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Erik Norlander - Into The Sunset CD (album) cover


Erik Norlander



3.58 | 37 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Ok, so you never heard of Erik Norlander. Hardly anyone has, at least on this side of the Atlantic. That doesn't mean he he hasn't been around. In fact Erik has made significant contributions on many, many albums of a progressive nature.

Erik, you see, is an extraordinary keyboard player, so if you're into keyboards, the way I am, you've got your man. Be it piano, organ or synthesizer, Erik may be the top in the world at his field. He's also an accomplished song writer and wrote all the songs on this album.

Now Erik doesn't have a band or belong to one (except sometimes with Rocket Scientists), He's sort of a hired gun, only his ivory isn't on pistol grips. He is a professional guest musician.

Erik was born and went to school in California but like many American Progressive artists such as Kamelot and Symphony X, he had to go where his fan base is. Erik and his California wife, singer Lana Lane appear to have found a home with an European connection to the Netherlands working with many very musically talented contemporaries and he has worked with numerous musicians in northern Europe.

Worked With: Lana Lane Arjen Anthony Lucassen Mark McCrite Neil Citron Ed Warby Don Schiff Mark Boals Tony Franklin Ayreon Damian Wilson Stephen Van Haestregt Robert Soeterboek Greg Ellis Gary Wehrkamp Oscar Holleman Virgil Donati Vinny Appice Floor Jansen Ambeon

Like I mentioned, Erik Norlander gets around. He's made numerous guest appearances on Arjen A. Lucassen's albums(Ayreon, Ambeon and Star One) and Arjen has returned the favor on Into the Sunset. He's also a member of the All Star Prog Rock/metal band, Rocket Scientists and the job that keeps him the busiest is writing, backing up for and touring with his singer wife, Lana Lane.

Guest vocalists: Glenn Hughes track 3 Lana Lane tracks 5/9 Edward Reekers tracks 2/5/8/10 Robert Soeterboek tracks 7/8 Into the Sunset is Erik Norlander's second solo album, one on which he uses a full band setup, including different guest vocalists. This is a method that his friend, Guitarest Arjen A. Lucassen utilizes on his albums(see Ayreon). Sunset features a bombastic fusion of hard-rock, heavy-metal and symphonic rock like several other European groups but with plenty of synthesizer soloing.

"Sunset Prelude" is an instrumental with impressive orchestral synthesizer and heavy guitar work. The melodic and rhythmic structure are great in the prelude, and there are occasions where Erik shows off his playing skills.

"Into the Sunset", the title track, is sung by Edward Reekers (Kayak, Ayreon), This is a real prog track with an interesting rhythm and a strong melody.

"Rome is Burning" is a powerful track, and the voice of Deep Purple's Glenn Hughes is so recognizable that it becomes almost a DP track! The blusy break in the middle, where the song slows down with the vocal interaction with Hughes and Lana is gorgeous.

"Fanfare for the Dragon Isle" is a short overture leading to,

"Fly" is a great song where Erik's wife Lana and sings in duplicate in answer to Reeker. It has both a slow and faster tempo. Opening as a heavy guitar dominated track, it suddenly dies down and becomes a beautiful rock ballad, of which the first verse is sung by a Reekers and Lana is responsible for the rest of the track, The excellent orchestration, the clever faster tempo parts and the various instrumental breaks make this a really monumental song.

"Dreamcurrents", another instrumental track which Norlander composed years ago by Erik. Predominantly the Piano and an accompanying cello. The refrain from Fly is used in parts of this very pretty mellow work.

"Lines in the Sand" guest vocal performance of Robert Soeterbroek and outstanding Hammond work here, along with some excellent guitar solos.

"On the Wings of Ghosts" singing on this track by Reekers and Soeterbroek. Ghosts is 10 minutes long, It starts out with a big gong then a violin, leading to an oriental sounding piano work and then synths all in the first three minutes. This is a long complex piece which varies between Classic and progressive sounds.

"Hymn" a hymn, sung by Lana simple but profound in it's simplicity.

"Into the Sunset Reprise" and "Sunset Postlude" is where the themes of the introductions return, thus, completing of the album.

"Neurosaur" The European version of the album contains this bonus track, a re-recording of Neurosaur, a track from his first solo album Threshold. Where in the original version this track was completely done on keyboards, now a large part is taken over by electric guitar, and bass guitar, providing the track much more interest.


Definitely something for everyone here with a very accessible sound on some songs and a more progressive sound on others. Great keyboards from Erik Norlander and great Guitars from Arjen A. Lucassen. What more could you ask for? Should you consider this for your collection? Assuredly!

Final rating 4.4 stars

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semismart | 4/5 |


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