- - - - - -

Lana Lane - Lady MacBeth

Lana Lane -  CD Review
Lady MacBeth

CD Info
Label: Think Tank Media
10 Tracks
Language: English

It’s all about moments, and if you were there
You’d see all the lust and the fire in her stare
The context is fluid, the subject is sin
The moment of madness begins
Lady MacBeth……

To mark her tenth prodigious year of releases, Lana Lane offers a concept-based album taking Shakespeare’s Lady MacBeth as her inspiration and protagonist. For those who consider themselves subjects of the Queen of Symphonic Rock and have found her previous work to their liking, there should be no disappointment this time around. The current album is very much in line with previous work: ultra-melodic rock with a strong symphonic aspect, a frequent AOR feel, a bit of progressive flavor, and of course the strong and beautiful voice of Lana herself. Recorded in both Europe and America (with her two separate bands) by husband Erik Norlander -- who also lends his keyboard skills as usual -- the album has Lana’s distinctly Euro-American feel to it, as well as her usual mixture of hard-hitting rock tunes and soft, subdued ballads.

The album starts off “like some kind of evil machine” (as the lyrics say) with The Dream That Never Ends, possibly the heaviest song I’ve heard from Lana so far, and one of the most straightforwardly pleasing. The lyrics are good enough (see above) to make an impression on me, something that doesn’t happen often. But unlike the dream of the title, the song does come to an end, even after hanging on for almost eight minutes. Luckily, it is succeeded by an equally great song, Someone To Believe, whose beginning sounds so Ayreon-like that it could have come straight from The Dream Sequencer (which Lana is no stranger to, having sang on it). The song’s emotion runs high, with deeply passionate vocals and a captivating guitar solo. These first two songs really leave you (well, me at any rate) wanting to hear more like them.

Unfortunately, the mood and flow so far established completely break up on the third song, like a wave breaking on a rocky shore. Our Time Now is a slow, plodding, painful attempt at a ballad that will rudely jolt you out of the rocking frame of mind you were just getting into. Now don’t get me wrong, I like ballads just fine, but personally I don’t think they are Lana’s forte. She uses them much too often; there are at least four on this album, possibly more depending on your definition of “ballad.” And while they are sometimes good, more often than not they are rather dull. I’ll take her faster and heavier songs any time, thank you very much. And thus, I could also easily pass on Shine On Gold Sun, We Had the World, and Dunsinane Walls (even though that last one is not so bad given the proper mood).

Back in the keeper column we have Keeper of the Flame, another glorious example of dynamic guitaring, scorching keyboards, and powerful emotions. Then there is a wonderful number called No Tomorrow, which recalls 70’s-era Heart (Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen) -- a pleasantly nostalgic influence I’ve noticed on previous albums as well. Returning to an Ayreon style again is The Vision, an atmospheric instrumental of enormous beauty; you would almost think Arjen Lucassen was a guest on this album, but no, he’s not. The one song not mentioned yet is Summon the Devil, one of the heavier types, but sadly the worst on the album, with a crude, unmelodic sound that does nothing for my ears.

All in all this album is, for me, a mixed bag. Several of these songs are some of her best to date (as far as I’ve heard), but Lana’s softer side just doesn’t work for me very often. If you differ in that respect, then this album will be a better prospect for you than it is for me.