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Erik Norlander - Stars Rain Down CD (album) cover

STARS RAIN DOWN

Erik Norlander

 

Neo-Prog

3.86 | 16 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Heavy Metal Symphony

This live album is quite possibly the best introduction to the music of Erik Norlander as it brings together on a single disc some of the best and most well-known pieces from his first three solo albums as well as some from his work with Rocket Scientists. This gives a nice mix between, on the one hand, keyboard-driven Symphonic Prog in the tradition of Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman and, on the other hand, keyboard-driven Classic Heavy Metal in the tradition of Deep Purple and Rainbow. But also some touches of Neo-Prog and downright Prog Metal.

These live performances were recorded on tour in support of the album Music Machine. That conceptual double album is something of a progressive Metal affair with Neo-Classical and Power Metal aspects. Personally, I found that album's concept and storyline a little on the cheesy side and the album was also a bit too long for its own good. But the six songs from it that are performed here are all very good. In my opinion, they actually work better here outside the context of the somewhat lame storyline of the studio album. Two tracks were taken from Norlander's second solo effort Into The Sunset. Both also good in more Classic Rock/trad. Heavy Metal style.

Originally from his first solo album, the instrumental Neurosaur can probably be said to be something of Norlander's signature tune and this version of it is just great. Three Rocket Scientists songs are also performed in Mariner (from the Brutal Architecture album) and Oblivion Days and Space 1999 (from Oblivion Days). Personally, I prefer the present versions over the originals as I never much liked the vocalist of Rocket Scientists. Kelly Keeling and Norlander's wife Lana Lane who sings on this album are both much better.

Mariner and Sky Full Of Stars slow things down considerably with Pink Floyd-like guitar and keyboard scapes. This brings a very good balance to the album as a whole.

A very good place to start with Norlander

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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