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Lane, Lana: Lady Macbeth

Casual listeners could pop in a Lana Lane CD, push play and think they were listening to either a Lana Lane CD or a long-lost Heart album. Seasoned listeners, on the other hand, are able to detect subtle differences in Lane's distinct sound - think Ann Wilson meets Ayreon - from album to album. Take Lady Macbeth, for example, the eighth traditional studio album from the California-based mystical mistress of symphonic rock. A concept album based on Lane's interpretation of William Shakespeare's "Macbeth," the disc tells the tale from the perspective of the famously sinister Lady Macbeth, one of literature's darkest female figures.

Returning once again with a roster of intricately skilled musicians, including husband/producer Erik Norlander on keyboards; Don Schiff and Pain of Salvation's Kristoffer Gildenlöw on bass; guitarists Mark McCrite, Neil Citron and Peer Verschuren; and journeyman vocalist Kelly Keeling singing harmony. Much of Lady Macbeth is bathed n mid-tempo, aurally palatable songs ("Someone to Believe," "No Tomorrow") and perhaps too many ballads ("Shine On Golden Sun," "We Had the World," "Our Time Now"). But "Keeper of the Flame" and "Summon the Devil" will grab you by the horns as two of the heaviest and/or darkest songs Lane has ever recorded. All but one of the 10 tracks here is kept to shorter than six-and-a-half minutes, meaning that the only opportunity Lane and Norlander have to stretch Lady Macbeth to epic proportions is on the leadoff song, "The Dream That Never Ends." The eight-minute song emerges as a dramatic and stunning piece that sums up the ambition of Lady Macbeth - both the character and the album.

Despite hesitating to veer to far from the musical formula that has brought Lana Lane startling success as an independent artist during the past decade in a genre ignored by the American mainstream, producer Norlander still manages to make every Lana Lane record sound a bit different from the previous one. And although the diversity of 2003's jazz-inflected Winter Sessions and 2002's accessible Project Shangri-La will be tough to top, Lady Macbeth continues to reveal Lane's layers and lives up to the high standard fans have come to expect: Soaring and majestic music, stellar performances and classy artwork. This is what symphonic rock is all about.

Track Listing:
1) The Dream That Never Ends
2) Someone to Believe
3) Our Time Now
4) Summon the Devil
5) No Tomorrow
6) Shine On Golden Sun
7) The Vision
8) Keeper of the Flame
9) We Had the World
10) Dunsinane Walls
Bonus Video: Someone to Believe

Added: June 22nd 2005
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Think Tank Media
Hits: 7446
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Lane, Lana: Lady Macbeth
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-06-22 10:31:30
My Score:

"Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble, by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes!"

So states the lyrics to "Summon the Devil", the heaviest tune on Lana Lane's new album Lady Macbeth, a solid concept piece dealing with Shakespeare's Macbeth, and an album released just in time to help celebrate Lana's 10 year anniversary as a recording artist. This concept piece is basically a symphonic rock opera, featuring Lana's soaring vocals, with backing harmony help from Mark McCrite and Kelly Keeling. The trio form an impressive wall of vocal sound, and the list of musicians participating in the project is just as staggering-on guitars there is Peer Verschuren, Neil Citron, and McCrite, NS/Stick player Don Schiff, Kristoffer Gildenlow on bass,Ernst Van Ee on drums, and of course Erik Norlander on keyboards. Those familiar with Norlander's crisp production work on his own albums and those of Lana's and Rocket Scientists can expect similar results here. This is a marvelous sounding album, brimming with hard rock bombast, gentle atmospherics, and tender, lush orchestrations. Although the basic Lana Lane formula hasn't changed much over the years (you always get your fair share of rockers, ballads, and proggressive tunes), there's plenty of solid songs here, like the opening symphonic gem 'The Dream That Never Ends", the poignant , mostly instrumental 'The Vision", and the prog-rock dynamo "Keeper of the Flame". The three guitar players add a wide assortment of virtuoso solos and textures, and Norlander's keyboards as always remain the highlight of every album he appears on. Lana's vocal delivery is confident and assured, especially on the majestic and symphonic "We Had the World", one of the most heart-wrenching pieces on the CD.

If you are already a fan, you probably already have this. If you have yet to check out the majesty that is Lana Lane, this is as good a place to start as any. As with every release out of the Lane/Norlander camp, there's loads of photographs & commentary in the beautiful booklet. As far as bang for your buck, you can't go wrong with Lady Macbeth folks.

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