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Life Line Project: The Journey

It's hard to believe that only a year after the magnificent Distorted Memories, Life Line Project has already returned with a new double CD. The Journey is the latest offering from Erik de Beer and company, and it is very much an album of two halves - disc one consists of a single hour long concept piece divided into sixteen sections, whereas disc two is made up of nine standalone pieces. This is an epic symphonic progressive rock observation in every sense of the word, and fans of this style of music as well as any of Life Line Project's previous albums are bound to have a spectacular time with this modern gem. Though The Journey suffers from a few technical issues and overstays its welcome by a few minutes, this is still an album worth checking out if you're into retro-styled symphonic progressive rock.

Although Life Line Project draws extensively from seventies' progressive rock, they've always impressed me with their unique approach to this increasingly overdone style - this group never draws too extensively from any single source, and they've also managed to change up their sound from album to album. The epic "Journey to the Heart of Your Mind" strikes me as more theatrical than anything else I've ever heard from Life Line Project, and I especially love the extensive use of woodwind instruments (oboe in particular) throughout the suite. The main theme to this track is unforgettable, and even though the vocals are a bit mediocre at times, the compositional quality of this half is unquestionable. The second disc isn't conceptual, and instead focuses a bit more on instrumental passages - I'd say disc two is slightly less memorable, but it's still a very fun listen. Erik de Beer especially delivers quite a few spectacular keyboard parts throughout the duration of disc two. That man is simply a fantastic keyboard player, and I have no hesitation in calling him one of the best in progressive rock right now. At nearly two hours, The Journey can feel a bit too long for my tastes, but thankfully the majority of the album is pretty impressive. Still, a slightly shorter playing time may have lent itself to a more consistent listening experience.

Like all Life Line Project albums, the instrumentalists are excellent across the board - Erik de Beer's keyboard palette usually takes the cake, but the other instrumentalists are never overshadowed, and I also have to mention Jody van der Gizje's excellent guitar playing here. The Journey is an album played by excellent musicians, but unfortunately the production falls a bit short. While it's not a crippling flaw, the rather thin sound does detract from my listening experience occasionally. The drums especially sound pretty weak; I realize there are strict budget limits here, but the mediocre production does stifle my excitement a bit.

Still, in spite of its production issues and slightly too long playing time, The Journey is a pretty great symphonic prog album that I'd recommend to fans of the genre. Life Line Project are on quite a roll lately, and while I do prefer 2010's Distorted Memories to this one, this is still another solid outing from Erik de Beer and company. 3 stars are deserved in this case. If you like symphonic progressive rock that draws extensively from the seventies' without ever sounding too derivative, The Journey is an album worth your attention!

Track Listing:
CD 1 "Journey To The Heart Of Your Mind"
1. Blank Page (7:19)
2. The Journey Begins (4:57)
3. Join Us ! (3:49)
4. Doubt (1:29)
5. Fight The World (5:17)
6. Longing For My Childhood (4:46)
7. Interlude "Turn The Page" (0:55)
8. Bright Spots (5:17)
9. Envy (1:33)
10. Interlude "Dark Page" (1:00)
11. Miss Fortune (3:45)
12. Interlude "Forgotten Page" (1:30)
13. The King Of Make-Believe (5:16)
14. Free ! (3:07)
15. Credo (5:01)
16. The Last Page (5:07)
Total Time 60:17
CD 2 "The Narrow Path"
1. Turn The Key (5:35)
2. Miniature 8 "La Mélancolie" (2:32)
3. The Narrow Path (11:57)
4. Monkey Business (2:56)
5. Happiness Theme (3:56)
6. Collage '11 (3:08)
7. Miniature 6 "La Flegmatique" (2:24)
8. Does It Help ? (7:34)
9. The French Wrench (4:22)
Total Time 44:46

Added: December 10th 2011
Reviewer: Jeff B
Related Link: Life Line Project Myspace
Hits: 2226
Language: english

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