Artist: Erik Norlander
Title: Music Machine
Label: Think Tank Media
Date: 2003
Official Artist's website

Tracks:

DISC ONE
1. Prologue: Project Blue Prince [3:38]
2. Music Machine [6:39]
3. Turn Me On [5:49]
4. Heavy Metal Symphony [6:31]
5. Tour of the Sprawl [8:40]
6. Andromeda [6:02]
7. Letter from Space [3:16]
8. Lost Highway [5:12]
9. Soma Holiday [3:04]
10. Return of the Neurosaur [1:39]
11. Project Blue Prince Reprise [1:12]
DISC TWO
1. Fanfare and Interlude [3:04]
2. Beware the Vampires [5:18]
3. The Fire of Change [7:53]
4. The Fall of the Idol [5:43]
5. Metamorphosis [3:14]
6. One of the Machines [5:17]
7. Fallen [5:13]
8. Johnny America [6:35]
9. Music Machine Reprise [1:53]
10. Epilogue: Sky Full of Stars [10:14]

The Review:

Erik Norlander's third solo release is an ambitious double disc rock opera which weaves a tale of Johnny America with his rise and fall within the music industry.

Erik combines styles of his previous two solo cds with some 70's style rocking. To have more of his signature sound, he steers clear of making a musical sequel to his successful second cd, Into the Sunset which for some had too much of a Ayreon sound to it. Gee maybe because Arjen Lucassen guested on it? Anything Arjen plays on gives a "Ayreon" touch to it. (This is a compliment).

Back to Music Machine, as I said before this combines elements of both of the previous efforts and again Erik has assembled some of the best names in the hard rock/ prog genres along with a new comer.

Erik utilizes 3 different drummers to achieve different feelings. For instance, Vigil Donatti is used for his technical style where as Vinnie Appice is used for his excellent power playing he's know for onBlack Sabbath and Dio. Gregg Bisonette has a bit of both styles.

The new comer is that of vocalist Scott Kai. He has the classic heavy metal/ hard rock voice that fits so perfectly within the Music Machine. All the other players Erik's worked with are all here as well. One that was absent this time was his wife, Lana Lane but I'm sure that she was quite busy with her Covers Collection at the time to contribute.

Blue Oyster Cult's Buck Dharma plays guitar and vocals on one track which according to Erik, Buck was originally set to just play guitar but asked to sing on it as well.

For all you that preferred Threshold, Erik treats you right here with several excellent instrumentals ranging from under 2 minutes to slight over 10 minutes.

The storyline is the basically about a genetically created rockstar named Johnny America. On disc one chronicles his rise within the music industry and disc two is his downfall. For the full storyline please go to thetank.com.

For all you lucky European prog audiences, word is that you are in for a big treat come this June!

Overall this is one of the best releases so far in 2003. It is highly recommended to those who enjoy melodies and well written songs with a progressive rock flavor. It's however one of the few CDs that does require several listenings to get the full effect.

Go get your copy of Music Machine NOW!

Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on May 20th, 2003

Reviewed Discography

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