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Erik Norlander - Threshold CD (album) cover


Erik Norlander



2.72 | 22 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars The arrival of the Neurosaur

Threshold was Erik Norlander's first solo release. At this time Norlander was already a major force in the Symphonic Prog band Rocket Scientists and in the Symphonic Rock/Metal band of his wife Lana Lane, but it was before his work as a session musician for several of Arjen Lucassen's projects (Ayreon, Star One, and Ambeon) and before he became a full-time member of the John Payne-version of Asia.

Both Metal fans and fans of Symphonic Prog ought to be warned: there is nothing either heavy and hard-edged or particularly symphonic to be found here. This music is not so easy to categorize, but the first thing to note is the sparse line-up. It is just Norlander himself on keyboards, Don Schiff on bass, and Greg Ellis on drums, so no guitars or vocals. Is it Jazz- Rock/Fusion? Is it Progressive Electronic? Or maybe just Prog Related keyboard-driven instrumental Rock? I guess one could say that it lies on the threshold between these styles.

Out of Norlander's subsequent solo albums, Threshold is most similar to Seas Of Orion and The Galactic Collective - both also wholly instrumental affairs. In terms of quality, the present album falls between these two. The Galactic Collective is an album of re-recordings from throughout Norlander's career and includes new and mostly better versions of tunes from both the present album and from his other solo albums (as well as new versions of a couple of instrumentals that originally appeared on Rocket Scientists and Lana Lane albums).

The most notable piece here is Neurosaur that has become something of Norlander's signature tune. This one is indeed essential, but it is available on several other releases including the above mentioned The Galactic Collective as well as the excellent live album Stars Rain Down and other places (he even re-recorded it with Asia featuring John Payne as a B-side to their Military Man CD-single in 2009).

Though the present album is a pleasant listen, I would recommend The Galactic Collective as a better starting point if you are interested in the instrumental side of Erik Norlander.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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