop it back to the mellow themes to continue. Later they pump it back up for another chorus, then move out into a melodic rather jazzy prog journey that feels a little like both old Genesis and Pink Floyd at times, then they move it through another transition, then to another chorus.
Shine On Golden Sun
This one starts in mellower monde, but it is highly dynamic. This one encompasses as many different modes and themes within as other bands include in a full epic. The track covers hard edged and mellower modes, changing frequently yet still managing to be coherent.
The Vision
This one comes in with a balladic keyboard texture and becomes a beautiful mellower prog adventure that again calls to mind mid era Genesis and Pink Floyd a bit - with even a little Alan Parsons in the mix. This one is exceptionally pretty and features only non-lyrical backing vocals. The guitar solo here actually feels a bit like David Gilmour at times.
Keeper of the Flame
After the mellower break they launch into another hard-edged frantic rocker. This one again allows Lane to really show off. This feels just a bit like Kansas at times and includes an ELP like keyboard solo.
We Had The World
This is another mini epic encompassing a lot of varied textures and structures within. It's a beautiful and very powerful prog excursion.
Dunsinane Walls
Starting with piano and flute, this one carries forward in a beautiful balladic number with strong old world leanings. It is evocative and potent.
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