Erik Norlander has recorded several amazing solo albums as well as with his band Rocket Scientists and many his wife, singer Lana Lane. He has done the spectrum of the progressive genre, ranging from classic to metal and pretty much all points in between.
Now in 2007, he adds to his repitoire, an album called Hommage Symphonique where he pays tribute to the progressive rock bands that he grew up listening to, such as Yes, ELO, ELP, Rick Wakeman and King Crimson. What amzed me is that song choices weren't obvious ones that have been done over an over. He threw me for a loop when he included a Chuck Mangione song called Children of Sanchez Overture.
Erik put his own touch on each track and with Kelly Keeling on vocals brought a new life especially to songs like Pirates, Ocean Breakup King of The Universe and the opening track Conquistador. Erik does stay true to the original compositions but twists them slightly just to give his special symphonic touch.
This album serves as both an insight to Erik Norlander and a tribute to the greats that came before him. Doing cover songs Is always a Ďdamned if you do, damned if you donítĒ thing with fans. Personally I like when a band or artist takes apart the song and uses the core then builds around it. Erik Norlander does just this and he does it well enough that the songs can be mistake as his originals. I canít say that die-hard fans will accept these versions but if they open their minds and ears theyíll get a different interpretations that will never replace the originals only enhance them.
If youíre a true progressive rock fan, you owe it to yourself to get Hommage Symphonique today. Itís one of the best cover albums of progressive rock that Iíve heard! This really is an important album to own! Itís a testament to the music that has re-invented rock music.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on May 17th, 2007