Erik Norlander

Into The Sunset

Erik Norlander - Into The Sunset ©2000 Avalon
1. Sunset Prelude
2. Into The Sunset
3. Rome Is Burning
4. Fanfare For The Dragon Isle
5. Fly
6. Dreamcurrents
7. Lines In The Sand
8. On The Wings Of Ghosts
9. Hymn
10. Into The Sunset Reprise
11. Sunset Postlude
12. Alchemy And Astronomy

Rocket Scientists' lead man, Erik Norlander's second solo album is a winner on every level. Not content to be indispensable in the production of his wife, Lana Lane's recent Secrets Of Astrology, Norlander surrounds himself with a stellar assortment of musicians and vocalists to put out a progressive symphonic rock / metal album that will please audiences across several genres.

The prolific relationship between Erik Norlander and Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon continues strong in this release. Norlander recently played on Ayreon's two recent concept albums (Universal Migrator part I: The Dream Sequencer, and Universal Migrator part II: Flight of the Migrator), and Arjen returned the favor by playing guitars on this album. The guitars add a heavy, sharp edge to Norlander's music. Arjen's play is technical and aggressive. The drumming is great, driving the music forward. The guitars and rhythm add a ferocity that was missing from Norlander's first solo outing. Norlander's skill on the keyboards stands out on this album. There are haunting atmospheric touches, swirling solo runs and some terrific melodic background pieces. All of this, coupled with some great singing talent, makes for a musically enjoyable album.

The vocals are provided by Lana Lane, Glenn Hughes from Deep Purple, Edward Reekers from Kayak and Robert Soeterboek from Ayreon. The vocal variance gives the songs a lot of diversity while the instruments and composition provide a lot of cohesiveness. When the vocals call for aggressiveness or subtlety, the singers all rise to the challenge. The lyrics are intelligent and thoughtful. Together the vocals and lyrics weave a common thread considering the sunset of life, introspective and soulful, urgent and aching. The end result is a large, dramatic, symphonic sound that makes for an enjoyable listen.

Fans of Ayreon, Rush, Lana Lane, early Kansas, and Pink Floyd (among others) will really enjoy this ride.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 08/2000

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