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King, Lance: ReProgram

The much traveled and always busy vocalist extraordinaire Lance King is back with a new album for his Nightmare Records label, this one rooted in many of the problems & issues we see everyday in our society and titled ReProgram. Though he's calling this album 'celestial metal', the closest comparison I can state is Queensryche's Rage For Order album as far as style and feel, King's formidable vocals soaring over plenty of classy & progressive metal arrangements. It's quickly apparent as you start to make your way though ReProgram that this is one hell of an accessible and catchy album, the vocal melodies of the title track and "Pointing Fingers" are instantly memorable, the guitar riffs tight and metallic, the rhythms driving and compact, and with the right splattering of keys, it makes for a very welcoming opening barrage.

With 11 tracks and each roughly 5+ minutes long, there's plenty of material here to dig into. "Stand Your Ground" continues on the trend of thought provoking, hook laden, proggy metal, again the images of vintage Queensryche looming large, and the pratfalls of the human race having way too much technology at their disposal is the theme for the futuristic rocker "Technology", a tune that also contains a tasty guitar solo. "Reaction Formation" is full of textures and haunting melodies, King hitting some great heights with his tremendous vocal range, while the grinding, boiling metal juggernaut "Limitless" contains some of the albums heaviest and grooviest riffs, easily a top highlight on ReProgram. Intricate drum fills and atmospheric riffs permeate the crunchy "Wide Open" (I hear a little Dream Theater influence on this one in spots), while the fast paced and complex "Chaotica" certainly brings the prog & speed metal elements to the forefront.

The back end of the album doesn't let up one bit either, with the ultra-melodic "Spell of Domestication" having a cinematic, symphonic flair, "Perfect World" being rich with soaring vocal harmonies and perhaps the catchiest cut on the album, and 10-minute closer "A Mind at War" the brooding prog-metal epic, chock full of majestic keys and mighty riffing, King putting on a clinic with a myriad of vocal styles as the band cooks on every level. Another shining moment on a very strong album.

Honestly, there's so much to like here on ReProgram, an album brimming with relevant lyrical content, hooks galore, top notch vocals, and challenging metal/prog musical arrangements. Do not miss this one folks!

Track Listing
01 ReProgram 3:27
02 Pointing Fingers 5:18
03 Stand Your Ground 4:14
04 Technology 6:45
05 Reaction Formation 5:29
06 Limitless 5:20
07 Wide Open 5:03
08 Chaotica 4:16
09 Spell of Domestication 5:27
10 Perfect World 4:36
11 A Mind at War 9:58

Added: April 13th 2019
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Artist Facebook Page
Hits: 1368
Language: english

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King, Lance: ReProgram
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2019-04-12 23:21:57
My Score:

Having turned much of his attentions towards the excellent Nightmare Records in recent times, it’s a real pleasure to welcome a new solo album from vocalist Lance King. ReProgram features guest appearances by Morten Gade Sorensen (Pyramaze/Anubis Gate), Fred Columbo (Spheric Universe Experience), Mattias IA Eklundh (Freak Kitchen) and Jakob Riis (L Wood Joy), while also coming replete with co-writes with the likes of Kim Olesen (Anubis Gate), Markus Sigfridsson (Darkwater/Harmony), Matt Hodsdon (Chaos Frame) and Rich Hinks (Annihilator/Aeon Zen). And when you consider that progressive metal lives and dies on its song construction and virtuoso performances, the impressive cast list goes a long way to tell you just how fantastic the results are.

Named ReProgram, the ethos behind this album is to reset, reappraise, throw off the shackles of conformity and expectation - be the best individual you can and strive to reach your true potential without the crushing limitations modern life has placed upon us. In Lance’s words, the ReProgram message is that “The single most powerful thing you can do is unlearn the limiting beliefs you have accepted as truths in your youth. This frees you from the chains that bind, the chains of the subconscious mind.” It’s a bold, clear and worthy message and one wrapped up in some stunningly memorable music.

“ReProgram” itself kicks the journey into life, bustling with judder-riffs and rock solid beats that immediately take you back to Rage For Order era Queensryche, while also sprinkling in some Threshold, modern Europe (yes, honestly) and Balance Of Power (although with Lance having previously fronted that band, it would be more of a surprise if we weren’t reminded of them). Everywhere you turn another stick in the mind blast tears at the senses, “Technology” more of a stabbing warning than a celebration and one that contains an utterly beautiful guitar solo for good measure, whereas “Limitless” is a clear clarion call that soars for the sky and well beyond. However, ReProgram doesn’t pretend that everything is easy if you just believe, the closing nine-minute mini-epic “A Mind At War” compassionately celebrating a life cut too short, while seeking to understand the journey that brought that to be and how misunderstood it can become. That this topic is explored with a mix of restrained intricate passages and some of the bitingest riffs you could hope to find, makes it a thing to marvel at.

With the likes of “Stand Your Ground” a forceful stance of defiance and “Chaotica” a progressive metal monster (although Lance describes this album’s style as Celestial Metal), the whole gamut of attacks and emotions really are expertly covered. As you’d expect, Lance’s vocals are jaw dropping throughout and while the overall approach does reach back to a sound that was first championed in the 80s, what ReProgram does is firstly to update that classic approach and secondly, remind us all of just how damn exciting it can be.

ReProgram is ambitious, it’s exciting and it’s inspiring but most of all ReProgram is an utterly stunning slice of progressive metal.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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